So, having now written this post in full, I feel I need to warn you about how it’s going to go. It’s going to start with a bit of a rant, before moving on to some more positive thoughts, and then ending on a note of caution. That said, let’s start with the negativity…
I’m not a fan of the current incarnation of White Wolf as it exists (or doesn’t? One loses track…) under the stewardship of Paradox Interactive. The short history of this latest version of the venerable brand has experienced unforced error after unforced error. They did put out a pretty good 5th edition of Vampire: The Masquerade, but got rid of all the older art in favour of raiding a Scandinavian bondage catalogue. It’s a pity, because there are people putting out good World of Darkness material. Onyx Path spring immediately to mind.
This distaste for the corpse that wears White Wolf’s clothing is perhaps why I was a little cynical when I first saw the announcement that the World of Darkness was making its way to film and TV. I just don’t trust White Wolf, or Paradox, to make the sensible decisions.
Actually, now might be a fun time to remind ourselves of the last attempt at bringing the World of Darkness to the small screen? I speak, of course, of the mid-90s show, Kindred: The Embraced:
To be fair to Paradox, they share no blame for that show. This was well before their time.
Ok, I’m done with the negativity, so let’s go take a look at the good news from this announcement.
As much as I say I wouldn’t trust the judgement of White Wolf/Paradox, the people who have been announced as being involved in the property are actually potentially pretty interesting, as is the interest that has been shown in developing a shared universe based on multiple projects. Let’s take a look at some of the names, eh?
- Eric Heisserer – writer of 2016’s Arrival and showrunner for Netflix’s Shadow and Bone.
- Christine Boylan – producer of shows like The Punisher, Castle, and Constantine.
- Hivemind – production company behind The Witcher and my beloved The Expanse.
That’s actually not a bad pedigree there, if this bears out. There’s some quality entertainment that these people have been responsible for. With shows like The Witcher, The Expanse, and Shadows and Bone, we’ve also seen a talent for adaptations at play. Not only are they well produced, but they are adaptations that have shown a healthy respect for the source material.
So, this could be good. The could be good. This could be very good.
Let’s talk caution.
Many books, games, and other media are optioned for development every year and, even if they do get initially announced, end up going nowhere Look at the eternal vaporware of any series based on Scalzi’s Old Man’s War or Redshirts for example. Something can be optioned, but until it lands in active development, that doesn’t mean all that much.
I really want to believe that the World of Darkness gets the treatment that it deserves. I want to believe that promise of a share universe. I love the idea of a Vampire show of film, but I’m actually much, much more excited about the prospect of Mage being developed. Now, THAT appeals to me. Here’s hoping!
You can view the announcement over on The Hollywood Reporter.