Just earlier this summer FX ran a TV version of the Coen Brother classic Fargo. Following this film to TV trend, Syfy will be releasing a version of the Terry Gilliam film 12 Monkeys in January. While Gilliam’s film was something of a psychological thriller that looked at what the effect of changing times might have on the mind, Syfy’s take on the story seems to be going in a different direction.
The new 12 Monkeys still features the primary characteristics of the film’s story, namely a dystopian future where most of humanity has perished due to a disease and the idea of traveling back in time to stop the outbreak of the virus. However, the trailer makes me think that the show will have much more of an action-thriller feel to it. Cole (originally Bruce Willis, now Aaron Stanford), the story’s protagonist, doesn’t appear to be dealing with the issues of identity, trauma, or sanity that he did in the movie. Instead he is very much on a mission to save humanity. He also doesn’t seem to have qualms killing anyone, since he knows that in the future they’re already dead, which makes me hopeful that the show won’t shy away from some good action sequences and entertaining violence.
The very memorable character of Jeffery Goines, who was played by Brad Pitt in the film, appears not to be in the TV adaptation, or at the very least he has not appeared in the trailer. Instead, Cole is in pursuit of a man named Leland Frost (Zeljko Ivanek) who is possibly connected to the creation or spread of the virus. As far as I can tell the insane asylum bits have been taken out of the story. Frost appears to be more of a legitimate doctor or scientist than Goines was.
FX’s version of Fargo felt very much like the original film, so I’ll be curious to see if my read on the trailer is correct, and if Syfy is going for a different approach. Either way I’m cautiously optimistic about this show, and I will definitely be tuning in to see how it turns out.