Friday, October 1, 2010

The good Herman?

Posted By on Fri, Oct 1, 2010 at 2:59 PM

Does NBC have a future in the post-Zucker era? If so, it’s not immediately apparent. When a genre entry/ stunt show like The Event is the cornerstone of your ballyhooed “return to drama,” a resumption of the heyday of Hill Street Blues isn’t exactly right around the corner.

(And just as I feared, after two episodes, The Event is already taking a headlong plunge into V-style sci-fi, with dwindling ratings to match.)

So who’s going to save the peacock? How about, um

the Munsters?

munsters010jpg

Yes, the net has ordered a pilot for yet another exhumation of the venerable ’60s sitcom (which actually aired on CBS, but they’re too busy raking it in with the new Hawaii Five-O to further spelunk through their archives).

For a hardcore Gwynne-head like me, another return to Mockingbird Lane is a problematic proposition, given the icy chill of memory that’s permanently attached to The Munsters Today, Here Come the Munsters, The Munsters Take in Elian Gonzalez and every other misbegotten teleflick or syndicated series that ever tried to put an updated sheen on the ghoul-next-door franchise.

But this one’s in the hands of Bryan Fuller, whose late, lamented Pushing Daisies had an off-kilter whimsy I could easily see applied to Lily and company to good effect. The question is how much of a free hand he’ll be given, since both Daisies and his previous Wonderfalls have netted him a rep for producing quality content that’s not homogenized enough for the major networks to sell. Will a proven property like The Munsters help him overcome that stigma?

Meanwhile, the concurrent announcement that Guillermo del Toro will have some unspecified role in the project raises more questions than it answers. (Given the announcement of his Haunted Mansion movie, the big one is how del Toro apparently managed to sneak into my apartment late at night, scan my fanboy subconscious and make it his bucket list.)

Even with so many question marks hanging from the rafters like Grandpa at nap time, there’s already reason to welcome the idea of the new pilot. The big one is that it obviously means Uni has quietly put the kibosh on its long-gestating plans for a big-screen adaptation helmed by the Wayans Brothers. Yeah, I’m not making that up; it’s something your God almost let happen.

Now it’s on to the crucial issue of casting. Talkbackers on ew.com, where the story about the Fuller pilot first appeared, seem nearly unanimous that Brad Garrett should get the part of Herman. Personally, since I first saw Neil Flynn as the Janitor on Scrubs, I’ve always been convinced that he was born to play the role, but The Middle seems to have him all sewn up (so to speak). And when Grindhouse opened, I was hit with an epiphany that Quentin Tarantino would make a heck of a Grandpa: same apple-sculpture head, same cuddly volatility. Just picture those family fights:

“Hoiman, for da last time

GO FUCK YESSELF!”

Hey, NBC; I think I just figured out how you can really mess with HBO.

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