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SYFY WIRE I Am Not Okay With This

WIRE Buzz: The Society, I Am Not Okay With This canceled; Black Panther to Serial Box; more

By Benjamin Bullard & Nivea Serrao
Sophia Lillis in I Am Not Okay With This on Netflix

Netflix has canceled a pair of supernaturally tinged teen series after their debut outings, and it has the coronavirus pandemic — not low viewership or critical rejection — to blame.

Deadline reports that The Society and I Am Not Okay With This, both headed toward their sophomore seasons after making successful premieres, have been nixed due to the toll the pandemic is taking on the cost, as well as timing, of restarting production.

In a statement to Deadline, Netflix said it was a difficult decision to end both series, blaming the pandemic while thanking the casts and creative teams: “We’re disappointed to have to make these decisions due to circumstances created by COVID, and we are grateful to these creators, including: Jonathan Entwistle, Christy Hall, Shawn Levy, Dan Levine, Dan Cohen and Josh Barry at 21 Laps Entertainment for I Am Not Okay With This; Chris Keyser, Marc Webb and Pavlina Hatoupis for The Society; and all the writers, casts and crews who worked tirelessly to make these shows for our members around the world.”

Debuting in May of last year, The Society featured an ensemble cast to explore what a group of teens would do if everyone in their town suddenly disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Framed by many observers as a modern-day retelling of Lord of the Flies, the show was quickly renewed and slated for a Season 2 premiere this fall — even getting an early Netflix cast teaser in anticipation of returning — until the pandemic indefinitely delayed the starting date for production to resume.

Based on Charles Forsman’s comics series, I Am Not Okay With This followed the supernatural coming-of-age story of Syd Novak (Sophia Lillis), a 17-year-old gifted with Carrie-like telekinetic abilities who slowly begins to realize the strange happenings that surround her aren’t just coincidental. The series debuted in February to positive response, leading to an expected Season 2 renewal — complete with reported scripts already written — before the sudden cancellation.

The mind behind Game of Thrones is moving to retain his rights to a 1988 werewolf tale. Author George R.R. Martin has reportedly filed a lawsuit to reclaim film rights to The Skin Trade, a lupine novella previously optioned to filmmakers under an agreement that, according to The Hollywood Reporter, set a five-year time limit on getting a movie made.

In the lawsuit, Martin reportedly contends that good-faith work to begin a film based on The Skin Trade never materialized during the five-year option window, and that the start of principal photography — a requirement of the agreement — was done only in a “contrived” and artificial fashion in order to meet the minimum requirements.

The Skin Trade comic book cover

Initially optioned in 2009 to Mike the Pike Productions, which went on to assign the project to Blackstone Manor LLC, the option was executed in September of last year — though the lawsuit claims it was done in haste and with a bare-bones creative team in order to keep the rights from reverting back to Martin.

“Blackstone’s token Production was insufficient to prevent reversion of the Rights to Martin,” the complaint states, per THR. “Rather, it was the equivalent of a contractor agreeing to build a skyscraper and, on the last day to begin construction — without a foreman, crew, or approved blueprints — having a handful of day laborers take a month to build a gazebo on the construction site instead.”

Featuring private investigator protagonist Randi Wade, The Skin Trade follows Wade’s pursuit of the mystery behind a series of local deaths that share a grisly signature: The killer makes off with the victims’ skin. Diving deeper, and haunted by shadows of her father’s death years earlier, Wade discovers a sinister world right in her small-town backyard.

The novella appeared in the late 1980s as part of Dark Visions, a horror anthology that also featured works from Stephen King and Dan Simmons. Martin’s story won the World Fantasy Award for Best Novella in 1989, was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award the same year, and even went on to get the comics treatment in a four-part series from Avatar Press in 2013.

Black Panther 2 may not be arriving in cinemas until 2022, but that doesn't mean fans can't return to Wakanda a little early. Now, thanks to Serial Box, listeners (and readers) can catch up with T'Challa in the reading-and-listening platform's latest Black Panther-based adventure thriller.  

Titled Marvel's Black Panther: Sins of the King, the serialized story will see T'Challa's position as king threatened yet again — this time in the form of his unexpectedly resurrected father. Both kings will have to face the mistakes of their past, while also taking on the dark forces that are looking for revenge against their kingdom and a villain who can raise the dead. Also making an appearance in the tale will be fan favorites like Okoye and Shuri, along with other Marvel heroes Misty Knight and War Machine.

Bringing this story to life is none other than recent Emmy nominee William Jackson Harper (The Good PlaceMidsommar), who will narrate the entire story.

"I've long been a fan of sci-fi, but there's always been a dearth of Black characters in those worlds, especially when brought to the screen," Harper said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. "I remember seeing Black Panther in the theater and just being giddy about how many kids like me will have this be one of their first and formative sci-fi experiences, and how open they will be to seeing all kinds of people inhabiting these worlds as they grow older, which is why I am thrilled to be a part of this project."

The writing team for the project is led by Ira Madison III (Daybreak) and also includes authors Tananarive Due, Steven Barnes, Geoffrey Thorne, and Mohale Mashigo.

"Sci-fi and fantasy have long explored the relationship between sons and fathers, but I thought an all-Black writing team would be uniquely equipped to tell a powerful story about Black sons and fathers, one that normally goes untold in the world of superhero stories,” said Madison in a statement. “It's such an honor to bring T'Challa to life in a new story for fans of Black Panther, including myself, who never imagined while reading Avengers and Fantastic Four comics as a kid I'd get to come up with stories for the Black Panther himself."

This isn't the first time Serial Box has delved into the Marvel universe, with previous offerings revolving around Black WidowJessica Jones, and Thor

Marvel's Black Panther: Sins of the King will be out on Serial Box in January. You can read a sneak peek here