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Why a '12 Monkeys' TV Series Is a Good Thing

The Bruce Willis/Brad Pitt sci-fi movie is headed for a TV pilot. Good times. Be prepared to take notes on the devastation. Here's why it's a great idea.

Deadline reported yesterday that Syfy network has ordered a pilot for a series based on the Terry Gilliam sci-fi film 12 Monkeys. Written by Terry Matalas and Travis Fickett, of TV's late TerraNova, the series will be a take-off of the 1995 film that follows Bruce Willis as he is sent back from a future ravaged by some kind of biological event in order to collect information about what caused said catastrophe. He gets sent back to the wrong year, ends up in an insane asylum with Brad Pitt, under the care of psychiatrist Madeline Stowe, and struggling to figure out the meaning of weird graffiti about an "army of the 12 Monkeys."

12 Monkeys is a very good movie but not an iconic one, so viewers aren't going into it with baggage or insurmountable expectations.

So why is this delayed reviisitation a good idea? For one thing, 12 Monkeys is a very good movie but not an iconic one, so viewers aren't going into it with baggage or insurmountable expectations. Even Brad Pitt's Oscar-nominated performance is still probably not even in Pitt's Top 5 of most notable roles, so whomever gets cast as Jeffrey Goines, millionaire scion and crazypants, will end up having some room to maneuver. The same, and then some, can be said for the Bruce Willis role.

Moreover, as rendered by Gilliam's movie, the time-travel felt complex but compelling. The idea of a time-traveller treated like a crazy person isn't entirely novel, but it keeps said time-travel from being too much of a crutch. At the very worst, it's a Quantum Leap update with apocalyptic stakes. And name me one single person who would be opposed to that.


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