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DID YOU READ

Adapt This: “Bluesman” by Rob Vollmar and Pablo G. Callejo

bluesman

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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 and other industry experts about the books they’d like to see make the jump from page to screen.


This Week’s Book: Bluesman by Rob Vollmar and Pablo G. Callejo (NBM Publishing)

The Premise: After being framed for a murder he didn’t commit, blues musician Lem Taylor is forced to trek across Arkansas during the late ’20s, desperately trying to avoid the police and an angry mob that see the color of skin as proof of his guilt.

The Pitch: Bluesman combines the most compelling elements of a period piece set in the deep South in the heat of vicious segregation with a chase story that has its main character fleeing across the state via foot, truck, and train. The story is structured in three sections of four chapters each — like a traditional 12-bar blues song — which also lends itself nicely to a television miniseries format.

Ideally, an adaptation of Bluesman would take the form of a cable miniseries, able to plumb the racially heated depths of that time in American history, and refrain from pulling any punches with the realities of what a black man trekking across the state was likely to encounter. Set the entire tale against a soundtrack of classic blues songs of the era, and you’ll have a road-trip story unlike any other.

While an adaptation of Bluesman would certainly require a strong, capable male lead for the role of Lem Taylor — who should also be able to carry a tune — there’s a great cast of supporting characters that can offer talented actors a chance to shine. The story is far from an ensemble film, but it does offer some nice, meaty roles for its supporting cast to chew on and make their own.

One element of the story that should certainly appeal to an interested network is the fact that, despite being set in the ’20s, there are very few set pieces that will require much de-aging and tampering. Although Lem Taylor treks across the state, the dangers he faces along the way force him off the major roads and into the fields and farmlands of Arkansas. On the rare occasions that he’s forced into the city, much of the action takes place indoors — leaving little need to create a full-scale 1920s thoroughfare.

As I mentioned earlier, the structure of the story also makes for an easy transition from page to screen — not only because of its three-act architecture, but also due to its growing sense of spectacle as the tale goes on. Without spoiling anything for those who haven’t read it yet, Bluesman offers a fairly impressive finale that serves as a truly epic conclusion to Lem’s journey.

The Closing Argument: Put the Bluesman adaptation into the hands of a capable director who understands how to make the best of the cable-miniseries format, and there’s the potential for a great blend of heart-wrenching drama and soul-stirring music, and a road trip that’s equal parts pursuit of the American Dream and life-or-death survival.


This Week’s Guest Recommendation: Desolation Jones by Warren Ellis and J.H. Williams III

“I’d watch an adaptation of anything Warren Ellis, but the one with the most screen potential is Desolation Jones, his series with J.H. Williams III that starred a quirky former British secret agent/science experiment available for the craziest private investigations (such as cases involving the lost pornography of Adolf Hitler). With elements of modern noir and police procedurals, plus an oddball personality akin to ‘House,’ Desolation Jones would make an amazing TV series. And did I mention the Hitler porn?”

Brian Truitt, Entertainment Reporter at USA TODAY and Associate Editor at USA WEEKEND magazine.


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

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G.I. Jeez

Stomach Bugs and Prom Dates

E.Coli High is in your gut and on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Brothers-in-law Kevin Barker and Ben Miller have just made the mother of all Comedy Crib series, in the sense that their Comedy Crib series is a big deal and features a hot mom. Animated, funny, and full of horrible bacteria, the series juxtaposes timeless teen dilemmas and gut-busting GI infections to create a bite-sized narrative that’s both sketchy and captivating. The two sat down, possibly in the same house, to answer some questions for us about the series. Let’s dig in….

E.coli-class-

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

BEN: Hi ummm uhh hi ok well its like umm (gets really nervous and blows it)…

KB: It’s like the Super Bowl meets the Oscars.

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

BEN: Oh wow, she’s really cute isn’t she? I’d definitely blow that too.

KB: It’s a cartoon that is happening inside your stomach RIGHT NOW, that’s why you feel like you need to throw up.

IFC: What was the genesis of E.Coli High?

KB: I had the idea for years, and when Ben (my brother-in-law, who is a special needs teacher in Philly) began drawing hilarious comics, I recruited him to design characters, animate the series, and do some writing. I’m glad I did, because Ben rules!

BEN: Kevin told me about it in a park and I was like yeah that’s a pretty good idea, but I was just being nice. I thought it was dumb at the time.

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IFC: What makes going to proms and dating moms such timeless and oddly-relatable subject matter?

BEN: Since the dawn of time everyone has had at least one friend with a hot mom. It is physically impossible to not at least make a comment about that hot mom.

KB: Who among us hasn’t dated their friend’s mom and levitated tables at a prom?

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

BEN: There’s a lot of content now. I don’t think anyone will even notice, but it’d be cool if they did.

KB: A show about talking food poisoning bacteria is basically the same as just watching the news these days TBH.

Watch E.Coli High below and discover more NYTVF selections from years past on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:

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The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.

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They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!

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Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.

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Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.

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