WGN America—home to Outsiders and the slavery drama Underground—has been beefing up its original programming lineup. As we previously reported, the network once only good for reruns recently ordered the sci-fi pilot Roadside Picnic. Written by Jack Paglen (Alien: Covenant), Roadside Picnic is not a jaunty tale about people eating sandwiches on the side of the road, but rather the first television adaptation of the popular sci-fi novel of the same name. The story takes place in the near future, during a time when aliens have come and gone, leaving humans to pick up the pieces and deal with the aftermath. The novel, written by Russian authors Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, was published in 1972 and was adapted for film in Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker in 1979. Now, according to Deadline, Matthew Goode has been tapped to star in the upcoming series.
Goode will play Red, a seasoned “stalker.” No, he doesn’t follow people like a creep or have anything to do with any Kevin Williamson show. In the post-alien-visitation world of Roadside Picnic, stalkers are scavengers who risk their lives to illegally go into the “Zone”—the area once inhabited by aliens—to steal extraterrestrial artifacts to sell on the black market. (Alien culture is quite profitable, apparently.) Red has recently been released from prison, but his problems are only just beginning. According to Deadline, Red is an “enigmatic, blue-collar contradiction” who is both intelligent and ruthless. He and his wife Guta have a daughter named Marie who is shunned because she is a “child of the Zone,” which people are super not chill with. The roles of Marie and Guta have not been cast yet, but Alan Taylor (Game Of Thrones) is attached to direct.
Matthew Goode recently starred in the fifth and sixth seasons of The Good Wife, before being exiled to wherever so many people who have played opposite Julianna Margulies eventually disappear to once she’s done with them. He also played Henry Talbot on Downton Abbey, and more recently appeared in the Roots remake.