Nov 4, 2015

Bryan Fuller Wants to Reboot The Avengers on TV with Eddie Izzard as Steed

Bryan Fuller, the visionary showrunner behind Hannibal, Pushing Daisies and Wonderfalls, would like to reboot The Avengers (the real Avengers, not the superhero team) on television. He told TVLine (via Dark Horizons), "I would love to reboot The Avengers with Eddie Izzard as John Steed. That would be wonderful." That's the full extent of his quote, given in a survey that asked successful showrunners what series they'd most like to reboot. So, to be clear, this is Fuller picking a dream job, not a pilot sale or even a pitch. But it's certainly a provocative notion!

The Avengers is my favorite TV show of all time. It has already been rebooted once, in the Seventies, by Brian Clemens as The New Avengers, and turned into a less than satisfying feature film in the late Nineties. I am not a knee-jerk reactionary against remakes and reboots of things that I love. After the failure of the 1998 movie (at least partly due to studio tinkering; I would certainly love to see a director's cut to judge the film properly), the show could definitely use some rehabilitation in the public's eyes. And I would love to see it get enough exposure that it could reclaim its own name, which has been appropriated by Marvel. Of course I would only want to see a reboot in truly capable hands... but Bryan Fuller's might be the perfect hands. He is both a storyteller and a stylist, a crucial combination for The Avengers. And he's got a decidedly offbeat point of view, which also helps. The sort of quirkiness he's demonstrated in cult favorites like Pushing Daisies or his one prior foray into spydom (sort of), the supremely, deliciously weird Amazing Screw-On Head (a bizarre animated steampunk pilot based on Mike Mignola's exquisitely weird comic book of the same name - full review here) makes him a good fit for the material. I also like that he starts in the right place, by choosing a Steed. Many fairweather fans of the show might pick a new Emma Peel first (and such casting, whichever female partner they went with, would of course be crucial), but Fuller seems to recognize that no matter which partner he was paired with, it was always Patrick Macnee as Steed who held the show together. That's the right starting point, and from there you should look for an actress with chemistry with your Steed - in this case Eddie Izzard. Which I think is another excellent choice. Izzard is on record as being a fan of the series, but also may have a black mark against him in many fans' eyes for his participation in the '98 movie, in which he played a (mostly) mute henchman for Sean Connery's diabolical mastermind. But anyone who's ever seen his standup act knows that Izzard oozes charisma (and, of course, he's got style - and a predilection for kinky boots!), and in my opinion he might just be the one man who could revive John Steed on television. Fuller and Izzard have previously worked together on two other reboots, the Munsters-derived Mockingbird Lane, and Hannibal. Yes, after careful consideration, I quite love the idea of a Bryan Fuller/Eddie Izzard Avengers reboot! Come on, Esteemed Representatives of Television, make it happen!

Fuller wasn't the only producer polled to pick The Avengers. Gabrielle Stanton, executive producer on The Flash, showed similar good taste. "I would love to reboot Space: 1999 or The Avengers – not the bad movie version, the really cool TV version. Both those things would be really great science-fiction genre properties to bring back."


Anonymous said...

I've been saying for ages that the Avengers should come back.

I've even thought what it could be like: to get around the Marvel issue, cast Steed ad Peel as private detectives and actually call their agency and the show itself 'Steed & Peel'. Their names are as iconic as the title of the show, if not more so. It would be brilliant Saturday night TV!

The 1998 film - which detractors may point to - was nearly good. Fiennes as Steed was brilliant, but Nicole Kidman should have played Emma instead of Uma Thurman, the script was pleasingly eccentric in places but as a whole was boring. But the world it created - a kind of '60s influenced modern day, with old cars etc - was terrific. The first five minutes, with Steed in the village, was a wonderful encapsulation of what the Avengers is.

I've been wanting to ask - but have had no idea who to ask - someone about the licensing to find out who runs it. Not so I can get hold of it, of course, just out of interest to see who has it and if it's just dormant.

Simes said...

But EDDIE IZZARD as Steed?

That one idea suggests to me that Fuller should be kept a million miles away from THE AVENGERS (and SPACE: 1999 too).

Baskingshark said...

Eddie Izzard as Steed? I think not. Why do I get the feeling that Eddie would want to play both Steed AND Emma Peel...

How about some new originals instead of endless remakes and reboots? Was The Prisoner remake not warning enough of the difficulties of doing this?

Elliot James said...

I am glad this never happened. I read that Shane Black also wants to reboot The Avengers. That will be a stinker if it ever does get produced. Some shows should be left alone and not polluted. Seasons 5 and 6 are still ahead of time.