The works of Stephen King are coming to television in at least three definite projects: The Mist on Spike, Castle Rock on Hulu, and beginning August 9, 2017, the Mr. Mercedes TV series on AT&T’s Audience Network. All three of these projects have great potential in the right hands.
“In the right hands” is a phrase I’m using quite often lately. It stems from a realization that regardless of what form of media we’re talking about, whether it be film, television, book, podcast, etc., whether the output is good is heavily dependent upon who is putting it out.
Unlike large portions of King’s earlier career, he and whoever is surrounding him professionally, are doing a far better job of getting projects for the screen into the right hands.
Mr. Mercedes begins in the hands of Stephen King, the author of The Bill Hodges Trilogy of novels (Mr. Mercedes, Finders Keepers, and End of Watch). Those novels were average to great, depending upon who you ask (some King fans even hated them).
Regardless of how you felt about these novels, I think there is a general recognition that they could be turned into a terrific television series. There is great potential here.
David Kelley has spent much of his career in television as a writer, producer and creator of various television series. His output has been impressive, and is neither entirely in or out of tune with the Mr. Mercedes TV series.
Kelley started his career writing 60 episodes of L.A. Law in the ’80s. He went on to have creator credits for the TV series Doogie Howser, M.D., Picket Fences, Snoops, Chicago Hope, Ally McBeal, Girls Club, The Practice, Boston Public, The Wedding Bells, Boston Legal, Harry’s Law, Monday Mornings, The Crazy Ones, Goliath, Big Little Lies, and now Mr. Mercedes.
Although Kelley is the creator of the Mr. Mercedes series, he is only credited with writing the pilot episode which will air August 9. The remaining writing credits for the rest of the episodes all are currently listed as the work of Stephen King himself.
Directing is left in the equally capable hands of Jack Bender. His television work has included Lost, Under the Dome, Game of Thrones, and The Sopranos.
As to the cast, Bill Hodges will be played by Brendan Gleeson, who has had a whole lot of character acting work in films like Braveheart, Gangs of New York, and Edge of Tomorrow.
Mary-Louise Parker, known most prominently for Weeds, will play his love interest, Janey Patterson.
Harry Treadaway, an English actor who appeared in Penny Dreadful, will play the villain Brady Hartsfield.
Kelly Lynch, who was popular in movies like Road House, Drugstore Cowboy, and Cocktail in the ’80s, will play Brady’s mother, Deborah Hartsfield.
Jharrel Jerome, who was in the 2016 Best Picture winner Moonlight, will play Jerome Robinson (and will hopefully leave out the old timey accent).
Justine Lupe, who appeared in the 2012 films Frances Ha and Not Fade Away, will play Holly Gibney.
All in all, the Mr. Mercedes TV series looks like it has a lot of potential.
That leaves the matter of AT&T’s Audience Network – what is that, you might be asking. To my surprise, I found that the Audience Network goes back to 1999. I don’t remember ever hearing about it. It was originally exclusive to DirecTV, but it is now also on AT&T U-verse. So if you have either DirecTV or U-verse, you’re in luck. It is also on the streaming service DirecTV Now.
If you have none of these things, my guess is that if you are patient, you’ll be able to see it on a variety of streaming platforms or on DVD or BluRay, but no announcement has been made on that just yet.
Again, the Mr. Mercedes TV series begins on August 9, 2017 on the Audience network.