The Jim Henson Company and Neil Gaiman Have Teamed Up To Reboot The 80s Anthology Series THE STORYTELLER
Do you remember Jim Henson’s 80s fantasy anthology series The Storyteller? Well, if you do, you’ll be happy to learn that The Jim Henson Company has teamed up with author Neil Gaiman to develop a reimagined version of the show!
The original series was inspired by Jim Henson’s daughter Lisa’s university studies in folklore and mythology. It told the stories of various European folk tales, “with a mysterious elfin storyteller (John Hurt). The world of The Storyteller was inhabited by various mystical and magical characters – heartless giants, enchanted beggars, white lions and human hedgehogs – exploring themes such as fear, desire, death and destiny, and challenging notions about good and evil.”
Henson directed several episodes and it featured creatures that were created by his legendary Creature Shop.
According to Deadline, the new incarnation will be written and executive produced by Gaiman, and it will “create a mystical world combining various fairy tales and folklore.” Gaiman also explained that it will be updated to work “for the binging kind” of viewer of today. He went on to add:
“Part of what fascinates me about The Storyteller is the stuff that we don’t know. Who was the Storyteller, why was he telling these stories, was he a goblin, what kind of creature? What I’d love to do is an inside story that’s as long as the outside story. We’re going to find out a lot about who the storyteller is, we’re going to find out things we don’t even know that we don’t know. We’re going to begin in a Northern kingdom where stories are forbidden and where the act of telling a story is liable and can get you imprisoned or executed. If you put a storyteller into that situation, things would need to start getting interactive.”
I’m completely on board with this! The fact that Gaiman is developing the series and The Jim Henson Company will be producing it with their effects shop is exciting! He went on to talk about his love of the original series, saying:
“The original Storyteller was a brilliantly written, directed and told set of stories. It’s a terrifying and inspiring task to reinvent what Jim Henson did for the golden age of television we are in right now, and I’m honored that The Jim Henson Company would entrust me with the task of bringing back the storyteller and his magical stories, and sending him out into the world for a whole new round of tales.”
Lisa Henson is obviously excited about the project as well and she went on to say:
“The Storyteller has always been a special project for me, having worked so closely with my dad on the original concept. Neil Gaiman is an expert in traditional folklore and mythology, in addition to himself being the modern ‘storyteller’ for our times. I feel like if Neil were an actor, he’d have to play (the Storyteller) because he embodies what the storyteller is, a skillful wordsmith who can entertain people with the power of the story itself, and not to mention he also memorizes it all in his head.”
There’s no word on what kind of stories and fairytales they will bring to the series, but Gaiman teased:
“We have our eye on lots of them and one of the things that was brilliant (about The Storyteller) was, they would take little known versions of well-known fairytales because every story comes in various different versions, and I think that’s definitely something that I would love to keep going.”
Henson added, “it gives the story the feeling of familiarity, but it’s also very different.” They would also like to bring some of the actors back from the original series to be a part of this new production for The Storyteller. They would have loved to bring John Hurt back, but unfortunately he passed away.
As you might imagine, they are looking to hire and work with talented directors who “can do the most innovative work with puppetry technologies to marry it up in that truly innovative modern way with word crafting.” I’m sure they’ll have directors jumping at the chance to work on a show like this.
The Storyteller is also being produced by Fremantle and Dante Di Loreto; President of Scripted Entertainment from the company said:
“There is currently nothing like The Storyteller in the television landscape and the themes these stories will explore are even more critically important today. It’s a real joy to work with Lisa and The Henson company to bring their esteemed property back to television, and to be yet again partnering with Neil on another project that will further showcase his brilliant narrative power.”
I can’t wait to see what comes of this! Are you excited about The Storyteller being rebooted by this team of talent?