NBC Scores a Golden Fleece
NBC has scored a pilot commitment to Jason and the Argonauts, based on the classic quest for the Golden Fleece in Greek mythology. Argonauts will mark the first-ever green-screen drama developed for primetime television. Films such as Sin City have made use of green screen, but this will be the first time the technology makes the leap to a primetime TV series.
The network secured the projected after a "fierce bidding war" with a rival network, believed to be Fox. Interestingly enough, Fox is developing The Argonauts as a feature film with Zak Penn (The Incredible Hulk) scripting. In fact, Tom Rothman mentioned the project as recently as today in his interview with IESB.net. Variety reports that DreamWorks also has a project titled The Argonauts. Their interpretation of the story would feature treasure hunters from today transported back to the time of Jason. This comes the same time that War of the Gods and the remake of Clash of the Titans are also moving into production. And let’s not forget competing Hercules films having also been announced over the last few months.
This will be NBC’s second attempt this decade at getting the Argonaut mythology correct. A previous miniseries, from producer Robert Halmi, also titled Jason and the Argonauts (are you keeping track?) and starring Jason London, Frank Langella, and Dennis Hopper aired in 2000. The two projects will be completely unrelated other than in title and source material.
In Greek mythology, Jason was the leader of the Argonauts and their quest for the Golden Fleece, which belonged to the winged ram Chrysomallos. Members of The Argonauts include Heracles (commonly known by his Roman name "Hercules") and Castor and Pollux of Troy, both of whom were featured in John Woo’s Face/Off. (Just kidding, kinda.) During the quest for the Fleece, Jason meets and marries Medea the sorceress. In Euripides’ play Medea, Jason leaves Medea to marry King Creon’s daughter. Medea exacts vengeance by killing Creon and her own two sons in order to devastate Jason. Man, and you thought modern times were rough!
Of course, the best recalled version of this tale is Ray Harryahusen’s classic 1963 film, Jason and the Argonauts, compelte with the heroes fighting skeletons. One can only hope one of these projects has something equally thrilling in store.