NBC must be listening to the voice of Satan himself, because they're developing a TV series based on The Devil's Advocate, a 1997 movie starring Al Pacino and Keanu Reeves.
If you don't remember the movie, and there's a good reason for that, it's about an ambitious young lawyer played by Keanu Reeves, who gets recruited to work for the most powerful law firm in the country, and the man who runs it, played by Al Pacino, just happens to be Lucifer himself.
Now I might understand wanting to do a series based on a movie that was a monster hit adored by audiences that opened doors to wider storytelling, and had left the audience demanding more.
Devil's Advocate is not that movie.
At the box office it was a mediocrity, earning $60 million domestically, and doing $90 million overseas, which combined probably meant that it barely broke even on its $57 million production budget.
Was it adored by those who saw it? Most view as a laughable bit of ill-cast camp where Al Pacino overacts and Keanu Reeves does his best impression of a piece of furniture. It gets rerun on cable a lot, but that may have more to do with it being available than by popular demand.
As for wider storytelling… Well, the main plot line, which the series will have to stretch out for the whole run, was probably more fitting for a half-hour Twilight Zone episode rather than a feature film, let alone a TV series. It would probably very quickly devolve into yet another legal procedural, but one that ends every goddamn episode with the head of the firm tenting his fingers and smiling evilly at how well his manipulations are going.
Now the reasoning behind this is probably because of the critical cult success NBC is having with Hannibal, which stars the villain from The Silence of the Lambs franchise.
However, Hannibal doesn't come from a single cinematic mediocrity, it comes from a whole series of books and movies, that have detailed and complex backstories that they're not only exploiting, they're taking them into strange new directions. It's also being made by a team of filmmakers who bring a level of quality in script and visuals that was unimaginable on TV just a few years ago.
Hannibal came about from desperation on NBC's part for viewers and respectability forcing them to accept a daring and compelling vision on the part of the show's creators.
With the Devil's Advocate, I only see the desperation.
Maybe I'm wrong.
Maybe a miracle can happen.
UPDATE: Warner Bros. has bought into Shane Salerno's Mack Bolan project, and Bradley Cooper's been signed on for the lead role.
What I didn't predict was that it'll be directed by the director of The Hangover.