Ordinary Joe

Today, Matt Reeves is known for bringing us blockbusters like Cloverfield, War for the Planet of the Apes, and the newest version of The Batman. But back in 2006, Reeves was just trying to get a TV show made at ABC called Ordinary Joe, a high-concept drama following the three alternate life paths of the same character, each changed by a different milestone decision made at various points in his life. The series has been stuck in development since then, but NBC has finally given it a series order.

The Hollywood Reporter has news on NBC picking up the Ordinary Joe series that will be executive produced by Matt Reeves. Taking an approach that mirrors the movie Sliding Doors with Gwyneth Paltrow, Ordinary Joe follows three parallel lives of the show’s main character (played by Watchmen co-star James Wolk) after pivotal decisions in his life take him in different directions. The series is based on an idea from Kudos Film & Television, the British independent production company behind such BBC hit shows like Spooks and Life on Mars.

When the show was first in development, Reeves said, “It’s a swirling mix of choices you make, faith, accidents and things that you have no control over. Your choices can take you in many different ways, and each way has its own imperfections and things that are meaningful. What interested me is the way the lives can have this kind of a parallel dance where one informs the other and resonates through the other.”

Back in 2006, the description of the series specifically mentioned a 21 year old character choosing to chase a girl who he was secretly in love with or dating a girl who he knew had feelings for him. Since James Wolk isn’t quite that young, it’s likely some of the details have changed in development over the years (unless flashbacks will be employed), but the premise doesn’t have to change much if it simply focuses on an older character. Wolk will also be joined by Natalie Martinez, Charlie Barnett and Elizabeth Lail as co-stars.

It’s crazy to think that this show has been in development for 15 years. Back when Reeves was first working on this show, he was best known for co-creating and executive producing Felicity, for which he also directed several episodes. Funnily enough, this new series feels like a spiritual spin-off of the fourth season of that show, which saw the titular character learning what her life would have been like if she chose a different romantic path.

Though Reeves remains an executive producer, I’m betting he’s too busy to be truly hands-on with the series that he was one slated to write and direct himself. So it will probably be Russel Friend and Garrett Lerner (House, Smallville) doing most of the heavy lifting as executive producers and writers of the series. Adam Kassan, Rafi Crohn and Howard Klein will also executive produce with Disney’s 20th Century Television and Universal Television co-producing the show with Matt Reeves 6th & Idaho production banner and 3 Arts.

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