Prior to the launch announcement, it was confirmed that JJ Abram’s production company Bad Robot, which signed a large exclusivity deal with Warner Bros. Entertainment in September last year, will be creating new shows for the service.
The shows include a The Shining prequel series called The Overlook – the name of the hotel in Stephen King’s infamous novel – and has been imagined as a sort of anthology series. Presumably, this means that the episodes will explore a ghastly occurrence in the hotel that produced the ghostly demons that would go on to hold their occupancy there.
An anthology-esque series with such a recognisable IP seems like a very savvy business move, with the low commitment time of a single episode having the potential to lure in big name actors and directors to guest. At the very least, a prequel series should fair better than the ill-fated Dick Halloran prequel film, which (I assume due to this announcement) has been cancelled after the box office disappointment of Doctor Sleep (2019).
Additionally, it was announced that HBO Max will be developing a series focused on the characters from DC Comics’ Justice League Dark. The property, like the proposed The Shining spin-offs, have been in development at Warner Bros. film division for quite some time. In fact, a Justice League Dark film was conceived soon after the team’s debut in 2011, and has had notable directors attached, such as Guillermo Del Toro and Doug Liman.
Justice League Dark, which operates as a supernatural counterpart to the regular Justice League, has always had a more niche, but consistent audience. This would make it a great property for the lower risk world of television, while also giving it the generous HBO production treatment to do the comic justic
With Duster set in the 70s and The Overlook set in the early 20th century, HBO Max will carry a nice menagerie of period aesthetics
As well as adaptation material, Bad Robot Productions will also oversee an original property by the name of Duster. The new series is said to be a crime thriller about a getaway driver within a growing crime syndicate. Certainly, a bit different from the other horror orientated show, but should add a nice amount of variety to the service. With Duster being set in the 70s, in addition to The Overlook being set in the early 20th Century, HBO Max will carry a nice menagerie of period aesthetics.
The news has definitely piqued my interest, giving new hope to properties that weren’t able to make the cut on the silver screen, as deserving as they were (looking at you Birds of Prey). There has been no word yet when HBO Max will launch in the United Kingdom and Ireland, but it may be some time yet if Disney Plus’ lengthy delay is any indicator.