DID YOU READ

Adapt This: “Olympus” by Nathan Edmondson and Christian Ward

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With Hollywood turning more of its attention to the world of graphic novels for inspiration, I’ll cast the spotlight on a new comic book each week that has the potential to pack a theater or keep you glued to your television screens. At the end of some “Adapt This” columns, you’ll also find thoughts from various comic creators about the books they’d like to see make the jump from page to screen.


This Week’s Book: Olympus by Nathan Edmondson (w) & Christian Ward (a)

The Premise: Brothers Castor and Pollux are bounty hunters for the gods, tasked by their father Zeus to track down fugitives from Olympus and keep the balance between the mortal realm and that of the divine. When someone manages to escape from Hades during one of the brothers’ missions, the pair must use all of their skills — and the favors they’re owed — to prevent an apocalyptic meeting of human and god.

The Pitch: Olympus combines all of the best elements of a buddy cop show (or in this case, buddy bounty hunters) with a hefty dose of supernatural adventure. Rather than having its characters deal with vampires or werewolves, however, the Gemini brothers operate in the world of the Greek gods and their mythology, chasing down rebellious deities and immortals who violate the laws that govern immortals’ interactions with Earth.

At a basic level, Olympus shares a lot of elements with the television series “Supernatural,” which has developed a loyal following over the course of its long run for finding the right mix of similar elements. Both series follow a pair of brothers with very different personalities as they “solve” something that threatens the balance between our world and everything that lies outside it. Their relationship is the centerpiece of the series, and much of the drama and narrative glue comes from the brothers’ interaction with each other and the strange world in which they operate.

Still, an “Olympus” television series would offer quite a different take on the conventions of the “buddies saving the world from supernatural stuff” theme, as Castor and Pollux receive their assignments directly from Zeus himself, and are relatively immortal in their own right. The difficulty in their tasks often stems from being overmatched by the subjects they pursue, who can still give them a good beating when necessary. (They are gods, after all.) In order to accomplish their missions, the brothers rely heavily on cooperative tactics to bring down their targets, and often make use of their own arsenal of supernatural weapons — including a magical hook and chain used to send their subject back to Hades.

Given the story’s emphasis on the brothers gathering the right information and equipment for each job, an adaptation of Olympus would actually be a mix of elements from shows like “Supernatural” and “Burn Notice,” building on a foundation of familial drama and supernatural elements with intelligent procedural aspects and fast-paced, explosive action. The brothers would receive an assignment, figure out a way to handle it, then procure everything they need to make it happen in the first half of an episode. Once all of that happens, they’d set the plan in motion, deal with the inevitable unforeseen events, and then conclude by celebrating with some drinks, some furthering of an over-arching plot thread, and an occasional bar brawl.

Of course, with so much emphasis on the Gemini brothers, the choice of actors playing Castor and Pollux is possibly the most important factor in an adaptation’s success. The pair need to be brothers who will sacrifice everything for each other — and have clearly done so on more than one occasion. Without that level of chemistry, the entire series will suffer, and probably won’t develop the momentum for a long run.

There’s also a need for some creative effects in an “Olympus” series, as there’s no shortage of magical artifacts wielded by both the brothers and their subjects popping up throughout the series. Shows like “Supernatural” have done a great job with this type of thing lately, though, so the necessary effects are less of a concern now than they would’ve been a few years ago.

The Closing Argument: Cast a pair of talented young actors with great chemistry and have them exchange witty dialogue, punches, and the occasional kiss with a variety of gods, mortals, and pretty young ladies, and you’ve got the makings of a great monster-of-the-week series with Olympus. Castor and Pollux could easily be as likable for a female audience as they are for male viewers, with the series dishing out equal parts action, supernatural elements, and brotherly drama. Keep the whole thing feeling fresh with good dialogue and plot twists, and you have the makings of a fan-favorite program with many seasons in its future.


Would “Olympus” make a good television series? Chime in below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.