The movie 2012 may not be officially released yet, but are you ready for the TV series?! The hype behind Roland Emmerich's upcoming big-budget apocalyptic drama is unavoidable, yet ironically enough, very few people know what it's about other than Mayan calendars and lots of stuff getting destroyed. Well, Emmerich seems to be pretty high on the project; so much so that he's been talking with TV producer Mark Gordon (Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice) about developing a series based on the film.
The film is essentially a grim, effects-laden epic where the (alleged) date on the Mayan calendar predicting the end of the world seems to come to fruition, as an earthquake displaces the Earth's crust, causing a flood of Biblical proportions. The film centers on a character played by John Cusack, as he struggles to get his family to the Himalayas, where an organization has built arks to preserve humanity and some animal species. (As if it wasn't Biblical enough.) Themes shared by other apocalyptic pieces such as "who decides who lives and who dies?" will also be reflected in the way respective governments of the world handle the dissemination of this info.
In a red carpet interview on Tuesday with Entertainment Weekly at the advance premiere of the film, Emmerich discusses the project, saying there is plenty to do for a TV show, further adding:
“The plan is that it is 2013 and it’s about what happens after the disaster. It is about the resettling of Earth. That is very, very fascinating. (2012 writer/producer) Harald Kloser and I came up with the idea and we have the luxury of having a producer on the film who is a big TV producer, Mark Gordon. We said to Mark, ‘Why don’t you do a TV show that picks up where the movie leaves off and call it 2013?’ I think it will focus on a group of people who survived but not on the boats … maybe they were on a piece of land that was spared or one that became an island in the process of the crust moving. There are so many possibilities of what they could do and I’d be excited to watch it.”
Gordon is supposedly already in talks with ABC to bring the series there. With shows like Lost, FlashForward, and now, V, the proposed 2012 show, would be among good company in the sci-fi/disaster genre. The question remains: Would 2012 make a watchable television show? According to Emmerich:
“The movie talks about the varied reactions people have in the face of disaster and who should survive and how we carry on and what parts of our culture do we save. The TV show could carry on all that.”
Not having seen the film myself, I obviously cannot give a completely objective analysis. However, judging it purely as a genre piece, I can speculate that it may be a rough sell. If we strip away the ideas of floods, justice, and governmental control, we get to nucleus of a "handful of humans struggling against extinction" theme that we've seen a countless number of times in vehicles like the modern Battlestar Galactica or even as far back as Earth 2. In the case of Galactica, that theme was layered behind the escapist premise of cylons, space battles, and sexy, seductive robots that only you can see. (Maybe annihilation isn't so bad?) While the existence of dry land is mentioned, the world is still flooded, and this show still seems like it would be a more depressing version of Waterworld, sans Kevin Costner's "Aquaman" powers and his pee-filter. I doubt very many people will want to escape to a gloomy, "woe is us" world where humanity is stripped of its luxuries, beaten down, starved, and forced to inbreed to proliferate the human species. (Well, I suppose some viewers might be up for the latter.)
That being said, these are the kind of predictions that I LOVE being wrong in making.