Tag Archives: Sonar Entertainment

MTV and Sonar Developing TV Series Based on Shannara

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The international best-selling fantasy series, “Shannara,” is getting a small screen adaptation. The long-loved series written by Terry Brooks, has been optioned by MTV and Sonar Entertainment to create a television series. Jon Favreau will direct and executive produce and Al Gough and Miles Millar (“Smallville,” Spider-Man 2) will write and executive produce if the project goes to series. Terry Brooks and Dan Farah will also serve as executive producers.

The “Shannara” series is set in our world, thousands of years after the destruction of our civilization. The story is centered on the Shannara family, whose descendants are empowered with ancient magic and whose adventures continuously reshape the future of the world. Should the show go to series, producers plan to base the show’s first season on “The Elfstones of Shannara,” the second title in the series, a fan favorite which spent 16 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list and is accredited with cementing the series place in the fantasy world.

The books continue to be esteemed by fans and critics alike. They are estimated to be the highest-selling un-adapted fantasy book series in the world. Terry Brooks is considered to be the second highest-selling living fantasy author, after “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling. More than thirty years after the release of the first “Shannara” novel, Terry Brooks’ latest additions to the series continue to be international best sellers. Another three books are set to be published in 2014.

President of MTV Programming Susanne Daniels said

“I am thrilled to be working with the ‘Smallville’ creators Al and Miles again along with the amazingly talented Jon Favreau. We feel that the Shannara novels are a perfect fit for MTV as this type of fantasy genre has continuously proved to resonate with our audience.”

Sonar Entertainment CEO Stewart Till added,

“This collaboration with MTV, combined with the amazing creative talent attached to this project, including our existing relationship with Terry Brooks and Dan Farah of Farah Films, gives us tremendous confidence that we have a potential hit property with appeal to audiences worldwide. This deal also reflects Sonar’s emerging strategy to become a leading supplier of groundbreaking series programming.”

Author Brooks commented on the upcoming project saying,

“I believe we have formed the perfect team to bring ‘Shannara’ to life on-screen. The adaptation of these books is very important to me, and I believe we are on the right track in our endeavor to create an epic television series that both new and old fans of the books will love.”

Allan Quatermain the Inspiration for Indiana Jones is Set for TV

MIPTV has announced a new development deal.  If all things go according to plan, Allan Quatermain will grace television screens in a new 10 part series.  For those of you not familiar with adventures of Quatermain, he’s the 1880s literary character that inspired Indiana Jones; the creation of, not mentor.  The series is currently clocked at $30 million in order for this action-adventure to be produced in a team up between Sonar Entertainment and Ecosse Films.

When’s the last time you might have heard of this character?  Back in 2003 when Sean Connery played the crotchety, bearded adventurer in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

Created by H. Rider Haggard in 1885; on a bet; Allan Quatermain is the action hero of King Solomon’s Mines and the subsequent prequels and sequels.  Yeah, this was written on a bet between brothers, namely whether or not Haggard could write a novel half as good as Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, released in 1883.  What resulted was a book that became the year’s best seller.

In fact, due to the success of King Solomon’s Mines, a new genre of storytelling was created called the, “Lost World.”  This was the Twilight of its time, and soon writers were coming out of the woodwork with their own teeny romance equivalent.  Okay, maybe Jules Verne was responsible for the genre back in 1863 with Journey to the Center of the Earth, but Haggard must have had a better publicist.  The Lost World genre stuck and soon other books appeared which were compared to Haggard’s works.  Such works included Edgar Rice Burroughs’s The Land That Time Forgot, and Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World.

Haggard couldn’t stop there though.  Soon the sequels and prequels were cranked out.  Allan Quatermain would appear as the protagonist of stories ranging from his younger days at the age of 18, to his older and experienced years at 68.  50 years is a lot of grist for a television series to work with.  In fact, I’m pretty sure that they did the same with the Indiana Jones franchise.

The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles was a television series that went on from 1992 to 1993.  The official synopsis seems similar to what the Allan Quatermain storytelling went though.

“The now legendary, almost mythical character of Indiana Jones once had a childhood. Every episode starts out with the elderly man that he is in the 1990’s getting into a specific situation where he has to tell a story from his past. The stories go back to when he was ten years old and on a world tour with his father, and to his late-teens when he fought in World War I.”

This can only be explained through the magic of public domain stories and characters.  The only good thing that came from that show was a young Sean Patrick Flannery, who would grow up and kill criminals as a Boondock Saint.

Stewart Till, the CEO of Sonar Entertainment told The Hollywood Reporter, “It’s an incredible character from a range of best-selling books.  I read all the books as a child and it is something that many Brits have grown up with. It’s also the kind of high-concept adventure that broadcasters are looking for.”

Though no talent has signed on yet, Till says he has some actors in mind. “There are many British male actors in their early 30s who could play this rugged adventurer.” The only problem I see is how the world may perceive the story and it’s hero.  Who’s going to take the chance that they’ll be typecast as an imitation Indiana Jones?  Not that it’s true, but it’s all a matter of perception.

Till expects that scripts will be ready in the next few months, while the projected budget for each one hour episode is roughly $3 million dollars.  Already there are plans to shoot in Africa. “It is in exotic settings with lost tribes and treasures and African superstitions and big adventures, so its got everything,” said Till.