Get ready for spooky shenanigans and more theories about Indian burial grounds. HBO Max has reportedly ordered Overlook, a spinoff series to The Shining that will focus on the haunted hotel. Warner Bros. Television Group and J.J. Abrams‘ and co-CEO/his wife Katie McGrath‘s Bad Robot will develop the series.
The series is being described as a horror-thriller inspired by and featuring characters from Stephen King‘s masterpiece. The show seeks to explore the untold, terrifying stories of the most famous haunted hotel in American fiction.
The project reunites Bad Robot, WBTV and King, who all previously collaborated on another of his adaptations with Castle Rock at Hulu. Warner Bros. had previously been developing an Overlook movie with Mark Romanek directing, but that has obviously fallen by the wayside.
So, what to make of this? Films and shows adapted from (or in this case, inspired by) King are a dime-a-dozen now, so there’s no guarantee of the quality. But it seems unlikely that HBO would let Overlook become some cheap Shining knock-off, even if a series exploring the Overlook is probably unnecessary.
It will also be interesting to see whether this retains a typical cast or takes more of an anthology approach and tells creepy stories related to the hotel in different episodes – kind of like a Shining Twilight Zone – or whether it will just be your usual season-long story.
Overlook is one of Bad Robot’s first shows for HBO Max since Abrams signed a big deal with WarnerMedia last year. HBO Max has also ordered Duster from the company, which Abrams will co-write alongside The Walking Dead writer LaToya Morgan. The series is set in the southwest in the 1970s and follows a gutsy getaway driver for a growing crime syndicate whose life goes from bad to worse.
On top of that, Abrams’ Justice League Dark is also heading to the insurgent streaming platform. Bad Robot was in negotiations to produce both TV shows and films based on the Justice League Dark comics, and an hourlong drama series will also be heading to HBO Max.
Not much else is known about the project at this time. Justice League Dark is exactly what its title implies – a darker version of the well known superhero team. We’re talking John Constantine, Swamp Thing, Madame Xanadu, and even Frankenstein’s monster.
“What an amazing start to our association with the wildly imaginative Bad Robot team under J.J. and Katie”, said Kevin Reilly, chief content officer at HBO Max. “What could be better than an original J.J. idea and then Warner Bros. letting them loose on iconic I.P. from Stephen King and the DC Universe”.
It’s no surprise that HBO Max is leaning on existing IP like its other streaming competitors; for better or worse, that’s the way to build a subscriber base. Disney+ flourished because of the built-in Disney content on the platform. In comparison, Apple TV+ posted poor numbers despite a lower price because they had a batch of original shows no one was particularly familiar with.
That’s the lay of the land in both TV and film now. HBO Max seems to have a good base for when it launches in May. Of course, all these announced shows will not be ready to go by then, so we’ll see what the numbers are. But the platform should be in good enough shape to survive.