Thursday 11 May 2017

Judge Dredd: not watching this series will be an automatic fail

Its been five years since Dredd undeservedly bombed at the box office. I loved that film. I thought Karl Urban was perfectly cast as Dredd himself, Olivia Thirlby was great as Judge Anderson and Lena Headey proved that even a dystopian nightmare future she is still constitutionally incapable of playing anything other than queens. I could rant on for hours about how great an adaptation that movie was and how it just got Dredd and his world so much better than the Stallone abomination.

But today is about something different, its about this...
because Judge Dredd is coming to the small screen. I can't say I'm disappointed in this, not just because after two box office failures a third film was unlikely, but because I think a TV series is a better fit for the property. One problem with doing a Dredd movie is that the makers have to hone in on “the” Dredd story they want to tell. Whether they're clever about it like in 2012 and choose to write a typically horrible day in Dredd's life or are incredibly stupid like in 1995 and choose to write a narrative collapse of a narrative most of the audience have no knowledge of, they've still only got one shot. A number of the 2012 production team are involved in this series, by the way.

TV is more forgiving. Say this series runs to twelve episodes. What we essentially have is a cop show dialled up to eleven. Dredd (2012) was the story of a drug bust but this show can run the whole gamut of cop show tropes twisted by the nightmare world of the Big Meg.

Not to mention that, budget permitting, there's a whole lot of extra madness that can be drawn on. Mutants, for example, are mentioned in Dredd but never seen (aside from Anderson's mental powers). There are the rare recurring villains of the franchise like Judge Death or serial killer P.J. Maybe. I'd love to see Anderson but there are a bunch of other Judges who could stand to pop up from time to time like Dredd's brother Rico, the undercover Judges of Wally Squad, or Emerald Isle native Joyce.

There's forty years of grubby, violent, squalid genius to be mined here and I'm just glad that its finally going to be mined by a medium with a decent amount of time to devote to the project. 

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