When TV goes literary

NBC is developing a new series based on Charles Dickens’ classic novel Oliver Twist.  The series, called Twist, will be a “procedural”–that is, it will follow the main characters as they solve crimes.  Here is how the network describes the show:  “A sexy contemporary take on Oliver Twist with a struggling 20-something female (Twist) who finally finds a true sense of family in a strange group of talented outcasts who use their unique skills to take down wealthy criminals.”

So Dickens’ orphan boy will become a sexy 20-something woman.  The homeless children whom Fagin teaches to be pickpockets will become talented crimefighters.

Similarly, Fox has in development a series called Camelot, based on the King Arthur legends.  It too will be a procedural.  It will feature a graffiti artist named Art who solves crimes with the help of his ex-girlfriend Gwen and his best friend Lance.  (Seriously.  Read about it here.)

But at least the TV-watching public is getting the benefit of classic literature!

These series may sound like parody, something from the Onion, but they are real.  Nevertheless, they beg for actual parody. What other modernized procedurals could we come up with from other works of literature and (we’ll extend it a little) cultural milestones?  I’ll go first, after the jump. [Read more…]

Gaffigans end their TV show for a more important project

A few nights ago, we watched comedian Jim Gaffigan’s routine “Obsessed.”  We laughed so hard we were in pain.  He and his wife and writer Jeannie just announced that they were going to end their successful TV series, “The Jim Gaffigan Show.”  They said that it was taking too much time away from their “most important project”; namely, raising their 5 children. [Read more…]

A comedy-thriller about the Reformation

You have GOT to read The Relic Master, a novel by Christopher Buckley (son of conservative icon William F. Buckley).  It’s about a dealer in sacred relics (bones of the saints, artifacts from Bible stories, etc.) that, when venerated, were thought to provide time-off from purgatory.  The story takes place in the time of Martin Luther.  The cast of characters is a who’s-who of Reformation history.  Buckley, a noted satirist, has written a novel that is funny, exciting, and true to history.  His scathing portrait of the religious corruption and decadence of the time leaves no doubt that Luther, in his effort to reform the Church and recover authentic Christianity, is the good guy.

Dismas is the relic supplier for both Frederick the Wise of Saxony and Archbishop Albert of Mainz.  Some theses posted on a church door by a friar who teaches in Frederic’s university start to make waves, with Frederic protecting him and Albert trying to burn him at the stake.  Dismas, caught in the middle with his livelihood threatened, sees Luther’s point, but gets caught up in a relic forgery scam, aided by his side-kick, the great artist Albrecht Dürer.  The plot thickens, and their plot thickens, leading to a mad-cap scheme to steal the Shroud of Turin. [Read more…]

“A Christian and a Feminist Almost Agree on Stuff”

From Hans Fiene of Lutheran Satire.  (HT:  Kerner):

Those religious-extremist Anglicans

Yes, American foreign policy is a laughing-stock abroad, but that means at least some of the reaction is funny.  British commentator Douglas Murray discusses the new American counter-terrorism strategy, which, in its written form, never mentions “Islam.”  Terrorist-inspiring religious extremism is a problem, says Secretary of State John Kerry, for all religions.  Which has Mr. Murray worried about what’s going on with those Anglicans. [Read more…]

Garrison Keillor on kinds of Christianity

Garrison Keillor has written a humorous, yet touching column about Christianity.  He starts by lambasting some immoral Christians in the news.  But then he recalls his own less worldly evangelical upbringing.  And finally he writes about his current high church Anglicanism.

Best line:  “I love my neighbor as myself, but only because I don’t much care for myself.”

Big finish:  “For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endures to all generations. And wherever two Corinthians are gathered together, there he is in the midst of them.”

Read it all, linked after the break. [Read more…]