As part of its ongoing efforts to show everyone that they read books, like that makes them sooo smart, HBO has begun developing a half-hour comedy series based on Karen Russell’s debut novel Swamplandia!, which got an absolutely glowing review in the Times, did you read it? No? Pity. Well, I’m sure you’ve been busy. Anyway, it’s the story of a failing alligator theme park in the Florida Everglades, split evenly between a tough 13-year-old girl’s search for her sister and the various indignities suffered by her pretentious, Harvard-aspiring brother in his life as a working man, with detours into ghost encounters and other glimpses of the paranormal that lend some of the “magical realism in the swamps” aura that’s worked out so well for True Blood (minus all the vampire screwing).
Shepherding Swamplandia! is producer Scott Rudin, who’s also currently prepping HBO’s adaptation of Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections—which, along with A Visit From The Goon Squad, is among the several in-development projects HBO has pulled from literati reading lists in recent months. And in addition to being excellently crafted stories that should prove to be rich resources for TV with real depth, they’ll also look nice arranged on the bedside table that is HBO’s schedule, for when company comes over.