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The Pre-Take on '12 Monkeys'

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In 1995 Terry Gilliam expanded minds and imaginations when he introduced the world to "Twelve Monkeys," starring Bruce Willis, Brad Pitt, and Madeleine Stowe. Following in the footsteps of "Legion," a tale of vengeful angels versus mankind, sources confirm that "12 Monkeys" is being adapted into a television series for Syfy. Heralding Syfy's latest reimagining, the trailer for the TV movie pilot (IGN) was released on July 16th.

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While many may hope to see a series devoted to the styles and plot points lain out by Gilliam's interpretation of the apocalyptic tale, Terry Matalas (co-executive producer) makes it clear that the Syfy adaptation will stand on its own feet, taking viewers down roads left unexplored by the original feature. As stated in the Hollywood Report by Malatas, “we were all big fans of the original film and had a deep love and respect for the material. We didn’t want to just redo what the movie does.” Logically, a full season of episodes will have the opportunity to delve deeper into the worlds of the past, present, and future. This will also allow for a more detailed exploration into a broader range of times, places, and peripheral characters who were little more than plot devices or background noise in the original "Twelve Monkeys."

In spite of the rare success of film adaptations, it should be interesting to see how well a gritty time travel knockoff does in a world of Doctor Who, Quantum Leaps, and Stargates. While Syfy has had a some luck with adaptations in their past, departing from the style and feel of what added to the appeal of Gilliam's "Twelve Monkeys" may be a step in the wrong direction, one which eradicates the quirky appeal of a Terry Gilliam production.

Scheduled for launch in January of 2015, the series is set to run for 13 episodes. Given that Syfy's reputation for original series is better than its reputation for movies, "12 Monkeys" may turn out to be more than one might expect. Aaron Stanford (Pyro in X-Men:Last Stand) will star as James Cole, a significantly more lucid version than the Bruce Willis's Cole. Amanda Schull, most recently known for her role as Katrina Bennett in the TV series "Suits," will star as Cassandra Railly. In the original "Twelve Monkeys," Ms. Railly's first name was Kathryn. While these minor tweaks corroborate the shows attempt to stand apart from its theatrical progenitor, they do very little to dissuade one from believing that their efforts will yield little more than a subpar caricature of the film which inspired the series.


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