Is it Retro-Month, and I just didn’t get the memo?! First there was the A-Team remake, then this morning we got the news that a new MacGyver series is in the works, and now comes the report from Deadline that Fox is developing a TV series adaptation of fan favourite action movie franchise Lethal Weapon! I may just be getting too old for this shit!
The Richard Donner (Superman, Goonies) directed franchise was kickstarted in 1987 by the first Shane Black (Iron Man 3, The Last Boy Scout) scripted hit action buddy cop flick which saw Mel Gibson as unstable and suicidal ex-US Army Special Forces turned narcotics cop Martin Riggs who gets partnered up with Danny Glover’s just-turned-50, close to retirement homicide detective and family man Roger Murtaugh, when the pair end up working different sides of the same investigation involving the suicide of one of Murtaugh’s old friends’ daughter. The duo could not be more different and Riggs’ volatility – he has a violent psychotic break at work after the recent death of his wife in a car accident – leads to lots of tension between the two, but eventually they would learn to work together. That chemistry-filled relationship would grow to become the cornerstone of three more hit sequels with the last film having been released in 1998.
Even though the latter films were not received quite as favourably by the critics as the original, they were definitely still hits, with the franchise generating a combined box office take of $953 million off a combined budget of just $175 million. So naturally there’s been talk of a fifth film ever since the last wrapped but nothing has come of it – including a failed 2011 movie reboot that was scripted by Will Beall (Gangsterland).
This new TV series is said to be a “relatively straight remake featuring the movies’ central characters”, but has tweaked the premise slightly. This new version kicks off “when Texas cop and former Navy SEAL Martin Riggs moves to Los Angeles to start anew after the loss of his wife and baby. There, he gets partnered with LAPD Detective Roger Murtaugh, who, having recently suffered a “minor” heart attack, must avoid any stress in his life.”
Former Chuck executive producer Matt Miller, who was also the man behind cancelled fantasy-drama series Forever with Ioan Gruffudd, will pen this new Lethal Weapon series. He will be reuniting with Forever executive producer Dan Lin, whose Warner Bros-based Lin Pictures is producing the series with WBTV. There’s been no word yet on casting the new Riggs and Murtaugh or how far along in the development process this is, but Fox has apparently already made a pilot commitment.
Lethal Weapon is the latest in a recent flurry of movie franchises that have been migrated to the small screen, such as Rush Hour (whose original movie was greatly influenced by Lethal Weapon), Limitless, Taken, Behind Enemy Lines, Jack Ryan and Training Day. Thus far Limitless is the only one that has actually made it to the screen thus far and based on the recently debuting show’s ratings it will probably stick around for a while. Whether Lethal Weapon can pull off the same feat is different question all together, as recreating the magic of Gibson and Glover is going to require some seriously careful casting.
What do you guys think? Is there potential for a TV series here or should they rather just leave it alone? What do you think of this recent spate of other TV series adaptations? Sound off below!
Last Updated: October 5, 2015