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SYFY WIRE Into the Dark

WIRE Buzz: '1984' stage play heads to TV; Into the Dark returns; Buckaroo Banzai sequel novel

By Matthew Jackson
1984 stage play

George Orwell's classic novel 1984 is mentioned a lot lately by people across social media, correctly or incorrectly, attempt to compare our current moment to the totalitarian future Orwell dreamed up all the way back in 1949. Given just how often 1984 comes up in modern discourse, it was inevitable that someone would get around to a new adaptation eventually. Now, production company wiip has stepped up to take on Big Brother. 

Deadline reports that wiip, the studio set up by former ABC head Paul Lee, has optioned the rights to Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan's 2013 stage adaptation of 1984 to transform it into a television series. Icke, Macmillan, and Lee will also executive produce alongside wiip's David Flynn, with the goal of adaptating the stage show into a five-part limited series on a to-be-determined network or platform. 

“As the world grapples with democracy and government in our divided age of surveillance, ‘fake news’ and truth decay, the urgency of Orwell’s masterpiece is undeniable," the producer said. "The small screen feels like a natural home for his portrait of a society in which people trust their screens more than the world outside their windows.”

1984 follows Winston Smith, a low-level worker in a grim imagined future surveillance state where propaganda rules and free thought is increasingly restrained. Though he's a cog in the machine of this dark state-controlled world, he also dreams of escape from it and rebellion against it, something helped along by his budding forbidden romance with a coworker. The novel is one of the most influential and acclaimed sci-fi works of all time, and remains a staple of the dystopian genre. Icke and Macmillan's stage show has enjoyed successful runs on Broadway and in London's West End, where it gained particularly notoriety for the brutality of its torture scenes, which caused audience members to faint and leave the theater entirely. It'll be interesting to see where this version of the story takes the brutality, and where it ultimately falls in the TV landscape. 

For the first time since last July, Hulu and Blumhouse's horror anthology Into the Dark is back, and it's preparing to make Valentine's Day terrifying once again. 

Variety reports that Into the Dark's next installment will arrive February 12 in the form of "Tentacles," a horror-thriller feature directed by Clara Aranovich from a script by Alexandra Pechman and a story by Pechman and Nick Antosca. The film will star Dana Drori, Casey Deidrick, Evan Williams and Kasey Elise. 

The film promises "a twist on gender roles" in modern horror as it tells the story of a newly formed couple who are swept up in the passion of their early romance, only to find that their connection is slowly changing into something horrific. "Tentacles" follows 2019's "Down" and 2020's "My Valentine" as the series' third Valentine's Day-themed horror story. 

"Tentacles" also marks a long-awaited return for Into the Dark, an anthology film series that had been releasing new installments on an almost-monthly basis until production was put on pause amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The last installment in the series, Alston Ramsay's "The Current Occupant," was released in July of 2020, leaving a rather lengthy gap between episodes. "Tentacles" is the first Into the Dark feature produced during the pandemic, and was made under new COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.

It remains unclear when the next Into the Dark installment after "Tentacles" will follow, but it's nice to know that one month from now you'll be able to get your Valentine horror fix. 

It's been nearly 40 years since The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension was released, and therefore nearly 40 years since the film promised a sequel in which the multi-talented hero would take on the World Crime League. Well, after years of anticipation, the long-awaited follow-up is finally here in the form of a new prose novel from the film's original creator. 

Buckaraoo Banzai Against the World Crime League cover

Yes, Dark Horse Publishing announced Tuesday that this summer, you will finally get to experience Buckaroo Banzai Against the World Crime League, et al: A Compendium of Evils, a story "as told by the Reno Kid" to Buckaroo Banzai creator E.M. Rauch. Here's the official synospsis:

"Still mourning the losses of his beloved Penny Priddy and his surrogate father Professor Hikita, Buckaroo Banzai must also contend with the constant threat of attack from his immortal nemesis Hanoi Xan, ruthless leader of the World Crime League. To make matters worse, Planet 10 warrior queen John Emdall has sent her Lectroid legions against Earth with a brutal ultimatum. Or is her true target Buckaroo Banzai? As the apocalyptic threats continue to mount, only Buckaroo and his Hong Kong Cavaliers stand in the way of global destruction—or in the words of one of the movie’s iconic lines: 'Laugh-a while you can, monkey boy!'"

Buckaroo Banzai Against the World Crime League, et al: A Compendium of Evils brings more than 500 pages of sci-fi adventure to you on August 10, 2021. Pre-orders are now open everywhere books are sold, and since it's Dark Horse, you'll also be able to pick it up at your local comics shop.