Screen: The Nexus Institute

Margaret Atwood's MaddAddam Is Coming To TV!

May this be the first of many TV adaptations for this undisputed Dealmaker.

Here's your amazingly great news of the day: the MaddAddam trilogy of novels -- Oryx & Crake, The Year Of The Flood, and MaddAddam -- are getting turned into a miniseries for HBO. Yay! Behind the adaptation is Darren Aronofsky. ...Huh! Okay, if this were pertaining to the literary work of just about any other writer, I would feel kind of eh about it, particularly in a post-Noah environment. But it's Margaret Atwood, so I'm jumping on board with both feet. My girl is a Dealmaker.

For such a prolific writer, Atwood has seldom had her work adapted for any kind of screen: Surfacing was a feature film in 1981, The Handmaid's Tale in 1990, and The Robber Bride was made into a TV movie (with Mary-Louise Parker as the villain!) in 2007. But if this works out (and, honestly, it's HBO, so how can't it), maybe TV producers will see the cinematic potential in the rest of her oeuvre -- particularly my two favourites, Lady Oracle ('70s gothic!) and Cat's Eye (a girls-being-horrible-to-each-other that's not just my favourite book of Atwood's but my favourite book, period).

Sidebar: for all the shit I give Aronofsky -- Pi is unwatchable; I'd rather die in a flood than watch Noah; the only thing worse than his dumb moustache are his dumb scarves -- he's got Oscar cred and clout up the butt. As much as I'd love, say, Neill Blomkamp to have taken on this material, Aronofsky does have experience with ambitious sci-fi -- even Noah kind of qualifies -- so he's not the world's worst choice for the text.

What's the text about? I'm so glad you asked. The trilogy tells the story of the few people left in a major North American city following the Waterless Flood, a mass extinction due to a human-engineered disease (not that things were going so hot, environmentally speaking, even before that). Though I imagine the series will integrate their plotlines, the first two books each follow a different character (Jimmy in the first; Ren in the second) who have some key interaction in their early lives; the third book picks up with both of them, and a number of other survivors, after they reconnect. "But Tara, that all sounds apocalyptic! Aren't you fucking terrified of the apocalypse?" YES. That's how much of a dealmaker Atwood is for me: I will even read books that basically lay out the terrifyingly awful position the human race is going to be in about fifty years, if she wrote them. (And just white-knuckle it through them, hoping I'll be long dead by then.)

Anyway: Atwood is an actual genius; this material is made to be explored in a sprawling, expensive miniseries format; and I literally couldn't be happier. And if she's pleased with how it comes out and warms to the TV medium, maybe she can fulfill another of my dreams for her: writing a season of Black Mirror.


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