Wednesday, 15 May 2013


Wednesday, 15 May 2013
Film-maker Robert Rodriguez (Desperado, Sin City) is launching his own television network later this year: the El Ray Network. It will be English-language, but target Latino audiences as a "home of kick-ass entertainment", according to Rodriguez himself. Spanish-language channel Univision will be handling the sales and distribution of the El Ray Network.

Anyway, the more interesting news is that Rodriguez already has two scripted dramas poised to launch his network: an action-adventure show by Alex Kurtzman and Robert Orci (Fringe, Star Trek), and a TV version of 1996 crime horror From Dusk Till Dawn (which Rodriguez directed from an early Quentin Tarantino script and Robert Kurtzman story).

From Dusk Till Dawn was a movie I don't mind admitting had me under its spell back when I was a teenage boy. I must have watched the climactic vampire attack in the Titty Twister brothel so many times it became unhealthy, and could recite most of the film from memory. In some ways it was my last big movie obsession, in terms of the number of times I've sat down to re-watch something. I still think it has some terrific scenes/dialogue, glorious so-bad-they're-good moments ("I love you too, Seth"), memorable side characters (whip-wielding Sex Machine, Vietnam veteran trucker Frost) and a very memorable "twist" (when the tone goes from indie-style crime drama to schlock horror mayhem and carnage).

As a fan I should be excited by the idea of a TV version, right? Well, not really, although I have an interest. I just don't have much confidence in this being a worthwhile endeavour; partly because it won't feature any of the original cast (beyond a probable Danny Trejo appearance), but also because the idea doesn't feel suited to long form storytelling.

I am glad Rodriguez is sticking to the original concept and using the same characters, ignoring the two horrendous direct-to-video sequels, but how will a TV version work exactly? Will it follow the adventures of the Gecko brothers (Tarantino and George Clooney in the movie) as they try to abscond to New Mexico with a preacher and his two children they've kidnapped, eventually chased by vampires? Is that a strong enough idea for a TV show? The idea is to "explore and expand on the characters and story from the original film, providing a wider scope and richer Aztec mythology", but is that achievable?

In terms of films that would make great TV shows, From Dusk Till Dawn appears very far down my list.