Last week, reports that the CW—the TV network best known for teen fare like Gossip Girl, The Vampire Diaries, and 90210—might develop a show based on the ultra-violent Japanese property Battle Royale, caused quite a ruckus. Similar in content to The Hunger Games, Battle Royale is about a group of teens forced to fight to the death so that a dystopian government can maintain control. Directed by Kinji Fukasaku, the 2000 movie is based on the novel by Koushun Takami.
Ideas flew fast and furious about how the bloody, brutal story could possibly be adapted to fit onto your TV screen. It doesn’t seem likely that they would be able to pull it off in a way that doesn’t completely gut the source material. Maybe HBO, Showtime, Starz, or another premium cable channel could do it, but a teenybopper network like the CW might run into some issues.
As it turns out, network president Mark Pedowitz has something to say about the matter. Talking about a similarly themed project called The Selection, one that has been scrapped and reworked a couple times, he said:
It just wasn’t where we wanted to be tone wise. The producers and writers have gone back and are re scripting as we speak. We’ll hopefully see something soon or make a determination whether to go forward. Big believer in the show. I really wanted a show that had a ‘Game of Thrones’/’Hunger Games’ tone, and we hope it’s ‘The Selection.’ If it’s not, then we will look at another arena to go to in terms of that. ‘Battle Royale’ comes with a nice, you know, cult following, as we all know, and might have been one of the predecessors of a lot of these things we see today.
That sounds suspiciously like the CW has no plans for a Battle Royale show, doesn’t it? Apparently fans aren’t the only ones who question whether or not a potential series would be fit for prime time. Pedowitz went on to say, “We’re not planning to do anything we cannot get in the air…No, we are not going to go in that direction. We’re going to wait and see what happens and how things develop.”
That final sentence is rather explicit. For now it looks like we live in a world where Battle Royale only exists as a kickass, gore-soaked feature film about teens offing one another. And that should be good enough for all of us.