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WIRE Buzz: Van Helsing reboot from Overlord director; Netflix and Melissa McCarthy for 'God's Favorite Idiot'; more

By Josh Weiss
Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone

Move over, Dante! Netflix has placed a straight-to-series order of 16 episodes for God's Favorite Idiot, a divine comedy project from executive producers Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone; they are producing Idiot under their On the Day Banner. The husband-wife duo will also star in the series, which will be directed and executive produced by frequent collaborator, Michael McDonald (an alum of MADtv).

In terms of plot, the show is said to center around Clark Thompson (Falcone), a tech support employee who falls in love with his co-worker Amily Luck (McCarthy). Things get complicated when Amily becomes a messenger for the big guy upstairs, setting in motion a string of events that include roller skating, a lake of fire, and an impending apocalypse. You know, just your average boy-meets-girl romance. Beyond that initial synopsis, plot details are rather thin.

Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone

McCarthy and Falcone's most recent project, Superintelligence, is now streaming on HBO Max. Directed by Falcone, the comedy movie stars McCarthy as a woman who must convince a self-aware A.I. (voiced by talk show host James Corden) that humanity deserves to live.

Everyone's favorite monster hunter, Abraham Van Helsing, is coming back to the big screen by way of producer James Wan. According to Deadline, Overlord director Julius Avery has been tapped to helm a brand-new film interpretation of Dracula's greatest nemesis for Universal Pictures. The filmmaker is currently rewriting a previous draft of the script penned by Thor: Ragnarok scribe, Eric Pearson. Avery proved he had a firm understanding of old school creature features with Overlord — a World War II-era horror film about gruesome Nazi experiments that turn unwilling participants into grotesque monsters.

Van Helsing

The last time Van Helsing graced cinemas was in May 2004 when Hugh Jackman played the character in a world inhabited by all of Universal's famous beasties. The aptly-named Van Helsing was written and directed by Stephen Sommers, who found great success by rebooting The Mummy several years earlier. Sadly, his homage to the heyday of the studio's monster-based pictures was a critical and financial disappointment. Any potential sequels were scrapped as a result.

After the Dark Universe concept fizzled out, Universal began to focus on director-driven monster movies that were not connected to one another. The studio hit great success earlier this year with a remake of The Invisible Man. Directed by Upgrade's Leigh Whannell, the film (made on a modest budget of $7 million) was critically acclaimed and made $130 million at the global box office. Universal was so pleased with the results, that Whannell is developing a fresh take on The Wolfman. (Universal Pictures and SYFY WIRE are both owned by NBCUniversal)

Rocky star Sylvester Stallone is returning to the world of sports with Meshed, an upcoming sci-fi drama TV show he's developing under his Balboa Productions banner. He and Braden Aftergood will executive produce the project alongside DUST. (the sci-fi imprint of Gunpowder & Sky).

Edward Ricourt (Jessica Jones, Wayward Pines) has been chosen to adapt Rich Larson's short story of the same name. The series will take place in "not-so-distant future" that is "centered around Mesh technology which allows for an immersive experience of professional basketball through the eyes of its athletes," reads the synopsis. "Mesh enhances the game for viewers while commoditizing the lives of its players. The show will explore the intersection of sports, sponsorship, friendship, global entertainment and winning at all costs."

Sylvester Stallone

“Rich Larson's visionary short story sits at the cross-section of two very prescient ideas:  the role of technology in enhancing athletic achievement, and the increasingly immersive world of spectator sport,” Aftergood said in a statement. “Sylvester Stallone and I are honored to be partnered with Gunpowder & Sky and Ed Ricourt on this incredibly relevant project.”   

"One of my favorite things about ‘Meshed’, and science fiction in general, is that oftentimes it’s prophetic,” added Eric Bromberg, SVP of Development, Gunpowder & Sky. “This prescient series examines the future of sports in our society, and what a dream it is to craft such a show alongside Ed Ricourt and Balboa Productions.”