I’ve got some good news for those of you following the saga that is the TV adaptation of Joe Hill’s comic book Locke & Key. When FOX’s upfront presentation came and went without a pickup for the spooky pilot, whispers surfaced saying that backing studio 20th Century Fox TV was tempted to pitch it to other networks and cable stations like The CW and Syfy. Unfortunately these networks passed on the pilot, too. After all this rejection typically this would mark the end of a TV project. But Locke & Key is special, you see. Instead of being shelved in the attic, 20th Century Fox TV granted the comic book’s publisher IDW Publishing permission to screen the pilot at Comic Con.
What makes Locke & Key worthy of coming back from the dead. In a word: pedigree. The following people are involved in the making of this show: Josh Friedman (showrunner/executive producer/writer), Steven Spielberg (executive producer), Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman (executive producers), and Mark Romanek (director). Miranda Otto and Nick Stahl star. The high-profile pilot was all the buzz during pilot pickup season, but due to production costs and other financial reasons FOX (and the other networks that considered taking it on) ultimately decided to pass on it.
Kudos to IDW for having the guts to ask 20th to screen the pilot in its entirety at Comic Con. And not only that–a panel consisting of Hill and collaborator Gabriel Rodriguez, Friedman, Orci, and Kurtzman will be on hand to discuss the making of the pilot. If there’s any place to resurrect a high-profile comic book adaptation with spooky and mysterious elements attached, it’s Comic Con. If the pilot is well-received by the crowd, there is a chance that network execs might hear their cheers and decided to pick up the series for midseason or fall 2012. I will be attending the screening next month and will report back my impressions. I have a gut feeling Locke & Key is going to be a crowd-pleaser.
Joe Hill shared his reaction to the pilot on his blog. “Mark Romanek and Josh Friedman turned in a hell of a good pilot (says a dude who is, of course, completely unbiased). The finished episode is scary, and lean, and emotionally authentic, and has a similar feel to Super 8; it very much has a kind of early 80s scary-Spielberg vibe. It’s also very faithful to the source material. I’m so, so proud of everyone who worked on it and of what was accomplished. Locke & Key doesn’t have a TV home at the moment, but there’s quite a bit of good will out there for the pilot among those who have seen it. So I can’t say what will happen after SDCC. We’ll just have to – ah – stay tuned.”