The showrunner for The Vampire Diaries will adapt the Nordic program for American audiences.
Admittedly, when I saw reports of a “Black Widows” television adaptation at ABC is in the works, all I could think about was the Marvel character popularized by Scarlett Johansson. For years, all anyone could ever talk about was Natasha Romanoff getting her own movie. Alas, Leonardo DiCaprio‘s Appian Way Productions is not, in fact, teaming up with the network that has housed a couple of Marvel adaptations in the past. Instead, Black Widows will be an adaptation of a Nordic drama program (which in itself is adapted from a Finnish show).
Ex-Vampire Diaries showrunner Caroline Dries will be tasked to adapt the series for ABC. Original Black Widows developers Mikko Polla and Roope Lehtinen will executive produce the show. The premise involves three wives and unlikely friends whose husbands share two things in common: they work at the same company, and happen to be domestic abusers. When all three husbands die in an accident on a group vacation, the women are inadvertently thrown into a life of crime and deception.
This particular team-up may come across as bizarre and random, but certainly banks on an amalgam of factors that we know already work to draw in a variety of viewers. The Gone Girl effect clearly isn’t wearing off anytime soon (not that we would want it to). There are worse formulas out there than relatable but flawed women having to deal with — and perhaps conquer — their awful husbands. This will reportedly be the first broadcast series out of Appian Way as well, which has mostly specialized in DiCaprio’s own movies as well as a handful of crime dramas and rather randomly, Catherine Hardwicke’s Red Riding Hood. Black Widows wouldn’t be out of the production company’s ballpark. Neither would it be brand new territory for Dries. Her Buffy the Vampire Slayer-esque CW show is just one of her television credits; Dries has penned several Smallville and Melrose Place episodes in the past.
Naturally, Black Widows being an adaptation of an adaptation opens up a vital conversation about a sense of creative stagnation infiltrating Hollywood: for the most part, currently a land of remakes and reboots that usually don’t fare too well. That being said, if Black Widows ends up being half as good as something like AMC’s reimagining of The Killing (originally a Danish series), it’d be pretty easy to root for. The British-French Sky series, The Tunnel (originally Danish-Swedish), is another example of a retelling that works incredibly well. These kinds of adaptations basically encompass a genre in their own right, given how easy it is to tap into stories of strange, brutal crimes and the underbelly of society. Here’s to hoping that Black Widows joins the cream of the crop in that regard, rather than falls flat at the bottom of the barrel.