Undoubtedly the biggest new TV hit of the year — certainly in terms of buzz created — was Netflix’s “Stranger Things.” The homage to all kinds of 80s supernatural dramas from “E.T.” to Stephen King came in under the radar for many, and yet proved a huge, crowd-pleasing word-of-mouth hit in a way that took many by surprise. Not least, we imagine Netflix’s rivals Amazon.
Which is why it’s perhaps easy to be cynical about the news that one of Amazon’s next run of pilots is called “Strange New Things.” But to be fair to the streaming giant, this project’s been in the works for a while, long before the Netflix show proved to be such a hit, and it’s actually based on a book called “The Book Of Strange New Things,” by “The Crimson Petal And The White” and “Under The Skin” author Michel Faber. And now, the show has a leading man.
Deadline report that “Game Of Thrones” star Richard Madden will topline the pilot, playing a priest who leaves his wife on Earth to travel to a distant planet where human colonists have made contact with a strange alien race. “Bridge Of Spies” writer Matt Charman has adapted Faber’s book, and Kevin MacDonald (“The Last King Of Scotland”) will direct the pilot.
Madden’s had a few small-screen projects since the Red Wedding, including “Klondike” and starring with Dustin Hoffman in the upcoming “Medici: Masters Of Florence,” but this is definitely likely to be the most high profile. The book is amazing, a desperately sad story of separation, language and religion, and we’d wager this is easily the most ambitious thing that Amazon has attempted so far, and we’re fascinated to see how it turns out, though we have no idea if it’ll work as a series. We imagine we’ll get the chance some time in 2017.