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Old March 12 2011, 05:20 AM   #1
TheGodBen
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Discworld TV series in production

Terry Pratchett's 'The Watch'

Sir Terry Pratchett and Rod Brown, Managing Director of Prime Focus Productions, announce that they have come to an agreement for the unprecedented and exclusive worldwide television rights to create brand new storylines for the iconic characters of Pratchett's phenomenally successful Discworld series.

Terry's universal success has seen him create one of the leading fantasy fiction franchises of all time, with 70 million worldwide sales of his 38 book Discworld titles (with a 39th being published in October 2011). Whilst there have been three successful mini series adaptations of his Discworld books made for television in the UK, this is the first time that Pratchett has granted a production company the international rights to his character's and world, for the creation of new stories exclusively for a television audience.

The main focus of the series will be set in the bustling, highly mercantile, largely untrustworthy and always vibrant city of Ankh Morpork and will follow the day-to-day activities of the men, women, trolls, dwarves, vampires and several other species who daily pound its ancient cobbles (and, of course, Igor in the forensics department). Terry commonly refers to the City Watch police force series "the jewels in his Discworld Crown". These richly developed and highly compelling characters will feature in a 'crime of the week' episodic storyline. As each weekly adventure unfolds, viewers will be taken on a ride through Pratchett's genius imagination, with the author overseeing the creation of the series, where wild and exciting encounters with werewolves, dragons, dwarfs, trolls and golems and the classic heroes and villains, are an everyday occurrence... many of whom even make outstanding crime fighters!

Rod Brown, Managing Director of Prime Focus Productions said, "I believe that the globally successful Discworld franchise will readily translate to the small screen in the form of a high-end, mass appeal weekly drama series. It will give the audience the anticipation and excitement of brand new Discworld stories every week through the medium of television, rather than books. It's a huge responsibility to get this right for Terry, his legions of Discworld fans and the new followers to his work that we will attract along the way, but I believe they will be in for a treat with a high calibre writing team already attached, including 'Monty Python's' Terry Jones and Gavin Scott (Small Soldiers, The Borrowers). We have already spoken to a number of international broadcasters who have shown early interest and we hope to move forward very quickly to bring this exciting project to fruition".

Sir Terry Pratchett said, "I'm very excited! I really am incredibly happy about this because Rod was part head of the team that produced the very successful Sky One adaptations and my message of encouragement to him now is; don't bugger it up!"
Source: http://www.discworldmonthly.co.uk/dwm0167extra.php

Now this in an unexpected development, a police-procedural centring on the Ankh-Morpork City Watch featuring original stories each week. I could be fantastic. It could be crap.

Personally, I'm cautiously optimistic. The adaptation of TCOM was fairly crap, largely due to the horrible miscasting of the two lead roles, but I thought that Going Postal was great. The casting of Vimes will be vital as he will presumably be the lead character, and I'd love it if they could get Charles Dance back to play Vetinari, he was almost perfect in Going Postal.
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Old March 12 2011, 08:44 AM   #2
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Re: Discworld TV series in production

cautious 'yay' from me.
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Old March 12 2011, 11:47 AM   #3
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Re: Discworld TV series in production

Interesting, I did wonder if the Sky One minis were holding back on the watch books. Not that I care about continuity or anything--I mean, it's a rather pointless concern with wizards and the history monks always mucking about--but I wonder if this will take place at any point in the existing storyline or will they just start more or less from scratch so they're free to adapt old stories to suit the new format?
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Old March 13 2011, 11:21 AM   #4
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Re: Discworld TV series in production

They were discussions last year between the Beeb and Pratchett, but these fell through when the Beeb insisted on final say over the series bible - in other words, they could futz with the characters if they wanted to, which Sir Terry was disinclined to allow (and I don't blame him).
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Old March 13 2011, 12:11 PM   #5
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Re: Discworld TV series in production

Sounds great! I only just got into in the last few months, and I've loved every book I've read so far. City Watch is the series I've read the most, so it'd be exciting to see it brought to life on screen.

I also got the Colour of Magic DVD and thoroughly enjoyed it. What are the other two mini-series productions?
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Old March 13 2011, 05:00 PM   #6
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Re: Discworld TV series in production

Reverend wrote: View Post
but I wonder if this will take place at any point in the existing storyline or will they just start more or less from scratch so they're free to adapt old stories to suit the new format?
It would be interesting if they tried to incorporate the novels into the series somehow. The premier could be an abridged version of Guards! Guards! and the rest of the series could be episodic fair, then if it's brought back for a second series it could begin with Men at Arms. Basically, what I'm saying is that I want an adaptation of Men at Arms.

Probably not though, I imagine they'll pick a point with all the characters after the most recent novel and work from there.

Australis wrote: View Post
They were discussions last year between the Beeb and Pratchett, but these fell through when the Beeb insisted on final say over the series bible - in other words, they could futz with the characters if they wanted to, which Sir Terry was disinclined to allow (and I don't blame him).
Too right, there's no way that Terry should sacrifice his creation to the whims of TV execs. Remember when he was in talks for a movie version of Mort and the American backers wanted to remove Death from the story? I wouldn't be surprised if they tried to make Carrot the lead because he's more heroic than Vimes, or if they tried to make Angua into a damsel in distress every week.

donners22 wrote: View Post
I also got the Colour of Magic DVD and thoroughly enjoyed it. What are the other two mini-series productions?
Hogfather was the first, which I thought was surprisingly good due to my very low expectations. TCOM was next, which I think was horribly miscast. Going Postal was the most recent, and I think it was the best partly due to the near-perfect casting of all the main characters.
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Old March 14 2011, 10:39 AM   #7
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Re: Discworld TV series in production

Hogfather was the first, which I thought was surprisingly good due to my very low expectations. TCOM was next, which I think was horribly miscast. Going Postal was the most recent, and I think it was the best partly due to the near-perfect casting of all the main characters.
Agree.

Yeah, the Mort-without-Death thing, I read that and went, WTF?
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Old March 14 2011, 04:16 PM   #8
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Re: Discworld TV series in production

^I think that thing with 'Mort' was a case of some studio exec talking of their arse. Numpty had probably only glanced at a summery of a synopsis and thought a gothic comedy didn't fit well with the demographics.

It would be interesting if they tried to incorporate the novels into the series somehow. The premier could be an abridged version of Guards! Guards! and the rest of the series could be episodic fair, then if it's brought back for a second series it could begin with Men at Arms. Basically, what I'm saying is that I want an adaptation of Men at Arms.

Probably not though, I imagine they'll pick a point with all the characters after the most recent novel and work from there.
Probably. It just seems like a bit of a waste to have all that material without really using it. Still, on the bright side I'd hate to have to wait a season or two before Angua shows up. Really, the watch books only got progressively better as they went along.

On a vaguely related topic, I've just started to read some of the original Conan the Barbarian stories and all of a sudden, I can now get all of the references from Colour of Magic et al. Also, I had no idea Conan was so closely linked with Lovecraft.
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Old March 14 2011, 04:59 PM   #9
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Re: Discworld TV series in production

Much as I love TP and his creation, calling him a genius* is a bit strong.

I enjoyed Hogfather. It's the only one I've seen. From what I'm gathering here, tCOM is to be avoided at all costs and Going Postal is good again?

*although he did come close with The Night Watch.
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Old March 14 2011, 05:24 PM   #10
diankra
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Re: Discworld TV series in production

Reverend wrote: View Post
Probably not though, I imagine they'll pick a point with all the characters after the most recent novel and work from there.
Probably. It just seems like a bit of a waste to have all that material without really using it. Still, on the bright side I'd hate to have to wait a season or two before Angua shows up. Really, the watch books only got progressively better as they went along.
Exactly: if you adapt the books, fun as it might be, it would take at least a season before all the character currently around would be in place, and good though it is, Guards Guards seems a tiny bit lacking on a re-read because so many key characters are missing or disillusioned shadows of their current selves (and it's not as if Paratchett doesn't retcon a bit himself - from the current books, you'd almost think Igors had always been found everywhere...)
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Old March 14 2011, 06:46 PM   #11
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Re: Discworld TV series in production

Deckerd wrote: View Post
I enjoyed Hogfather. It's the only one I've seen. From what I'm gathering here, tCOM is to be avoided at all costs and Going Postal is good again?
TCOM suffers from poor casting and the fact that the novel itself isn't great. It's a buddy movie with only a weak story holding things together and for that to work you need a strong chemistry between the two leads, and David Jason and Sean Astin just didn't have it. I found myself continually waiting for Tim Curry to come back on screen because he seemed to have fun acting murderously superior.

Going Postal was the opposite, the casting was about as good as you can get and it flowed much better than the previous two because they were willing to sacrifice some sections from the novel to make the story work as a film. Which is one of the reasons why I'm optimistic for The Watch because if they're not beholden to the stories of the novels then the characters should come across more naturally.

I still want adaptations of Men at Arms and Night Watch, but I imagine the series itself would be better.
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Old March 14 2011, 08:16 PM   #12
captcalhoun
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Re: Discworld TV series in production

i frequently don't get all the references in DW novels. i found a load out after reading the Discworld companions and the first quiz book.

like Hersheba sounding like a US chocolate bar.
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Old March 14 2011, 08:28 PM   #13
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Re: Discworld TV series in production

Shouldn't this be in the SF/F section?

Anyway, if they keep the production values of the recent TV movies it'll be good to see a full-out series. I'm not overly familiar with Pratchett's books, except for Hogfather which I read because of seeing the TV movie, but they seem to strike me as the type of works best suited for ongoing TV treatment rather than one-off movies.

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Old March 15 2011, 08:44 AM   #14
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Re: Discworld TV series in production

TheGodBen wrote: View Post
TCOM suffers from poor casting and the fact that the novel itself isn't great. It's a buddy movie with only a weak story holding things together and for that to work you need a strong chemistry between the two leads, and David Jason and Sean Astin just didn't have it. I found myself continually waiting for Tim Curry to come back on screen because he seemed to have fun acting murderously superior.

Going Postal was the opposite, the casting was about as good as you can get and it flowed much better than the previous two because they were willing to sacrifice some sections from the novel to make the story work as a film. Which is one of the reasons why I'm optimistic for The Watch because if they're not beholden to the stories of the novels then the characters should come across more naturally.

I still want adaptations of Men at Arms and Night Watch, but I imagine the series itself would be better.
Agreed. Though I have to say, as much as I did enjoy Going Postal, I really missed Anghammarad. He was my favourite character in the whole book and they left him out. Bugger.

Yeah, anyway, I think adapting some existing stories into a new framework would work better than trying to artificially shoehorn the show into continuity. Of course it's just possible that Pratchett has a whole slew of City Watch story ideas that aren't substantial enough for a book but perfect for an hour long show and fully intends to keep the series in continuity. We'll have to wait and see.
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Old March 16 2011, 12:36 AM   #15
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Re: Discworld TV series in production

I actually really liked TCOM myself, while I do agree that David Jason and Sean Astin where weird choices, I thought the movie itself was good enough to overcome that. Although, I haven't watched Hogfather since it first aired in the US so there is a chance that I might like it better when I rewatch it soon.

As for the series, I'm really excited by the idea, and I really hope that they can get people who can do it just both in front of and behind the camera. The only City Watch story I've read so far is Guards! Guards!, so I don't really what I do and don't want to see from the rest of the series.
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