First look–12 Monkeys, the new Syfy Channel TV series

12 Monkeys Syfy

Terry Gilliam’s 1995 sci-fi thriller 12 Monkeys is every bit a genre classic.  Starring Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe, and Brad Pitt–each in one of their best film performances–Willis plays James Cole, a time traveler from the future, Stowe plays Kathryn Railly, a psychologist in the past, and Pitt, in a supporting actor Oscar-nominated performance, as a mental patient who masterminds a terrorist group called the Army of the 12 Monkeys, and is the son of the wealthy Dr. Goines, played by Christopher Plummer.  So how about 12 Monkeys as a television series?

How would you approach it?  Use the same world but send another group of people back to try to “prevent the future” by trying again to pinpoint the source of a virus that will destroy everyone?  Or would you use the same characters?

Aaron Stanford star of 12 Monkeys

In the January 2015 TV series 12 Monkeys, James Cole will return, played this time by Aaron Stanford, who played X-Men mutant Pyro in the Marvel Comics movie series.  And this time Cassandra Railly (not Kathryn), played by Amanda Schull (Suits, Psych, Grimm) sends Cole back in time (is this Kathryn’s daughter?  Coles’ daughter?) to meet with… Cassandra, to try to change the future.  Character actor and guest actor of every other series on TV, Zeljko Ivanek (White Collar, Argo, House, M.D., Live Free or Die Hard, Lost, Bones, Homicide, Donnie Brasco, The X-Files, and Tex) will play a lead role as Leland, who is key to changing the future.  Kirk Acevedo (Grimm, Fringe, Walking Dead, Rise.. and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) plays a friend of Cole.

12 Monkeys Tv logo

Can director Jeffrey Reiner (Awake, Homeland, Dragnet, Wonder Woman, Caprica) and writers Travis Fickett (Nikita, Terra Nova) and Terry Matalas (Star Trek Voyager, Enterprise, Terra Nova, Nikita) find the essence of the film and successfully transfer it to the small screen?

Check out this first trailer for Syfy’s 12 Monkeys:

In addition to the pilot, 12 episodes are in production.  Gilliam’s dizzying future is not apparent, or the slightly crazed mannerisms of Willis’s Cole.  From a production value standpoint, this one has far to go, but we assume this preview is from a pilot before the series was greenlighted.

12 Monkeys, the TV series, premieres in January 2015.

C.J. Bunce


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