TNT's 'Will,' a Bonkers New Punk Rock Shakespeare Drama, Looks Totally Dope

Sad that 'True Blood' and 'Hannibal' are off the air? Need your edgy TV fix? Shakespeare has you covered.


You like your shows edgy, batshit crazy, and ball-gagged with debauchery? Find yourself disappointed that Vinyl is filled with same-old coke snorting, True Detective managed to make an orgy dull, and Black Sails has gotten too legit for its former diet of naked resurrection murders? Well then, we’ve got good news for you: A pilot for a new show looks ready to fulfill your desire and then some. Oh, and it’s about Shakespeare.

Behold the show’s description, courtesy of Deadline:

“It tells the wild story of young William Shakespeare’s (Laurie Davidson) arrival onto the punk rock theater scene that was 16th century London — the seductive, violent world where his raw talent faced rioting audiences, religious fanatics and raucous side-shows. It’s … the hot, contemporary, dangerous version of Shakespeare’s life, played to a modern soundtrack, exposing all his recklessness, lustful temptations and brilliance.”

The pilot will be directed by Shekhar Kapur (of Elizabeth) and will star Colm Meaney and Mattias Inwood. HBO passed on it, but this is one that TNT should pick up and launch into a full series. Taking Deadline at its word, the description is a playground of lunacy. We have so many questions now! Let’s unpack ’em.

“16th century punk rock theater scene”

Obviously, they’re playing fast and loose with timelines, but that in no way means we don’t have 100 questions: How did a punk rock theater scene spring up in the the 16th century? Is the aesthetic frilly collars and man-tights mixed with facial piercings and black lipstick? Do they have lutes or modern guitars? If it’s a modern guitar, does it shoot flames à la Fury Road? What role does Shakespeare play? Is he onstage singing “The Lady Doth Too Drunk to Fuck?” while strumming his flame-shooting guitar? Or is he dreamily scribbling Hamlet on his Moleskine in the corner while absent-mindedly headbanging ever so slightly?

“Seductive and violent”

Is Shakespeare doing the violent seduction or being violently seduced? And just how seductive and violent can a show possibly get on TNT? This is the network that brings us Saving Grace and The Librarians — which are two perfectly fine shows, but neither features True Blood style head-spinning backward sex or even Penny Dreadful style vaguely murderous demon possession sex, which is what this phrasing seems to call for.

“Raw talent” facing “rioting audience.”

Does this mean Shakespeare is, in fact, performing “The Lady Doth Too Drunk to Fuck” in front of screaming crowds after snorting some blow off the Dark Lady’s tits backstage? Or, plot twist, maybe the mysterious Dark Lady from his sonnets has been an obscure 16th-century drug reference this whole time.

“Will thee come blaze some Mary Jane?” Shakespeare’s buddy will say, to which he’ll reply, “Fie! You think me tame as a maiden? Dark Lady or GTFO.”

Shakespeare's real desk.


“Hot, contemporary, dangerous”

This is pretty much repeating the earlier “seductive and violent” sentiments, which means that this show will be so violently dangerously seductively hot, one can only assume anyone watching it will spontaneously ejaculate Shakespearean sonnets while shrieking ecstatically in iambic pentameter.

All this show needs now is Keanu Reeves to do some Much Ado About Nothing nostalgia and guest star. It’s safe to say we’re officially anticipating this show more than Game of Thrones, the next Star Wars movie, and John Wick: Chapter 2 combined.