Friday, January 30, 2009

B.P.R.D. T.V.? Make It Happen!

A recent blog by MTV brought up the prospect of a B.P.R.D. spin-off film while Guillermo is off doing THE HOBBIT.

Sorry, folks. In my opinion, its not going to happen. If HELLBOY II couldn't rake in enough profit to go in the black domestically, what chance does B.P.R.D. have? Yes, HELLBOY II is in the black now, thanks to international box office and DVD.

The reality is, without the star of the show (Big Red), B.P.R.D. would be a risky theatrical investment.

Television, however, would be perfect.

The B.P.R.D. is fertile ground for a cable or network television series. Here's why:

1. It has a built-in audience for people familiar with the Hellboy films

2. Sci-Fi and Fantasy is very popular right now, with hit shows like Heroes and Battlestar Galactica on the airwaves.

3. Its unique. I can't think of any shows like it ever on television - every creature/makeup show I've ever seen has been alien science fiction (Star Trek, Farscape, Babylon 5). Its about time we ditch the aliens and get some Monster TV.

I think the biggest drawback to the show would be cost. I believe viewers today expect a high production value - and the makeup and special effects for Abe, Roger, and various baddies might be on the steep end.

And its not the first time a show with GDT ties made it to television. Remember the short-lived BLADE series on Spike TV?

I'm not sure where the property rights for B.P.R.D. rest, but if they are at Universal, it would be a beacon of hope. NBC-Universal produces the high-quality, SciFi Channel drama Battlestar Galactica - one of my all-time favorites. They also produce SciFi's Eureka. So Universal, at least, is open to fantasy programming.

The key to success is a high-powered brain to push the series. Guillermo obviously has the influence, although his attempt to bring THE STRAIN to Fox TV failed for unknown reasons. G could open some doors for a B.P.R.D. series, and he has gone on record as saying it would be a good idea, but unfortunately, I don't think he has any interest in developing it himself. Too busy. I think Mignola might be the same - my impression is that he is content to write the comics. So the ONLY way this could happen is if Mignola and GDT would endorse someone they trust to develop the series.

Who might that be?

The name that comes to mind is David S. Goyer.

Goyer was a screenwriter for BLADE II. He was also executive producer for such TV shows as BLADE: THE SERIES (the same as above), SLEEPWALKERS, and THRESHOLD. He has the added clout of co-writing the massively popular BATMAN BEGINS and THE DARK KNIGHT films. In September 2007, Variety reported that Goyer had signed on to direct an adaptation of Mignola's graphic novel "Baltimore, or The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire" for New Regency. The business relationships are there to make it happen.

Could a B.P.R.D. series get made without Goyer? Certainly. To my knowledge, Goyer has never shown any public interest in the property.

But he might be its best chance.


E. Kubinek said...

I don't think it will ever happen.

For what it would cost with special effects etc v.s how many viewers it could get in that critical first couple of episodes - I just don't think any studio is going to bite on that ever, unless some MASSIVE developments in tech and SFX happen.

Helen Chavez said...

I would agree that cost would certainly be a factor, and because the franchise is makeup-heavy it would be a tremendous commitment for cast members, whoever they might be, and a HUGE gamble for the studio. It's chancy, but it would be a delicious concept, wouldn't it?

I'm not a fan of Goyer's though - I believe the quality of scripts he has done lately are due more to his writing partners than his own slight talent, and even then TDK was a top-heavy, blowsy mess. Goyer's script for BLADE II was so poor it apparently was returned to him several times because it wasn't up to par. Weak and shoddy stuff. Luckily G's direction was more than up to papering over the cracks and it turned out the best of the BLADE franchise.

What about J. M. Straczynsky?

Ron said...

if it happens i'd prefer goyer stay out of it. he is a hack in my opinion.

Parker said...

I'm no Goyer fan either, as a matter of fact.

Kate said...

The special effects cost wouldn't necessarily sink it right away - look at something like Farscape which had very, very extensive practical and CG effects in every episode.

BUT Farscape had absolutely stunning writing and even then SciFi got tired of backing it and pulled the plug after season 4 (despite it still having good ratings)

If a BPRD series did go ahead now though, I would imagine it would have to fit into yet another alternate Hellboy universe, much as the animated series did.

kirk said...

While I would love to see this happen also (what Hellboy fan wouldn't?) I just don't think it is in the cards. I have no reason except my general lack of faith in the media industry and their ability to differentiate good ideas from bad.

That said, I don't think budget would put the show out of reach. I look at a show like Farscape and it had very good make-up and special effects work and it wasn't even a proven franchise. So obviously there is a budget for a show like BPRD, it's just that Hollywood won't throw the cash in that direction.

E. Kubinek said...

I liked Far Scape too - BUT what they spent on air brush makeup, mupets, and CGI - they saved by how simplistic the sets were - remember they are in space - so they reuse the same 3 sets for 80 - 90% of any episode.

B.P.R.D - would be more comparable to if Far Scape and X-files had a baby.

And in-between example of this is the Star Gate series.
They have a wider variety of sets and location shoots - but less regular heavy makeup and SFX use per episode. AND - they have a fixed "prop list" of CGI effects that are stored and reusable generations - the ships, laser blasts, and "gate" CG once developed could easily be recycled and tooled for each episode.

B.P.R.D - is a variable grab bag of sets, creatures, and SFX per hypothetical episode. To maintain the integrity of the original material they would have VASTLY more variety of the previously mentioned shows - to a point it would get Cost prohibitive.

UNLESS - it was done as a mini series.
then it MIGHT work - or be bankable - cause it has a definitive end.
But even then - I could only really see it selling as a project if Selma and Doug signed on.

Maurice said...

BPRD tv is doable and at a fraction of the cost of Farscape. Farscape was dropped due to budget, after all.