Monday, February 14, 2011

Syfy Developing Series About Harry Houdini and Arthur Conan Doyle

Deadline reports that Syfy had been negotiating for Among the Spirits, a drama series project about Houdini and Doyle solving mysteries in 1920s.

"I guess there is something in the air about that whole time period and that very interesting relationship between Houdini and Doyle," said Syfy's president of original programming Mark Stern. (Both Syfy brass and the producers of Among the Spirits first heard about Voices from the Dead from reading our story.) 

Among the Spirits, named after Houdini's book A Magician Among the Spirits published in 1924, is based on self-published graphic novel Among the Spirits by writers Steve Valentine and Paul Chart. Stern describes the project, which is being put in development, as "a turn-of-the-century Fringe." It will be in the vein of steampunk TV classic The Wild Wild West and Guy Ritchie's 2009 movie Sherlock Homes which put the steampunk  genre back into the zeitgeist. It will center on Houdini and Doyle who, with the help of a female cop, try to solve bizarre murders and strange occurrences that look like hauntings and other supernatural events using steampunk technology.

"We have Houdini, who was the ultimate illusionist and was all about creating illusions, and Dolyle, who was all about getting to the truth underneath - the pragmatist and the dreamer - set against that 1920s world of America where technology is just starting to grow." Entertainment One, which produces Haven for Syfy, is behind Among the Spirits, with Chart and Valentine writing as well as producing with Daniel J. Frey.

Among the Spirits is not the only period mystery series project in the works involving real historic figures. ABC gave a pilot order to Poe, a crime procedural following Edgar Allan Poe, the world's very first detective, as he uses unconventional methods to investigate dark mysteries in 1840s Boston.


vallerose said...

This could be either excellent or terrible. I have mixed feelings about using well known real people as sleuths. ie will neve read a Jane Austen as detective book. But with Doyle and Houdini it really isn't a stretch.

Diane said...

I look forward to this and hope get comes to fruition. If it comes anywhere near the new take on Sherlock it will be a smash.

Esri Rose said...

Talk about a fraught project. Houdini and Doyle were pretty much sworn enemies toward the end. Doyle became a true believer of spiritualism, while Houdini went around exposing the magic tricks spiritualists used to defraud their customers. They attacked each other quite viciously in the press.

Stephanie Abbott said...

Sounds perfectly fascinating!