SundanceTV Developing Modern Spin On Rip Van Winkle

By David Wharton | 7 years ago

RipWell, Fox managed to get a hit out of updating Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” into a paranormal thriller by having Ichabod Crane take a Rip Van Winkle-style centuries-long doze and awaken in modern day, only to discover that the Headless Horseman was still on the ride, and bringing the apocalypse with him. Now a new riff on Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle” story itself is headed for the small screen…with a modern twist, naturally.

SundanceTV is developing Crack in the Sky, described as combining “Rip Van Winkle” with AMC’s Mad Men. More specifically, THR says the series will follow a “Don Draper type” who falls asleep in 1962 and awakens in 2012. From the Beatles to Bieber…that’s a serious bummer, man.

Crack in the Sky was created by E. Max Frye, who wrote an episode of the Band of Brothers mini-series, but who more importantly wrote the 1986 Something Wild, which gives me an excuse to run this picture:


Frye has a few other film credits throughout the early 2000s, but nothing that really gives us a sense of whether we should be excited about Crack in the Sky or not. He’ll write the script and will executive produce alongside Deborah Spera (Army Wives) and Maria Grasso (Ricochet).

It’s hard to tell at this point what kind of show Crack in the Sky will be, or whether it’s even something that we’ll be covering once we more know. It could be a straight-up fantasy, it could have elements of science fiction…there’s no way to know. The title sounds like something straight out of Golden Age science fiction, but what little they have provided of the concept sounds more in the Somewhere in Time/magical realism kind of realm.

Either way, we can expect lots of “fish out of water” moments, but how they’re handled will largely depend on the tone of the show. This being Sundance, I imagine things are going to be a bit more staid and serious than Fox’s Sleepy Hollow. We’re probably not going to see an equivalent of that hilarious conversation between Ichabod and the Onstar lady. Also, depending on how he got to the future, the protagonist may or may be searching for a way back. Whether that’s a possibility or if he’s irretrievably stranded in 2012 will determine a lot about where the show can go from its starting point.

Crack in the Sky is just the latest in Sundance TV’s aggressive move into original scripted programing. So far their line-up has included the critically acclaimed drama Rectify, the cop/crime drama The Red Road, and the imported non-zombie zombie show The Returned.