Oct 31, 2017

The Double O Section is 11 Years Old

I haven't had too much time to post lately, but I still wanted to follow tradition and mark this blog's 11th anniversary. It's kind of odd that I don't remember beginning this rather time-consuming but thoroughly enjoyable hobby at Halloween time, but I think that was probably the same year I first wore my Prisoner costume, which I've trotted out again and again many times since. So there was probably some spy synergy in the air. Well, there definitely was, since Casino Royale was right around the corner, along with a batch of Special Edition James Bond DVDs we were all quite excited about. For a nostalgic look at what spy things were exciting eleven years ago, take a look at my very first series of posts--a list about exactly that. Of course there are lots more great spy things to be excited about now, and I look forward to blogging about all of them! I expect to be posting a lot more in November than I was able to in October. Happy Halloween, and thanks for reading all these years!

Tradecraft: Networks Pursue Spy Comedies

Apparently spy comedies are hot this season. Two separate networks are developing them. CBS's is called Need To Know, according to Deadline, and is a traditional multi-camera sitcom set at the CIA. The pilot was co-written by Scott Weinger (a writer on Galavant and Black-ish, but perhaps best known as the voice of title character in Disney's Aladdin) and Zach Ayers (State of Affairs), based on Ayers' own experiences working for the CIA's top secret training video department. Actor Simon Helberg (The Big Bang Theory, Florence Foster Jenkins) and actress Jocelyn Towne will produce through their company Wildline Entertainment. 

Meanwhile, according to a separate Deadline story, ABC has won a bidding war with a put-pilot commitment for action-comedy Whiskey Cavalier, starring Scott Foley (Scandal), written by David Hemingson (The Catch) and produced by Bill Lawrence (Rush Hour, Cougar Town). According to the trade, "Whiskey Cavalier follows the adventures of FBI agent Will Chase (codename: Whiskey Cavalier) — played by Foley — who, following an emotional break-up, is assigned to work with CIA operative Francesca “Frankie” Trowbridge (codename: Fiery Tribune). Together, they lead an inter-agency team of spies who periodically save the world (and each other) while navigating the rocky roads of friendship, romance and office politics." Personally, I really like the idea of an Avengers-style will they or won't they male/female duo adventure series set against the backdrop of inter-agency rivalry! I hope this one moves forward.

Oct 7, 2017

Trailer: Amazon's JACK RYAN Series

Today at the New York Comic Con Amazon unveiled the first extensive look at their upcoming series Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan, starring John Krasinski (13 Hours) as the CIA analyst previously embodied by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck, and Chris Pine. I like that Ryan protests being sent to interrogate someone, insisting he's just an analyst... but I'm a little worried about how quickly the trailer cuts to Ryan running around with a gun. I think the key to successfully adapting Clancy's books is making sure that Ryan always remains an analyst, and when he gets into extraordinary situations (like a shootout on a nuclear submarine, or dangling from the open door of Air Force One on a Moscow runway) it's clear that, while capable, he is severely out of his element. Here's hoping that's exactly what this contemporary update of Clancy's classic character who originated in the Cold War does!

Tradecraft: Titan Announces New PRISONER Comic Book

Unpublished art by Gil Kane, inked by
Steve Leialoha 
Patrick McGoohan's iconic Sixties ITC series The Prisoner has been returning in a lot of different mediums lately. Big Finish did a surprisingly good job with their audio adventures, which are not so much sequel, remake, or reboot as an alternate version of the original story. The less said about AMC's 2009 miniseries version, the better. Now Titan Comics have announced a new Prisoner comic book. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the comic will be out next year with Peter Milligan (X-Statix, Hellblazer, Human Target) writing and Colin Lorimar (The X-Files) illustrating. While The Prisoner celebrated the 50th anniversary of its UK debut last week, the comic will be timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of its American broadcast. It won't be set in the Sixties and it won't focus on McGoohan's iconoclastic Number 6; instead it will be a contemporary continuation of the original story, focusing on Number 6's modern-day successor. I first became a fan of Milligan's on his controversial run on X-Force (which became X-Statix), a twisted, surreal, and highly irreverent approach to a beloved property that in my mind makes him the perfect scribe for a modern-day Prisoner comic. "For a story where all is ambiguous," he told the trade, "it’s hardly surprising that everyone takes from The Prisoner something different. Like most people I had my own theories, my own twisted notions – mostly Kafkaesque and existential — of what was really going on in those mock Italianate dwellings. Personally, the stranger and more baffling it was, the better it suited me."

The Prisoner will fit well in Titan Comics' impressive roster of iconic British brands. The company currently has licences to publish comics based on Doctor Who, Sherlock, and Hammer horror (I encourage all Brian Clemens fans to seek out their new Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter comic!), among other popular UK-based TV and movie properties. Wouldn't it be fantastic if The Prisoner proves successful enough to lead to comic book revivals of other ITC classics?!

This is far from the first Prisoner comic book. The most famous adaptation to that medium may be one that was sadly never published, the great Jack Kirby's legendary attempt for Marvel in the early Seventies. Before that, another comics superstar, Gil Kane, made an attempt (scripted by Steve Englehart) that also went unpublished. (In news that might even be more exciting than the new comic, Titan will also be producing an oversized hardcover Artist Edition presenting the original art for both of these never-published adaptations! I'll post more news on that as I can get it.) In 1988, DC published the 4-volume, prestige format The Prisoner: Shattered Visage by Dean Motter and Mark Askwith, a then-contemporary sequel to the original series featuring an aged Number 6. The most recent Prisoner comic was published by Marvel in 2009, and tied in with the AMC miniseries, not the original show. While I'd love most to see new stories about McGoohan's Number 6, based on Titan's track record and Milligan's stellar past work, I'm very much looking forward to this modern take!