Idiot Box: Tidbits From Around The Dial

Tidbits From Around The Dial

Devin D. O'Leary
3 min read
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A Good Catch

George Clooney and his producing partner Grant Heslov (
Good Night, and Good Luck.) are developing a six-part miniseries adaptation of Joseph Heller’s seminal war satire Catch-22 for Hulu. Clooney himself costars as the paranoid and arrogant Colonel Chathcart and will direct the series alongside Heslov. The story centers around Capt. Yossarian (Christopher Abbot, “Girls”), an artful dodger who spends his time trying to navigate an increasingly complex (and often contradictory) set of bureaucratic military directives during World War II. The only other cast member Hulu has announced so far is Hugh Laurie (“House, M.D.”) who plays the mysterious and opportunistic Major de Coverly. Since the book’s publication, Heller’s title has entered into popular slang. It refers to the (imaginary, of course) military code stating that any officer who willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions is insane and can be removed from duty, so long as he requests it—yet any man who requests to be removed from such duty is clearly sane, and therefore ineligible to be removed from duty. Heller’s novel was previously adapted into a star-studded 1970 film by screenwriter Buck Henry and director Mike Nichols. The miniseries is about to start shooting and is expected to premiere on Hulu later this year.

Binge and Purge

Not long ago Blumhouse Releasing announced it would be turning its popular film franchise
The Purge into a weekly TV series. Now it’s known that Emmy and Golden Globe award-winner Anthony Hemingway (“Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and The Notorious B.I.G.”) will direct the premiere episode. The controversial and topical film series centers on a dystopian near-future America run by ultraconservative forces. Once a year, all laws are suspended for a single night, allowing citizens to run rampant. The TV version will focus on a US Marine (Gabriel Chevarria, “East Los High”) who returns home on Purge Night and tries to prevent his sister from being sacrificed to a Purge-worshipping cult. Syfy and USA are expected to premiere the show later this year.

A Ghast

FremantleMedia North America—a subsidiary of Europe’s largest TV, radio and production company—has acquired the rights to Mervyn Peake’s much-venerated fantasy book series
Gormenghast. Writer Neil Gaiman (The Sandman, American Gods) and writer/producer/director Akiva Goldsman (Lost in Space, The Da Vinci Code) are the executive producers behind FremantleMedia’s upcoming series, which will reportedly adapt the three novels, one novella and one unfinished book in Peake’s unique gothic fantasy series. The satiric saga concerns a dangerously ambitious and charismatic kitchen boy named Steerpike who labors to wrest control of the ancient and sprawling Gormenghast Castle from the recently born 77th Earl of Groan and his long-stagnant family line. In 2000 the BBC and the PBS station WGBH Boston produced a visually imaginative miniseries based on the first two books starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Christopher Lee. No word on who will star in the new version or when it will see the light of day.
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