Image Credit: Jim Spellman/WireImage.comRemember in Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban when overachieving Hermione Granger used a magical “time turner” to be able to take multiple classes at once? Well, J.J. Abrams must have scored one of those thingies for himself, because somehow he’s managed to squeeze in another TV project for himself amid a busybusybusy spring. Sources confirm that the producer/director — currently developing three other series for the next television season, editing his hush-hush summer flick Super 8, and gearing up for the Star Trek sequel due in 2012 — is pitching yet another new TV series through his Bad Robot production company, this one entitled Pulp, created by Fringe writers/producers Monica Breen and Alison Schapker.
Creative details are few and sketchy. As first reported by TVLine.com, the project is described as “a crime series set in a heightened reality, à la Pulp Fiction.” The title could be telling of… something. In the same way Fringe allowed Abrams and his collaborators to venture into the sci-fi genre and play with far-out, bleeding edge, or, yes, “fringe” science ideas, Pulp sounds like an attempt to push into one of TV’s most popular genres — the crime-time procedural — but in a distinctive, fanciful way that allows the writers to play with anything and everything associated within the larger, very diverse “pulp” genre. Then again, maybe the show’s all about the seedy side of the orange juice business. We shall see. Or not! The project doesn’t yet have a home; Abrams & Co. are just now pitching networks.
Interestingly, Fringe did a memorable episode last season that was downright pulpy, “Brown Betty,” a clever homage to film noir conventions, though Breen and Schapker (also veterans of Abrams’ Alias) didn’t write it. But they are the credited scribes on two of Fringe’s best episodes this current season: “The Plateau,” the one about the drug-enhanced kinda psychotic autistic savant who kills people by brainstorming and instigating statistically improbable Rube Golderbergian cause-and-effect scenarios, and “Marionette,” the Frankensteinian freak show about the guy who rebuilds his dead true love, a ballerina, by re-harvesting her donated organs from the living and manipulating her body to dance with a puppeteering rig. What that last sentence portends for Pulp remains to be seen. We just know we enjoyed writing it.
For the record, Bad Robot’s current slate of in-the-works TV projects includes: Alcatraz, a mystery-drama inspired by the fabled prison for Fox from Lost producer Elizabeth Sarnoff, with a cast that includes Sam Neill and Jorge Garcia; a comedic drama for NBC that reteams Lost Emmy winners Terry O’Quinn and Michael Emerson that may or may not be about ex-spies which may or may not be called Odd Jobs; and an untitled crime thriller for CBS concocted by screenwriter Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan’s brother.