Syfy’s push back into producing promising original genre content keeps right on rolling. Their zombie series Z Nation is shuffling along, their monster/plague drama Helix is coming back for new season next month, and their event miniseries Ascension blasts off a week from today on December 15. Another show that we’re curious to see, their remake of 12 Monkeys, also hits soon, and the network has unveiled a new poster and some hints at how the new series is going to be different from the original.
Based on Terry Gilliam’s buggy 1995 time travel thriller, which itself is “inspired by” the 1962 experimental French short La Jetee, the details, at least on the surface, are fairly similar. The action follows a man named James Cole (Aaron Stanford) who is sent back in time in order to stop the spread of a vicious plague that decimates the human population and forces the survivors to live underground.
That’s essentially the same story as the film, but there are going to be some tweaks to the formula. Executive producer Natalie Chaidez told EW, “We were all very, very big fans of the original film and had a deep love and respect for that material, so we didn’t want to just redo what the movie does. So, while the series shares a lot of the same overall themes of the movie, it is in fact a reimagining and we changed the rules.”
We haven’t seen the new series yet, but there appears to be at least one key difference. In the first film, Cole is caught in what is essentially a fixed time loop, unable to change anything, whereas in the series it appears that things can, in fact, be altered. While that sounds rather minor at first, it’s really a massive shift, but one that seems necessary in order to ensure that you have enough material for a television show. After all, how long would you keep tuning in if you know that nothing these characters do can ever impact anything?
This poster is indicative of these changes. While the imagery on the mask is similar to that used in Gilliam’s film and the surrounding marketing, it’s got some small adjustments and alterations. Just compare the logo for the Army of the Twelve Monkeys on this poster…
…with the one from Gilliam’s movie. They’re similar, banking on nostalgia and fan recognition, but have also been updated.
Hopefully the similarities between the film and series extend to the quality. Gilliam’s film is fantastic, complex and weird, and if the show captures even part of this, it’s something we’ll definitely enjoy watching week to week. 12 Monkeys premieres on Syfy Friday, January 16, 2015. Check out the trailer below.