Edgar Allan Poe — TB-carrier, voting-enthusiast, and inventor of the modern detective novel — will soon make the jump to the silver screen in the image of the great John Cusack, BUT DID YOU KNOW, come this Fall, he might also be solving mysteries in your living room? ABC has shot a pilot that features Poe solving mysteries around his native Boston, assisted by an extremely talented love-interest (Tabrett Bethel, ::le sigh::).
According to a script outline leaked to Full-Stop, the first episode begins with Poe entering a home where a crime has taken place, quickly blaming it on an escaped Baboon, and then demanding payment. He then drinks for a few hours before he is taken by a rich acquaintance to their swampy manor and sealed, dead-drunk, behind a brick wall. The manor begins to sink as Poe attempts his escape, ringing his golden bell. The episode ends. Next week, Poe is miraculously back in his humble Chinatown apartment, placing a bet on the Olde Red Sox and yelling incoherently at his pet Raven, Lenny (voiced by Nick Backay).
If the pilot is picked up, this will make the first successful serial translation of an author’s life to the Fall schedule. Other attempts have included-
Greene Acres (1962): Detailing Graham Greene’s days as a horribly conflicted colonialist who ultimately helps a Turk and kills himself. Renowned as the only television pilot to both kill off its titular character and feature several deaths by Catholicism.
All’s Well That’s Orwell (1976): Looking to cash in on the success of M*A*S*H, All’s Well That’s Orwell featured a young Orwell reminiscing about his carefree days as an indigent in Paris and London while sitting in a trench during the Spanish Civil War. Notable for its clear and precise description of what parts of a rat could be eaten, it was unjustly maligned by purists for the inclusion of scheming farm animals as part of Orwell’s Republican regiment.
Sundays with Marilynne (1995): As a thoughtful alternative to popular gospel programming on the major networks, PBS aired this one-hour special in hopes of it becoming a series. Author Marilynne Robinson would read a bible verse, then calmly explain how beautiful the physical world is, talk eloquently about loss, and then descend into a fifteen minute reverie about grace and childhood. Despite its overwhelming popularity and the thousands of sighs and long-walks the program inspired, Robinson declined to produce another episode for 28 years.
Here’s hoping ABC follows-through and picks up Poe: The TV Show, for it will surely be the Fall of House M.D. (sorry).