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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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.

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

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
Die Hard wedding

Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
Die Hard restroom

Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
Die Hard thank you

Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines

Shopping

The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.

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Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.

Booger

A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.

Ogre

Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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