News

‘Fables' has potential to be the next ‘Lost'

Maureen Ryan
Chicago Tribune (MCT)

Has ABC found the next "Lost"?

According to a recent story in the Hollywood Reporter, the network bought the rights to the comic book "Fables" and will make a pilot in the new year.

I recently read the 11 collected volumes of the "Fables" series, which writer Bill Willingham introduced in 2002 and which is still going strong. Though it took me a little while to invest in Willingham's characters - most of whom come from the realm of fairy tales but live in contemporary New York - by the time I dived into the most recent volumes of "Fables," I was truly hooked. It is, quite simply, a marvelous yarn.

Despite my great appreciation of "Fables," or rather because of it, news of the ABC adaptation fills me with both hope and dread - hope that the next great network drama may be coming our way next year (though ABC may not make anything beyond the pilot); fear because the networks seem to be shying away from serialized storytelling. The only new show to find any traction with viewers this fall was the CBS show "The Mentalist," which features stand-alone plots. I'm betting we'll see many clones of that procedural in the new year.

But ABC should kill its adaptation of "Fables" if the show is not going to contain a strongly serialized element. If it does the show right, however, "Fables" could be the next "Lost."" Lost" and "Fables" share much in common: Both feature a large group of characters functioning in environments that contain fantastical elements. Both are about men and women (and children) trying to sustain their relationships even as they fight ominous threats from powerful and mysterious entities. And both can be addictive.

Despite its fantastical elements - "Fables" features magic, witches and the like - the saga works, thanks to Willingham's keen eye for detail, the momentum he builds over time, the series' terrific sense of humor and the way that he grounds every story with realistic emotional stakes. Given how skittish the networks are about ambitious storytelling, should ABC even attempt to bring "Fables" to life?

Yes. In the fractured media environment that the networks find themselves, they can't count on drawing viewers with mediocre fare, such as the blah, copycat shows that the networks churned out this fall.

The networks need to engage passionate fans who care so much about their favorite shows that they don't just watch them, but buy the DVDs, go online to form communities, buy T-shirts, books, posters and so forth.

Will ABC make "Fables" with such boldness that we'll all be as entranced as we have been by "Lost" at its best? I can only hope so. And as readers of "Fables" know, once in a while there really is a "happily ever after."


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

'What a Fantastic Death Abyss': David Bowie's 'Outside' at 25

David Bowie's Outside signaled the end of him as a slick pop star and his reintroduction as a ragged-edged arty agitator.

Music

Dream Folk's Wolf & Moon Awaken the Senses with "Eyes Closed" (premiere)

Berlin's Wolf & Moon are an indie folk duo with a dream pop streak. "Eyes Closed" highlights this aspect as the act create a deep sense of atmosphere and mood with the most minimal of tools.

Television

Ranking the Seasons of 'The Wire'

Years after its conclusion, The Wire continues to top best-of-TV lists. With each season's unique story arc, each viewer is likely to have favorites.

Film

Paul Reni's Silent Film 'The Man Who Laughs' Is Serious Cinema

There's so much tragedy present, so many skullduggeries afoot, and so many cruel and vindictive characters in attendance that a sad and heartbreaking ending seems to be an obvious given in Paul Reni's silent film, The Man Who Laughs.

Music

The Grahams Tell Their Daughter "Don't Give Your Heart Away" (premiere)

The Grahams' sweet-sounding "Don't Give Your Heart Away" is rooted in struggle, inspired by the couples' complicated journey leading up to their daughter's birth.

Music

Gloom Balloon Deliver an Uplifting Video for "All My Feelings For You" (premiere)

Gloom Balloon's Patrick Tape Fleming considers what making a music video during a pandemic might involve because, well, he made one. Could Fellini come up with this plot twist?

Music

Brian Cullman Gets Bluesy with "Someday Miss You" (premiere)

Brian Cullman's "Someday Miss You" taps into American roots music, carries it across the Atlantic and back for a sound that is both of the past and present.

Music

IDLES Have Some Words for Fans and Critics on 'Ultra Mono'

On their new album, Ultra Mono, IDLES tackle both the troubling world around them and the dissenters that want to bring them down.

Music

Napalm Death Return With Their Most Vital Album in Decades

Grindcore institution Napalm Death finally reconcile their experimental side with their ultra-harsh roots on Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism.

Film

NYFF: 'Notturno' Looks Passively at the Chaos in the Middle East

Gianfranco Rosi's expansive documentary, Notturno, is far too remote for its burningly immediate subject matter.

Film

What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .

Music

The Avett Brothers Go Back-to-Basics with 'The Third Gleam'

For their latest EP, The Third Gleam, the Avett Brothers leave everything behind but their songs and a couple of acoustic guitars, a bass, and a banjo.

Music

PM Picks Playlist 1: Rett Madison, Folk Devils + More

The first PopMatters Picks Playlist column features searing Americana from Rett Madison, synthpop from Everything and Everybody, the stunning electropop of Jodie Nicholson, the return of post-punk's Folk Devils, and the glammy pop of Baby FuzZ.

Books

David Lazar's 'Celeste Holm  Syndrome' Appreciates Hollywood's Unsung Character Actors

David Lazar's Celeste Holm Syndrome documents how character actor work is about scene-defining, not scene-stealing.

Music

David Lord Salutes Collaborators With "Cloud Ear" (premiere)

David Lord teams with Jeff Parker (Tortoise) and Chad Taylor (Chicago Underground) for a new collection of sweeping, frequently meditative compositions. The results are jazz for a still-distant future that's still rooted in tradition.

Music

Laraaji Takes a "Quiet Journey" (premiere +interview)

Afro Transcendentalist Laraaji prepares his second album of 2020, the meditative Moon Piano, recorded inside a Brooklyn church. The record is an example of what the artist refers to as "pulling music from the sky".

Music

Blues' Johnny Ray Daniels Sings About "Somewhere to Lay My Head" (premiere)

Johnny Ray Daniels' "Somewhere to Lay My Head" is from new compilation that's a companion to a book detailing the work of artist/musician/folklorist Freeman Vines. Vines chronicles racism and injustice via his work.

Music

The Band of Heathens Find That Life Keeps Getting 'Stranger'

The tracks on the Band of Heathens' Stranger are mostly fun, even when on serious topics, because what other choice is there? We all may have different ideas on how to deal with problems, but we are all in this together.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.