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In 2014, the SyFy Channel will make a ton of significant additions to its original TV lineup. One of these is a reworking of Helix and 12 Monkeys. One of the most popular science fiction movies from the 90s is heading to a small screen near you with a brand new television adaptation. Although the film’s director Terry Gilliam isn’t very happy with a new version of his film, the SyFy Channel commissioned the series with writer and producer Natalie Chaidez (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, V) as showrunner. Now that the pilot episode is in production, a plot synopsis has surfaced that points to the overall plot and endgame.
According to CrainsDetroit.com, 12 Monkeys is currently shooting in Michigan. According to the Michigan Film Office, 12 Monkeys “follows the journey of a time traveler from the post-apocalyptic future who appears in present day on a mission to locate and eradicate the source of a deadly plague that will eventually decimate the human race.”
The series is also expected to feature the strange paranoia of its main character Cole, played by Bruce Willis in the film version and Aaron Stanford (X2: X-Men United) on TV. It’s unclear if the series will just be an episodic adaptation of the source material or if it will branch off into additional adventures. While it’s easy to see 12 Monkeys as a TV show, it’s hard to see how this premise can sustain multiple seasons.
Recently, the series added Noah Bean (Nikita) and Željko Ivanek (Revolution) to its cast. Bean will play the love interest of Dr. Cassandra Railly (Amanda Schull, Center Stage), the psychiatrist who befriends the time traveling Cole. Ivanek will play a genius philanthropist and capitalist involved in the same biological research that could be responsible for the plague of the 12 Monkeys. It’s unclear if the insane Jeffrey Goines character will factor into the new series. He was one of the best parts of Gilliam’s film, played by a young, up-and-coming Brad Pitt.
The 12 Monkeys feature film’s producers Charles Roven and Richard Suckle will serves as the series executive producers, while Terra Nova writers Terry Matalas and Travis Fickett wrote the hour-long pilot. Jeffrey Reiner will serve as the pilot episode’s director. Reiner has directed episodes of Friday Night Lights, The Event, Awake, and Do No Harm.
Gilliam has nothing to do with the TV version of 12 Monkeys, so I’m not sure if it would hold up to his classic feature. The Monty Python alum has been very vocal about the adaptation and feels that “it’s a very dumb idea.” 12 Monkeys was nominated for two Academy Awards, one for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Brad Pitt and the other for Best Costume Design.
While SyFy has yet to announce when 12 Monkeys will premiere, it is most likely that it would air sometime during the fall TV season in 2014.