Terry Gilliam’s “12 Monkeys” remains one of the most celebrated cerebral sci-fi flicks to date. While by no means forgotten, Syfy is lending the narrative a new life as an original series, also titled “12 Monkeys.” The show debuts on Jan 16, but the first 9 minutes have just been released via Yahoo TV. It’s a fascinating, and revealing, snippet.
The teaser depicts protagonist James Cole (Aaron Stanford) searching the barren wasteland that is 2043, before flashing back to 2013 where we meet virologist Cassandra Railly (Amanda Schull). The introductory scenes appear much in the same manner as Gilliam’s 1995 film, though with notable differences. The dates have been changed in the Syfy series, no doubt to establish a contemporary setting. Railly was a psychiatrist in the film, whereas she’s a virologist in the TV series.
However the most obvious difference is the darker tone of the “12 Monkeys” series. The 1995 production assumed a darkly comedic tone with Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt at the helm. Syfy’s version presents a physically bleak world, complimented by Cole’s foreboding voiceover. Furthermore, trailers seem to suggest the Army of the 12 Monkeys will hold greater significance than in the film.
Despite clear differences, there are several similarities to Terry Gilliam’s original. Environmental shots portray recognizable scenes, clearly recalling specific scenes from the film. Additionally, the themes of time and memory remain strong. The “12 Monkeys” series should therefore be more successful as it’s inherently tied to the preceding movie, but diverges substantially. Avoiding comparison is impossible, thus radical alterations such as an onus on the Army of the 12 Monkeys and a serious tone help assert Syfy’s “12 Monkeys” as its own entity.
The much anticipated series drops on Jan 16, along with season two of Syfy’s successful series “Helix” on the same evening. Can’t wait for the premiere of “12 Monkeys,” or wish you could go back in time and prevent the show from being produced? Comment below or hit us up on Twitter!