maniac cop tv series

Nicolas Winding Refn has been talking about a potential Maniac Cop remake for several years now, and while the idea was originally conceived as a movie, it has now evolved into something else: a TV show. HBO has given a green light to a Maniac Cop TV series from Refn and John Hyams. Like the sleazy 1988 cult classic that inspired it, the Maniac Cop series will follow a killer police officer stalking the streets.

Deadline has the news about the Maniac Cop TV series, and I am here for it. Here’s the synopsis:

Set in Los Angeles, Maniac Cop is told through a kaleidoscope of characters, from cop to common criminal. A killer in uniform has uncaged mayhem upon the streets. Paranoia leads to social disorder as a city wrestles with the mystery of the exterminator in blue – is he mere mortal, or a supernatural force?

The Los Angeles setting and “kaleidoscope of characters” elements make this sound an awful lot like Refn’s underrated Amazon TV series Too Old to Die Young. It also differs a bit from the original Maniac Cop movie, which was set on the filthy, dirty streets of 1980s New York City. Written by Larry Cohen and directed by William Lustig, Maniac Cop spawned two sequels in which the killer cop – whose name was Matt Cordell – became a full-blown undead ghoul, complete with a rotting face. The film series is a lot of fun, in a sleazy, trashy sort of way. The sequel even spawned its own rap song for the end credits.

John Hyams, who helmed several surprisingly good Universal Soldier sequels, was originally set to direct the movie remake, but now he’ll direct the entire season of the TV show, as well as serving as co-showrunner with Refn.

“I’ve always been a devoted admirer of John Hyams,” said Refn. “We’ve been talking about a re-imagining of the Maniac Cop films for a number of years, but as we continued to work on the material, we found ourselves wanting to explore the world we were creating in greater depth. Turning Maniac Cop into a series will allow us to realize our wildest ambitions and to reach an enormous audience though partners HBO and Canal+. This show will be an unadulterated, action-packed horror odyssey. Given the current state of the world, though, Maniac Cop will also be a strong commentary on the decline of civilization.”

I know Refn is an acquired taste for some, but I love his specific brand of neon-drenched art-sleaze, and I’m excited to see what he and Hyams do with this material. No word yet if the show will appear on HBO proper, or if it’s destined to be exclusive to the upcoming HBO Max streaming service.

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