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Dan Barrett is an industry commentator & TV critic. He does radio - 4BC & ABC GC and co-hosts the Screen Watching podcast. He's a former Mediaweek deputy editor and content creator for SBS.
A new Wizard of Oz proves you can go home again
ALSO: The Real Ghostbusters. AND: Could Superman & Lois actually be good?
We’re off to see the wizard. Yes, again.
Nicole Kassell is an Emmy award-winning director who has helmed episodes of many of your favourite shows like Watchmen, The Leftovers, Westworld, The Americans, Better Call Saul, and Rectify. Her new project is directing a new adaption of L Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
While it’ll be a fresh take on the story, it will draw upon elements that we know from the classic 1939 film (like the ruby slippers).
“I am incredibly honored to join Temple Hill and New Line in bringing this beloved classic to the screen,” Kassell said. “While the 1939 musical is part of my DNA, I am exhilarated and humbled by the responsibility of re-imagining such a legendary tale. The opportunity to examine the original themes—the quest for courage, love, wisdom and home— feels more timely and urgent than ever. These are profoundly iconic shoes to fill, and I am eager to dance alongside these heroes of my childhood as we pave a newly minted yellow brick road!”
I’m certain execs have looked at the franchise potential of The Wizard of Oz many times - L Frank Baum wrote 14 books in his Oz series, with a further four books compiling short stories. There were also 30 or so other books that are authorized books in the Oz canon, along with countless more books that have taken advantage of the original having entered public domain in the 50s.
There’s also an animated musical film in the works which tells the story of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz from the perspective of Toto. That one is called Toto: The Dog-Gone Amazing Story Of The Wizard Of Oz. Read: Deadline
Fox News has filed to dismiss the $2.7 billion suit against it by Smartmatic. Source: NYT
Disney has shut down Blue Sky, the animation studio it acquired from Fox that was responsible for films like the Ice Age series. Read: Deadline
The cast of the 1999 film The Best Man will reunite for a TV series on Peacock. Read: TV Line
12 Sundance films worth keeping an eye out for this year. Read: Vox
The CW has ordered pilots for live action shows based on Cartoon Network’s The Powerpuff Girls, DC Comics’ Naomi, and a direct to series order for a reboot of The 4400. Read: Deadline
SBS’ (acting) head of scripted Amanda Duthie has left with the high-profile exec believed to be moving on to oversee the extensive drama slate at Stan. I know what you’re thinking, but rest assured that SBS has my number. Read: IF
Claudia Conway, daughter of Kelly-Ann and George, has auditioned for American Idol. While no one should be held responsible for their dickbag parents, I do wish that whole family would just go away. Read: Variety
Alex Trebek’s Jeopardy!wardrobe has been donated to a charity that provides clothing for people in need attending job interviews. Read: Deadline
I ain’t afraid of no ghost
The official Ghostbusters YouTube channel will be releasing episodes of the 1986 animated series The Real Ghostbusters and its sequel series Extreme Ghostbusters weekly.
Something you may not be aware of is why the show was called The Real Ghostbusters and not just Ghostbusters like the movie, or Ghostbusters: The Animated Series. Settle in kids, boy have I got some teachin’ to impart…
Back in 1975, 13 episodes were made of a live action TV show called The Ghost Busters. Produced by Filmation, it starred Larry Storch and Forrest Tucker (from classic 60s sitcom F-Troop). You can watch the pilot to that HERE.
When Columbia Pictures made the 1984 smash hit movie Ghostbusters, the company had to pay Filmation half a million dollars to license the name. When it came to producing the cartoon show spin-off of the movie, despite some initial talks, Columbia Pictures instead hired DiC to animate the show that would become The Real Ghostbusters. By calling it The Real Ghostbusters, Columbia avoided paying a licence fee. Meanwhile, Filmation, annoyed that they missed out on making the animated spin-off and any potential licence fees, went ahead and made an animated series based on the 1975 live-action show.
On a personal note, I was only four years-old when the live-action movie came out, so I didn’t see that film until the very late 80s. But as a kid I watched a whole lot of the Filmation Ghostbusters cartoon as my preferred Ghostbusters animated show.
Maybe Superman & Lois will be… good?
As a lifelong Superman fan, I’ve been pretty nervous about the upcoming series Superman & Lois. Most of those DC superhero shows haven’t been very good (The Flash and Supergirl are okay to varying degrees, but the rest…).
But the trailer released for it last week looked promising. And now we have the showrunner and stars actively out there saying that they were after a more mature tone for this - something more grounded like Friday Night Lights.
As the old saying goes on Krypton: Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.
“Whenever you do any of these shows, you want to make them slightly different,” said Helbing. “We just approached this as much as we could like a feature — from the aspect ratio to the cinematography to the look to the design of the house and farm. We are competing with shows on cable and streamers…we wanted to be able to do that and offer audiences something of equal quality.”
Tulloch chimed in saying that when they first discussed about the show, she and Hoechlin were sold when Helbing referred to Friday Night Lights. “It was really grounded and really real,” she said of the show.