Although it premiered in France back in 2012, American audiences didn’t get a look at the anthology sci-fi series Métal Hurlant Chronicles until earlier this year, when both seasons of the show ran on Syfy. Now the series is getting a straight-up reboot under the stewardship of a Doctor Who writer, but it will be making some significant changes from its Franco-Belgian originator.
Deadline reports that Atlantique Productions (the folks behind the Transporter TV series) have hired Doctor Who/Being Human writer Jamie Mathieson to write a new take on the material. Métal Hurlant Chronicles was based on the long-running comics anthology mag of the same name, better known here in the States as Heavy Metal. The French show reflected those origins by spinning a series of self-contained stories all linked by the appearance of an asteroid, from which the show took its name. All, or at least most, of that is out the window in the American version, which will ditch the anthology format in favor of a more-standard serialized storyline.
Without more information, there’s literally no telling what sort of story Métal Hurlant Chronicles will tell, but I think it’s actually a shame that they decided to abandon the anthology approach. American Horror Story has proven that the format can still work when done well (or at least occasionally well), so the chance to get a new science fiction anthology series on the air would have been exciting. The TV anthology has a respected history thanks to The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits, and it’s been too long since we’ve had a really good one. Instead we’ve got a nebulously defined science fiction series that’s going to be about…something.
That “something” will apparently still involve the asteroid at the center of the French version, at least in some form. Series creator Guillaume Lubrano told Deadline that the new serialized story will allow them to “explore the mythology of the Métal Hurlant.”
In addition to working on the original British version of Being Human and Doctor Who (penning this week’s “Mummy on the Orient Express”), Mathieson wrote the 2009 flick Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel, as well as an episode of the 2012 TV adaptation of Douglas Adams’ Dirk Gently books. Mathieson told Deadline:
>Métal Hurlant is an iconic comic and the wellspring from which a lot of fledgling UK comics talent took their inspiration. Without Heavy Metal there would be no 2000AD, no Judge Dredd and my childhood would be a much duller place. I am therefore immensely proud to have been invited to helm this redefinition of one small corner of the immensity that is the Heavy Metal universe.
The new Métal Hurlant series is expected to go into production in early 2015, and there’s no word where it might eventually air. However, given Syfy’s newfound focus on producing actual science fiction programming, I’d say Syfy is a likely candidate.