Three new series this season struck me as odd ideas, with one central theme: take a property from a few years ago, and re-purpose it as a mismatched-duo crime procedural. You know, when someone with a unique skillset teams with a no-nonsense cop or agent to solve murders? Of course you do, they’re everydamnedwhere.
Minority Report the movie was about a society where three psychic siblings spend their lives hooked up to a machine so that the police can use them to predict crimes, arresting people before they have a chance to commit them. The title, “Minority Report,” refers to incidents where one of the psychics (if I recall correctly, often if not always the sister, who was the most powerful) has a differing view of the future. These “minority reports” were discarded, when in fact they were evidence that the entire system was flawed and needed to be discarded. Minority Report the TV show, which would have been the title of Larry Wilmore’s “Nightly Show” if these assholes hadn’t bogarted it, conveniently forgets that last part, and has one of the two brothers start working with a no-nonsense cop to prevent murders.
Limitless was a Bradley Cooper vehicle based around that stupid “We only use 10% of our brains” myth, but the TV show mostly ducks around it so whatevs. Basically, Cooper’s character Eddie Morra takes a pill called NZT that turns him hyper-intelligent, and uses it to… do stuff? Except there are side effects? I honestly don’t know. Been meaning to watch that movie for like a month. Anyhoo, the series takes place some time later, when Eddie Morra is a Senator who everyone assumes is planning a run at the White House. Brian Finch is a slacker musician whose father is sick, but gets a chance to turn his life around when, while working a mind-numbing temp job, an ex-bandmate gives him a hit of NZT, which allows him to easily access every memory from his entire life, processing information like a human computer. Said ex-bandmate is murdered shortly thereafter, and Brian finds himself on the run from the FBI while using his old friend’s NZT stash to solve the crime, diagnose his father, and other issues. When the withdrawal starts getting bad, and the real murderer manages to shoot Brian in the leg, Senator Morra turns up, offering Brian an injection that will let him use NZT free of side effects, provided he do two things: 1) work with the FBI, and 2) never, ever tell anyone about this meeting or the injections. Anyone. Ever. So he and an FBI agent solve murders. Which is weird because murders typically aren’t FBI jurisdiction (barring hitmen and serial killers), but whatever.
The comic book Lucifer follows the adventures of fallen angel Lucifer Morningstar as he tries to make a life on Earth after abandoning his post as ruler of Hell in the pages of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman. The Fox series Lucifer assumes that his life on Earth involves solving crimes with the LAPD, why not.
Now, I could complain here. I could ask “Why are you digging up old movies (and Lucifer) and trying to turn them into The Mentalist?” But frankly Minority Report (and, in all probability, Lucifer) will be gone soon, and I actually kinda like Limitless. So instead, let’s go nuts with it. Here’s some other properties that weren’t at all about solving crimes that I’ve forcibly and illogically reinvented as Castle clones.
Networks looking to hire me, I’m on Twitter and Instagram but not Snapchat. Should I get Snapchat? I feel like I should. Sorry, got distracted. Onwards!
The Movie: a military robot is struck by lightning, becoming self-aware. When his sudden sentience is seen as a glitch, he hides out with Stephanie Speck (Ally Sheedy) until he can convince his programmer (Steve Guttenberg, someone younger readers might be surprised to learn was once a legitimate movie star) he is now truly alive.
The Show: Number Five is alive… and he’s looking for justice! The first true AI, granted official citizenship last time we saw him, realizes that human police can’t be trusted to investigate crimes which may involve other emerging AIs on their own. So he teams up with computer-hating NYPD detective David Prescott (Brooklyn 99’s Vulture, Dean Winters) to solve murders involving high-tech. Number Five is hungry for input, Detective Prescott is hungry to fight crime, and together they’ll chart a path. Hell, you could probably get Guttenberg and Sheedy to pop up now and again. Neither of them seem busy.
Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventurers
The Movie: Bill S. Preston Esq. and Ted “Theodore” Logan are destined to found a band (The Wyld Stallyns) that ushers in a golden age of world peace and harmony. Unless they fail history class, in which case Ted’s father will send him to military school in Alaska. Thus, in the far future, The Most Important People in The World send a man named Rufus back in time so that he can lend Bill and Ted a time machine with which to ace their history project. So begins Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure!
The Show: Not everyone wants to see the Wyld Stallyns’ utopia come to fruition. Someone is messing with history, trying to ensure that the future is changed. As such, Bill and Ted recruit a few people to protect the time stream: rock-hating jazz-loving FBI agent Nora Dawson (Alcatraz/Vegas’ Sarah Jones), historian Vivian Thorn (Leverage’s Beth Riesgraf), and the founders of Drag Me Away, the number one Wyld Stallyns cover band. With frequent guidance from Bill and infrequent help from Ted (during sweeps, if Keanu’s not busy filming John Wick sequels, which he should absolutely keep doing), Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventurers track temporal anomalies while seeking whoever is trying to undo Utopia.
Darryl Zero is… no, wait, Zero Effect was just a modernization of Sherlock Holmes. There are already two different TV shows about that. Moving on.
I Heart Huckabees
The Movie: Albert Markovski (Jason Schwartzman) hires existentialist detectives Bernard (Dustin Hoffman) and Vivian (Lily Tomlin) to figure out if sleazy corporate stooge Brad Stand (Jude Law) is out to get him. In the process, Bernard and Vivian (and seemingly rival existentialist detective Caterine Vauban) trick Albert and Brad into facing deep, unsettling truths about themselves. And a bunch of other stuff. It’s a hella weird movie. I impulse purchased it on DVD, I should really watch it a second time one of these days…
The Show: LAPD officer Jill Quinn (Summer Glau) has a gift for identifying probable murderers, but her aggressive investigation style often keeps her from closing cases. As such, she starts working with Bernard and Vivian’s proteges Alec and Tamlin (Agents of SHIELD’s B.J. Britt and Arrow’s Rila Fukushima) to identify murderers and trick them into confessing through existentially making them confront their guilt.