With the massive international success of the award-winning vampire series, it was almost expected that HBO would immediately greenlight Alan Ball's latest project proposal. On the heels of being signed to direct and produce a new comedy project for Paramount studios last month, a dark comedy written by Elan Mastai, and the expectation of the upcoming fourth season of True Blood, the news that HBO decided to pass on the pilot for All Signs of Death, a show based on the Charlie Huston dark comedy crime noir novel “The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death", was a suprise. The pilot, written by Huston, was originally picked up in July. The description of the storyline revealed on Deadline was of a series centered around a "twenty-something slacker (Ben Whishaw) who stumbled into a career as a crime scene cleaner, only to find himself entangled with a murder mystery, a femme fatale and the loose ends of his own past". It was also reported that the show was to be filmed in the more experimental manner that is becoming popular these days using smaller, portable cameras for a cinema verite style.
According to HBO reps, the network simply could not find an appropriate place for the new series. The convenient network jargon leaves quite a thick veil over the true nature of their dismissal of the project. However, one (meaning me) can speculate that perhaps the storyline was a little too close in nature to some of the other more popular series out there that already have a solid following. Or perhaps HBO is finally tapping into the growing dislike of the usage of the smaller handheld HD cameras which often give the show a shakey, lesser refined quality than what is usually expected by viewers of large cable networks. Regardless, this is proof that if Alan Ball has trouble getting his projects greenlighted, it should be at least a wee bit of comfort to those of us out there still knocking on doors in Hollywood with our own screenplays in hand!
Alan Ball is currently on the set of the fourth season of True Blood, which is slated to air in the summer of 2011. For those of you rabid fans who simply didn't get enough vampire insanity this past year, HBO will be airing all of the third season in back to back episodes beginning on December 27th at 8pm EST through December 30. What better way to conclude 2010 than a True Blood marathon?