HBO Max has greenlighted three drama series from J.J. Abrams and Katie McGrath’s Bad Robot Prods. — Overlook, inspired by Stephen King’s The Shining; Duster, conceived by Abrams; and a DC Justice League Dark show.
These are Bad Robot’s first projects for HBO Max under the mega film and TV deal Abrams signed with WarnerMedia last fall. Like with the other uber producers on Warner Bros. Television Group’s roster, Greg Berlanti, HBO Max is ordering a whole slate of series from Abrams. (Both Abrams and Berlanti behind new DC series for WarnerMedia’s streaming platform.)
Horror-thriller Overlook, inspired by and featuring iconic characters from King’s The Shining, explores the untold, terrifying stories of the most famous haunted hotel in American fiction. The project reunites Bad Robot, King and WBTV, who previously collaborated on the psychological-horror series Castle Rock, which had a two-season run on Hulu.
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Like Castle Rock, Overlook is named after an iconic location from King’s horror universe. In another parallel, I hear Castle Rock co-creator/executive producer Dustin Thomason and co-executive producer Scott Brown are in negotiations to write Overlook.In its approach, Overlook also is reminiscent of A&E’s Bates Motel, the prequel series to another horror classic, Psycho.
King’s The Shining was famously adapted into the 1980 feature directed by Stanley Kubrick and starring Jack Nicholson. A sequel, Doctor Sleep, was released last year. There was also a 1997 The Shining miniseries.
Co-written by Abrams and LaToya Morgan (The Walking Dead), Duster is set in the 1970’s Southwest. It revolves around the life of a gutsy getaway driver for a growing crime syndicate that goes from awful to wildly, stupidly, dangerously awful. Warner Bros. TV is the studio.
Details are scarce about the third series, based on the Justice League Dark DC characters.
Deadline exclusive revealed in January that Bad Robot was exclusively developing both film and TV ideas based on DC’s Justice League Dark universe through its WarnerMedia deal.
Justice League Dark is a branch of the Justice League dedicated to dealing with mystical and supernatural threats. First appearing in the September 2011 issue of Justice League Dark #1, it has featured characters, mostly occult and offbeat, including John Constantine, mystic and fortune teller Madame Xanadu, Deadman, Shade, the Changing Man, and Zatanna. The roster is much larger, and members joined later on, with Swamp Thing being added in issue 19. Other members of JLD include Andrew Bennett (a centuries old vampire), Black Orchid (a shapeshifter), Doctor Mist (a spy who worked for villain Felix Faust), Frankenstein (an erudite creature), Pandora (based on the Greek character), Nightmare Nurse (a healer of supernatural wounds), among several others. Given their powers, they typically handled situations outside of the scope of the traditional Justice League, which includes Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman, Aquaman and The Flash. The JLD title and team were created by Peter Milligan, with art by Mikel Janín.
“What an amazing start to our association with the wildly imaginative Bad Robot team under J.J. and Katie,” said Kevin Reilly, Chief Content Officer, HBO Max and President, TNT, TBS, & truTV. “What could be better than an original J.J. idea and then Warner Bros. letting them loose on iconic I.P. from Stephen King and the DC Universe and to provide more must-have programming on HBO Max.”
All of the Bad Robot series for HBO Max will be executive produced by Abrams and its Head of Television, Ben Stephenson. Rachel Rusch Rich, Bad Robot’s EVP of Television will serve as a co-executive producer. Warner Bros. International Television Distribution will be the global distributor for the programs.
Morgan is currently a writer on The Walking Dead. Previously, she was a co-executive producer and writer of AMC’s Into the Badlands and TURN: Washington’s Spies, and was a writer for NBC’s Parenthood and Showtime’s Shameless.
Current Bad Robot television series produced through Warner Bros. TV Group include HBO’s Westworld, Lovecraft Country and the upcoming Demimonde (created by Abrams), as well as Lisey’s Story, Little Voice and My Glory Was I Had Such Friends for Apple TV+.
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