There’s no denying that not everything we write about on this website is done with pleasure. Yesterday's story about a Max Steel movie adaptation was an exercise in somewhat dismissive journalism. But I could not be more pleased to report on a revamped effort to get the excellent comic book series Chew adapted for TV, which The Hollywood Reporter says is definitely happening, thanks to Jeff Krelitz and his company Quality Transmedia. Everybody cross your fingers and hope that none of the networks the project gets pitched to is too “chicken” to take it on. (In the world of Chew, chickens are outlawed. More on that later.)
The Harvey and Eisner Award-winning Image Comics series, created by writer John Layman and artist Rob Guillory, is a mixture of action, sci-fi, comedy and adventure, and TV has seen nothing like it. And after a failed run as a Showtime pilot, it seemed like that would stay true, but once the option expired, Krelitz sunk his teeth into the project, and is hoping to turn it into a live-action TV series. Interestingly, it isn’t merely a series he’s interested in creating.
Krelitz will be producing a feature-length Chew animated adaptation to be released both on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD. It isn’t clear whether this would be a fully realized animation or a motion comic, as the producer’s last project was a motion comic based on the Image series Peter Panzerfaust, a WWII set Peter Pan fantasy, with voicework done by Elijah Wood, Ron Perlman and Summer Glau. (This technique was also used for the pretty awesome Watchmen motion comic.) BBC Worldwide picked up Panzerfaust for TV development, and there’s no reason why Chew can’t follow in those army boot footsteps.
He’s currently in the preproduction process for the animation and is beginning talks with showrunners to get the series up and running. And let’s be serious here, this is a series that absolutely needs to be on premium cable or on an outlet like Netflix, where the strange and sometimes gory subject matter won’t get eliminated in place of whatever a basic network thinks is suitable.
Chew takes place in an alternate reality where the FDA is now one of the top government agencies after a bird flu leads to the death of over 20 million Americans, ending in an all-out ban on chicken and other bird meats. Main character and FDA agent Tony Chu is a “cibopath,” which gives him the ability to get a psychic reading of everything that he tastes; a lick of an apple will tell him where the apple was farmed and who harvested it, as well as everything that happened after that. His partner John Colby is part cyborg, and their boss hates them. The world of Chew is filled with similarly bizarre powers involving food, rich characters and solid storytelling, not to mention being balls-out hilarious.
If Chew once again fails to make it to television, I’ll eat my hat, and then being able to tell where it was made.