Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

HBO wants to splash in the deep-sea sci-fi of Michael Crichton's Sphere

Illustration for article titled HBO wants to splash in the deep-sea sci-fi of Michael Crichtons iSphere /i
Screenshot: Warner Bros.

Three years before he released Jurassic Park, Michael Crichton dropped what some—okay, me—think was his best novel: Sphere. The story of scientists sent to examine a mysterious spacecraft found at the bottom of the ocean, Sphere offers gnarly pulp, philosophical musings, and a compelling ensemble of beautiful dorks. It was previously adapted by Barry Levinson in 1998, but, despite an A-list cast that included Dustin Hoffman and Samuel L. Jackson, it never quite congealed. Now, the team behind Westworld is giving it another crack.

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The Hollywood Reporter reports that Westworld creators Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan are turning Sphere into an HBO series with Denise Thé, a Westworld writer who will serve as the series’ showrunner. Team Downey, the company behind HBO’s gritty take on Perry Mason, will also produce.

Westworld, lest we forget, is a radical reinvention of Critchton’s 1973 film, and, while we appreciate their desire to bring the late author’s work to a modern audience, we’re crossing our fingers that they don’t veer too far from the page on this one. Westworld, as we’ve chronicled in our reviews, has consistently failed to marry its big ideas with its characters and storytelling, and it’d be a shame to see Sphere’s tight narrative get lost in too much sprawl. (Some sprawl, obviously, is encouraged, especially if they give us a cool-looking giant squid.)

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Joy and Nolan are also busy developing content as part of their overall deal with Amazon, which includes adaptations of William Gibson’s The Peripheral and the Fallout games.

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.

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