The news came pretty much out of left field this past summer: Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn was making a TV series version of Barbarella. The fact that somebody was making a Barbarella show wasn’t that surprising, since any pre-existing property with name recognition and some form of a fan base is bound to get revisted at some point. Refn, however, who’s made a name for himself with edgy, violent fare such as Drive, Valhalla Rising, and Bronson wasn’t a name I would ever have guessed to be at the wheel. Now the series has lined up two more names, with Skyfall’s Neal Purvis and Robert Wade set to pen Barbarella’s voyage to the small screen.
Purvis and Wade are Bond veterans, having worked on 007’s film adventures dating back to 1999. That means their resume includes such questionable entries as The World Is Not Enough, Die Another Day, and Quantum of Solace. But they also co-wrote Casino Royale and Skyfall. So…their involvement could be a good thing or a bad thing. At the very least, Casino Royale and Skyfall earn the Barbarella show a more prominent place on my radar than it occupied before.
Of course, I’m not exactly a Barbarella fan, so I don’t have much at stake in this one. Refn’s involvement definitely has me curious, but I can — and have — come up with plenty of other science fiction properties I’d rather see get the series treatment than Barbarella. But I try not to root for any new genre project to fail, so I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that Refn, Purvis, and Wade will be able to scorch the memory of the godawful Jane Fonda movie from my brain.