Despite the Bible being an incredibly violent book, adaptations of Biblical stories are often neutered, in the hopes of reaching a Christian audience. There’s a reason Christians often use the term “family” as a euphemism for their pop culture interests (as in, “Focus on the Family”). For those who prefer their Bible-inspired stories just a tad weirder and more bloody — more Coen Brothers’ A Serious Man (a modern adaptation of the book of Job) than Noah — the Paradise Lost TV series now in development sounds pretty damn exciting.
First of all, Martin Freeman (Sherlock) is signed on to produce, and the VFX will be overseen by post-production studio Framestore of Harry Potter, Gravity and Guardians Of The Galaxy fame. Second, Freeman’s co-producer, Laurence Bowen had this to say about the show: “Paradise Lost is like a biblical Game of Thrones transporting the reader into an internecine world of political intrigue and incredible violence. At stake? The future of mankind.” That means the next large-scale fantasy drama has both intelligent storytellers and state of the art special effects behind it.
For those unfamiliar, John Milton’s Paradise Lost epic was so culturally transformative that its story following Satan as a fallen angel was actually folded into Christian lore. Many contemporary religious followers actually subscribe the story that Satan was a fallen angel, despite the fact that Milton wrote that story in the mid 1600s. Milton didn’t even begin his epic poem with the intention of writing Bible fan fiction — which is what Paradise Lost turned into. He wanted to write about the rise and fall of a Saxon King, and hoped his book would eventually join the ranks of Arthurian legends. He actually ended up humanizing and complicating the Christian devil in a game-changing way that still persists. Think of all the movies and TV shows you’ve seen which romanticize and sexualize Satan — every single one of those owes their conceit to Paradise Lost.
In addition to being excited in its goals, Paradise Lost offers up a career-defining role for a British actor in Satan, or Lucifer. There has been no announcement of possible casting, but this critic believes David Tennant would knock the role out of the park.
For now, Paradise Lost is in pre-production and has no official release date.