Despite the response to Gracepoint (Fox's remake of ITV's Broadchurch) being lukewarm, the same U.S network is pressing ahead with another adaptation of a British hit. BBC1's LUTHER has been given a pilot order, with creator Neil Cross involved with the script. Idris Elba (The Wire) won't be reprising his role as tough city cop John Luther, but he will executive-produce the new show. My thoughts below...
Foremost, why bother? Luther isn't particularly fresh and original as a concept. It was mainly unusual to see the UK making a very American-feeling TV series, and Elba's central performance was very compelling. It occasionally pushed boundaries in terms of tone and violence, but it was hardly above and beyond what's appeared on mainstream U.S TV over the years. It feels like Fox just can't help trying to repackage a brand for a homegrown audience; many of whom will have seen the original, and may perhaps give the U.S version a leg-up in the ratings.
Of course, it's wrong to condemn anything sight unseen. While the idea of adapting Luther doesn't get me excited in principle, the fact Neil Cross is involved is promising. (Although I said much the same thing with Chris Chibnall writing the Gracepoint pilot). They may also cast some actors who could be equally as enjoyable to watch in the roles, so keep your ears open for more news in the coming months.
Perhaps most importantly, does this mean plans for a feature-film have been abandoned? Well, no. Cross recently said he's "written the script and we hope to get the film made next year. It will follow [Luther's] career in the earlier days, when he is still married to Zoe, and the final scene in the film is the first of the initial TV series."
Even better, it seems there are plans for a one-off TV return, according to Elba: ""I think we're gonna probably do one more incarnation in TV. But not a season -- a one-off. There's a story idea but no script yet. But we're gunning to do it at the end of this year. There's a lot of pressure from everyone to make it, so we're gonna do it."
Looks like there's going to be plenty of Luther to come. Anyone want to throw some names out for casting the potential U.S Luther? How about Dennis Haysbert?