When TV goes literary

When TV goes literary September 6, 2016

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.

First, see the Wrap, which comes up with procedurals based on Paradise Lost, Walden, Moby Dick, and the Summa Theologica by St. Thomas Aquinas, among others.

I would like to pitch a modern take on Huckleberry Finn:  She’s a 20-something homeless woman in Memphis.  She teams with her African-American friend Jim, on the lam for running out of a personal services contract, to solve crimes.

Or King Lear:  An elderly gentleman in a nursing home, with the help of his daughter and  a retired comedian, solves crimes, while his two other daughters try to stop them.

Or the Protestant Reformation:  Marty gets in trouble when he posts on the break room bulletin board a list of the bad things going on in the global corporation that he works for.  He gets fired, but then he starts his own company.  From that base of operations, he fights corporate crime.

OK. That’s all I got.  Your turn.

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