Sam Esmail, creator of Mr. Robot, is going to adapt Fritz Lang’s 1927 science-fiction classic Metropolis into a TV miniseries, with Universal Cable Productions.
This is really fascinating to me, for a number of reasons. First, the message of the film is still highly relevant today, and it will be interesting to see the story told in today’s cultural context. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the new series, “will take place in a future society where wealthy industrialists rule the vast city from high-rise tower complexes, while the lower class of underground-dwelling workers toil constantly to operate the machines that provide its power. Risking everything hey know, two star-crossed lovers from opposite sides of the divide must find a way to bring down the whole system.”
It sounds pretty similar to the original movie. For the most part, this is a good thing because, as noted, the message is still likely to resonate deeply with its audience. The timing, following the election in particular, is well suite for this kind of an adaptation.
On the other hand, some criticize the original film for providing simplistic answers to socio-political questions, and for its somewhat played out star-crossed lovers trope. Of course, it was 1927, so none of this was as old hat as it may seem to us now. Hopefully, Esmail will delve into the nuances of the questions raised in the series a bit more.
And I, for one, will be very interested to see if the miniseries manages to capture the tone of the original film. The movie was always a little terrifying for me, due both to its creepily art deco aesthetic, and to the fact that it is a silent film. The harsh, urban landscapes combined with a lack of sound or audible dialog make it feel almost like something out of a nightmare.
The miniseries has the potential to be something really intriguing, and I’m looking forward to it.