Seth MacFarlane may be best known for wacky comedy and talking, anthropomorphic animals, but for his next project he’s getting serious. MacFarlane signed a $200 million overall deal with NBCUniversal earlier this year, and his first series under that deal will be an epic war drama based on a series of historical novels.
The show is titled The Winds Of War, based on Pulitzer Prize-winning author Herman Wouk‘s World War II novels The Winds Of War and War And Remembrance. It’s being designed as a limited series for Universal Content Productions, who intend to shop the project to cable, network, and streaming platforms.
MacFarlane will co-write and executive produce the show alongside Seth Fisher (The Alienist). The story revolves around a fictional Navy Commander named Victor “Pug” Henry and his family through the events of WWII, with Pug himself personally interacting with real-life figures like Franklin D. Roosevelt and Adolf Hitler.
“I can’t think of a more exciting project with which to launch my creative partnership with UCP than Herman Wouk‘s The Winds Of War“, MacFarlane said in a statement. “I’ve been a devoted fan of Wouk’s WWII epic for decades, and its depiction of small-scale human endurance in the face of large-scale global upheaval has never been more relevant than it is today”.
The Winds Of War has actually been adapted once before, with plenty of success. ABC developed it into a 15-hour epic mini-series back in 1983, with Robert Mitchum as the lead. The show was nominated for 11 Emmys and was the most-watched mini-series ever made at the time. While it hasn’t exactly remained in the pop culture consciousness, that’s still some pretty big shoes for MacFarlane to fill.
And it will be interesting to see how he fares. Obviously this is a lot different to something like Family Guy and American Dad!, but MacFarlane has dipped his toe in drama on shows like The Orville. But this will be his first out-and-out serious project and it will be fascinating to see how he adapts his writing for a war-based drama.