Beloved Action Novels Heading To The Small Screen For TV Series

By Sean Thiessen | Published

remo williams

Sony Pictures Television is bringing the pulpy action serial back to TV. An article by The Hollywood Reporter revealed that The Destroyer, a long-running book series featuring the secret agent Remo Williams, is being developed by Sony for a small screen outing. The action series is in the hands of Better Call Saul writer and producer Gordon Smith and Hitman producer Adrian Askarieh.

The adventures of Remo Williams began in 1971. Authored by Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir, The Destroyer tells the story of a framed police officer who is wrongfully sentenced to death. His alleged demise, however, is merely a cover used by the government so that Williams can be recruited to CURE, a secret organization that employs a rare form of martial arts as its agents break the law in order to uphold it.

Remo Williams embarks on missions around the world to battle a host of zany villains, including androids, artificial intelligence, psychics, the undead, and more. The books reached the height of their popularity in the 70s and 80s, leading to a 1985 film adaptation. Starring Fred Ward as the title character, Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins flopped. Though it failed to spawn a film franchise, the movie has accumulated a cult following over the years.

Amidst the success of shows like Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan from Amazon Studios, Remo Williams may be in a prime position for his action hero revival. Having someone like Gordon Smith behind the camera certainly helps the cause.

Smith won multiple Emmy awards during his tenure on Better Call Saul, both for writing and producing. For years, Smith has worked alongside Vince Gilligan, creator of Better Call Saul and its predecessor, Breaking Bad. Gilligan has been heralded as one of the greatest television creators of all time; as long as Smith was taking notes, the future of Remo Williams seems to be in good hands.

remo williams
Fred Ward in Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins (1985)

Since the 1985 Remo Williams bomb, other attempts have been made to bring the cult hero to the screen. A television show developed in the late 1980s failed to make it past the pilot stage, and Iron Man 3 director Shane Black’s attempts at a movie never escaped development. After nearly 40 years, Remo Williams is finally coming back.

With over 150 volumes to draw from, Sony and the show’s producers intend to leverage the expansive catalog for an entire universe of globe-trotting adventure. What that means, exactly, is still a mystery, but it seems the creative team will have plenty of options given the decades of source material at their disposal.

Known for exotic locations and cheeky humor, the adventures of Remo Williams represent a staple of fun, pulpy adventure in American pop culture. The cult fan base for the property is not large; Remo Williams is hardly a household name, especially for the younger generation. That may change once the series hits the small screen.

The cheeky humor and over-the-top subject matter of The Destroyer series is a far cry from Gordon Smith’s gritty and grounded work on Better Call Saul. Though the projects vary in tone and subject matter, Smith is a proven filmmaker. How he takes Remo Williams into the modern landscape of prestige television will certainly be worth the watch.