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Credit: New Line Cinema

Syfy Orders ‘Van Helsing’ Series, BBC Orders ‘Golden Compass’ Adaptation

Syfy has bought Van Helsing, a new take on the famous vampire hunter for a thirteen episode first season in the fall of 2016. The series, produced by production house Nomadic Pictures, will not focus on the aging Van Helsing from Bram Stoker’s classic Dracula novel, but instead on his daughter Vanessa Helsing. Vanessa is resurrected five years in the future to discover a world ruled by vampires and immediately endeavours to lead a resistance movement.

Chris Regina, the Senior Vice President of Program Strategy at Syfy explained that “Van Helsing reimagines a classic story in a compelling new way, featuring a bold and complex heroine.”

Van Helsing represents a new mythology in sci-fi by challenging traditional vampire rules,” added Chad Oakes, the Co-Chairman of Nomadic Pictures. “The series is unique in exploring a world completely dominated by vampires, while the human characters have to learn the importance of working together to ensure their survival.”

Over in Britain, the BBC has also decided to draw from the literature well, ordering an adaptation of Philip Pullman’s young adult His Dark Materials trilogy for broadcast on BBC One. The series, which will be executive produced by Pullman, is being produced by newly formed production house Bad Wolf and New Line Cinema, the film studio previously responsible for the 2006 adaptation of the trilogy’s first novel The Golden Compass, starring Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Sam Elliott, Nicole Kidman and Ian McKellen. The film failed to take off in the way New Line hoped and the remaining two novels were left unadapted.

The books, which tell the tale of two children in a fantasy world caught up in war, conspiracy and a strange phenomenon known as Dust, have been international bestsellers, but have also drawn criticism from religious groups for the novel’s thinly veiled criticism of organised religion and God.

Pullman, an atheist, has made no attempt to placate his critics, once noting, “My books are about killing God.” The 2006 film shed most of these elements, robbing the adaptation of a lot of it’s bite, so it’ll be interesting to see whether the new BBC adaptation will retain these facets of the story.

Of the new adaptation, Pullman said,“It’s been a constant source of pleasure to me to see this story adapted to different forms and presented in different media. It’s been a radio play, a stage play, a film, an audiobook, a graphic novel – and now comes this version for television.”

“In recent years we’ve seen the way that long stories on television, whether adaptations (Game of Thrones) or original (The Sopranos, The Wire), can reach depths of characterisation and heights of suspense by taking the time for events to make their proper impact and for consequences to unravel.”

“And the sheer talent now working in the world of long-form television is formidable. For all those reasons I’m delighted at the prospect of a television version of His Dark Materials. I’m especially pleased at the involvement of Jane Tranter, whose experience, imagination, and drive are second to none. As for the BBC, it has no stronger supporter than me. I couldn’t be more pleased with this news.”

Tranter, the Executive Producer at Bad Wolf also commented that “It is an honor and a joy to be part of the team responsible for bringing Philip Pullman’s trilogy of novels to the BBC. Ever since they were first published these books have been a huge influence on so much of my thinking and imagination and it is enormously inspiring to be now working on them for television adaptation.”

“The broad horizons of television suggests itself as the best of vehicles to capture the expansiveness of the story and worlds of Lyra and Will and I am looking forward to seeing how Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass will occupy their place in an audience’s imagination across many episodes and seasons.”

“To say that I am grateful to Philip Pullman and to Toby and Carolyn at New Line Cinema for entrusting this to Bad Wolf is an understatement and we will give everything that we have to rise to the challenge of doing justice to these great works and to the responsibility that Philip and the incomparable BBC have bestowed on us.”

About Lawson Kiehne

Lawson Kiehne is an aspiring Australian writer who is fascinated by everything involving stories. In his spare time he enjoys reading, playing video games and watching films and television and hopes to one day be a published novelist.