Capping today’s TV adaption trend at TCA (Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector, Council of Dads, Resident Alien) the day’s last panel centered on another adaptation: USA Network’s Briarpatch, a 10-episode anthology series adapted from the Ross Thomas novel by the same name.
The series, which premieres February 6, is set in a fictional Texas border town and follows Allegra Dill (Rosario Dawson) as she returns to her hometown to search for her sister’s killer.
Dawson appeared on today’s panel with cast members Jay R. Ferguson and Kim Dickens, as well as EP/showrunner Andy Greenwald, a former TV critic. Greenwald said he wanted to blend humor and suspense to create a “hot noir,” or a “classic story heated up for a new era.”
In the book, the lead character is a man, and while recasting Dill as a woman breaks stereotypes, the panel was still peppered with questions from entertainment journalists about embracing the trope of the Dead Girl like Twin Peaks and other series.
Ferguson cited one of his hard-boiled lines in the pilot to indicate that the series turns the trope on its head: “There’s always the dead girl…hopefully that’s as meta as it gets.”
Greenwald mentioned the show’s focus on living characters, including women. “I’d rather tell the story of living women,” he said, calling one of the joys of the show creating complicated characters who “show up wearing armor (and) blow that armor off them (to show) what emotions are working beneath that armor.”
As might be expected, the room full of journalists asked about Greenwald’s transition from critic to producer. “I never thought it was going to be easy for sure, he said, but added that he found he was able to bring an observer’s perspective into the writers room, “hopefully an ability to see the forest and not just the trees…I think that muscle is fading as (now) I just stare at one tree all the time.”