Fox released some mouth watering, fanboy bonerising news this morning outlining the details of their new channels, FXX and FXM. Via our buddies at http://www.wired.com here are the key points and our reactions:
1. Fox is going Cinemax?
Firstly, the name. FXX? That’s a shitty, shitty name. The reason for launching this splinter channel is to try and win a younger audience in the 18-24 year demographic. But I don’t want to think how much money some Media Consultancy got paid to sit around drinking $20 lattes to eventually go “well…..what about another X? That’s edgy, right? Kids like the letter X………..right?” Did no one at Fox say, “Uh, yeah, you know this isn’t a softcore porn channel”.
2. That’s the strongest talent pool of any channel I have seen in a while
There are a lot of channels out there that have had high level Hollywood writers, directors and producers working on shows at various times. As far as I can remember (and I am a little tired so this may be poor memory as opposed to fact) no channel, even HBO, has been able to boast the strength in depth all at one time that FXX and FXM can. In no particular order they have announced projects from:
- Sam Mendes – British darling of the theatre and Hollywood darling of the screen. Was always known for layered, emotional portrayals of family dynamics, but showed he can do action with the best Bond of all Skyfall. He will be directing/producing mini-series Grand Hotel on FXM.
- Joel and Ethan Coen – Probably the best indie/mainstream crossover directors. During an impressive career have managed to produce/write/direct an impressive resume of cult movies including The Big Lebowski, O Brother Where Art Thou and Fargo. They will be adapting the latter into a mini-series for FXM. No word on whether Frances McDormand will reprise her iconic role as Marge Gunderson, but given she is married to Joel Coen it is probably likely.
- Guillermo Del Toro – Master of fantasy horror and big budget blockbusters (check out the size, scope and cost of upcoming Pacific Rim), he is the go to guy in Hollywood for creepy chillers. Slated to produce and showrun The Strain on FXX, which is based on his own series of vampire. Hopefully will be the show True Blood should have been.
- Charlie Kauffman – Hollywood oddball and king of surreal neurosis. Wrote the brilliant Being John Malkovich and then followed up with Adaptation, a film about him trying to write a film he can’t write so he writes a film about him trying to write the film he can’t write. Or something. With twice the Nick Cage. Also wrote Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which is a film that divides opinion at Shoving Buddies like no other. He is developing a series called How and Why. Although no details on plot, guaranteed to be a melon scratcher.
- Shawn Ryan – The man behind the all time favourite TV show at Shoving Buddies, The Shield, and gritty military drama The Unit. No idea what he is involved in but guaranteed it will be grittier than a gravel pit.
3. It automatically has the strongest comedy line-up on TV
It’s difficult to launch a new channel on new content alone. With this in mind they are migrating three of their biggest comedy shows across; It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia (#1 all time comedy show at Shoving Buddies), The League (probably in the top 5 of that same list) and Legit. (which I have not seen in full, but looks pretty funny from the snippets I have seen).
Time will tell as to how all this pans out. Just because things are in development, doesn’t always mean they’ll make it to the screen. And big talent has been attached to less than successful TV shows before. Look at Steven Spielberg’s Taken, which only ran for one series. But at this point that is a pretty strong start. Between this, HBO, Showtime, AMC and Netflix Original these are exciting times for television like never before.