When The Truman Show was released in 1998 it was hardly the first time we’d seen the concept, in which a man discovers that his entire life is a television show designed to entertain the masses. Similar concepts had been explored in various sci-fi stories, but Peter Weir’s film starring Jim Carrey added a particular spin that made The Truman Show feel whole and very much its own thing. (The location, a Florida town called Seaside, helped. And Seaside still looks like that.)
Now there might be a Truman Show TV series, as Paramount seeks to exploit properties in new media.
Paramount TV will develop and produce shows for all mediums – broadcast, cable, premium cable and online. Though it has not entered production on any shows, it is developing a drama series inspired by Caleb Carr’s novel “The Alienist,” a limited series based on A. Scott Berg’s biography of Charles Lindbergh, as well as series inspired by “Terminator” and “The Truman Show.”
We knew about the upcoming Terminator show, but the Truman Show info is something new.
In 1998, the reality-TV boom was only just beginning, spurred by stuff like The Real World on MTV. The Truman Show concept was unusual enough. Now, the concept doesn’t seem nearly as outlandish as it was almost 20 years ago. And when the whole point of the film is that the primary character gradually discovers the reality of his own existence, how would that be written for a TV show? When the audience knows from the start that it is all “fake,” it will take either some dextrous writing or a redesigned concept to draw the story out into even limited series form.
That said, there’s still an good core idea in The Truman Show‘s metaphor of spiritual discovery and journey towards enlightenment as envisioned through the slightly sci-fi construct of a man unknowingly raised in a TV series. There’s rich material there, and if Paramount deviates far enough from the film, there could be a good show to explore.