Like the spider spinning his web for the unwary fly, Neil LaBute has talked someone at Syfy into letting him executive produce and write a drama about a vampire hunter. According to The Hollywood Reporter, LaBute is heading up production on Van Helsing, a new sci-fi series that will follow Abraham Van Helsing’s daughter and vampire-slaying successor.
The series will find Vanessa Helsing (Dutch prepositions are so 19th century) resurrected in a vampire-ridden future, like some kind of garlic-toting John Spartan. She has a unique power over vampires which, since she’s billed as “humanity’s last hope to lead an offensive to take back what has been lost,” is probably not just a euphemism for a tricked-out crossbow. The series is set “five years in the future,” although it’s unclear if that means the action takes place in 1902 (five years after the events in Bram Stoker’s novel) or in 2020, which is when we assume Donald Trump will either be mounting another unsuccessful presidential campaign or running for reelection. If it’s the latter, then Syfy should just throw the phrase “post-apocalyptic world” into the promotional materials.
Van Helsing already has a 13-episode order from Syfy, with production set to begin in January. No casting announcements have been made yet, but LaBute will co-produce along with Simon Barry (Continuum) and Chad Oakes (Fargo season one). The Wicker Man director told THR he’s looking forward to creating “a unique, character-driven action series that will move the traditional vampire tropes into bold and unexpected new territories,” which could mean his vampires will take the form of a bee swarm instead of bats. Of course, the female-led series would probably be best served by LaBute breaking with his trademark (cinematic) misogyny, but that might push the show away from sci-fi and into the fantasy genre.