CBS' Wasted Opportunity With "The Stand"
Whether you are an avid reader of Stephen King or not, it is hard not to have heard about one of the prolific Author’s greatest works, 1978’s post-apocalyptic epic “The Stand.” Suppose you are familiar with the Author and his novel. In that case, you might even be well aware of the various attempts at developing it into feature films. It is a project that has seen many attempts, many different approaches, and consistent intrigue from audiences. For The Stand, history has certainly suggested Television being a much more suitable format for the adaptation than film. The novel’s length alone would guarantee any faithful theatrical adaptation lasts much longer than the typical two-hour run time. The Stand has twice been adapted to Television, once in the 1994 miniseries directed by Mick Garris and more recently by filmmaker Josh Boone, in a nine-part epic miniseries.
It’s hard not to feel as if there is a missed opportunity. The Stand is perfect at home on Television. What feels ill-advised is that the miniseries scope has limited the adaptation to a nine-episode affair, offering little future to go on with the material. Since 2010, a television show had its finger so tightly on the cultural zeitgeist that it has altered our culture. Of course, the show in question is the AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” a zombie-horror epic based on the Image comic book of the same name and created by iconic creator owned comic book writer Robert Kirkman, as well as the visionary comic book artists Tony Moore and Charles Adlard. Developed by the director with the two best Stephen King adaptations under his belt: Frank Darabont, every network has wanted its cultural epic, the likes of the Walking Dead. There’s been no shortage of clones even to the point that AMC doubled down and successfully developed a second and soon third series set in the apocalyptic universe.
With The Stand, CBS had the scarce opportunity of having its own televised juggernaut. With source material that’s critically and culturally loved by all and fitting for a multi-season adaptation, The Stand could have been the first legitimate competitor to The Walking Dead. Many strengths built in the source material that many other series failed to copy as network after network endlessly tried to copy the success AMC has enjoyed. The Stand could have been a series that allows audiences the courtesy of great characters with love and the pain of seeing them ripped away in a manner that spans years, not weeks. It’s intelligent work by an author who is the name in horror fiction.
While the Walking Dead, expected to end with Season Eleven, its world is still rich and plentiful, with numerous spin-offs in the pipeline. The Stand is one of the very few literature pieces with the right characteristics to play the game The Walking Dead has owned for the last decade. Both works are about societal destruction, ongoing hopelessness, the development of hope, optimism, and the questions of where humanity may go given the great status shift. With both works focusing their efforts through the spiritual eyes, Rick Grimes for the Walking Dead and Stu Redman for the Stand, they both have both relatable and admirable characters. Both get tested to such stressful degrees and cause us to root for them while also making us hope to make such choices with the same sense of morality.
The material behind the Stand could have perfectly fit a Seven or Eight season model without disrespecting the material by overly stretching it. Heck, you might have enough time to squeeze in everything from the novel’s expanded edition. It’s a shame that such an epic story gets the same treatment of underutilizing its potential. While both adaptations certainly produce something unique and special, it is hard not to notice its potential.
I hold nothing but respect for Josh Boone. It is rare to see a filmmaker stick to such a passion project with such vigor and vision to see it through. I’ve been excited for his take since the rumors of it being a four-part feature film. Perhaps if I’d have gotten such an adaptation, I wouldn’t feel the nagging notion I’ve spoken about. There’s hope that one day we could adapt the material that gives it the Walking Dead treatment. Perhaps it could even be the cultural juggernaut I believe it would be. It’s going to be a while before we get another adaptation of the work. There’s no doubt that the material’s power will certainly pull out at least one more adaptation in my lifetime.
Other cast members to release statements include Amber Benson and Michelle Trachtenberg. Gellar’s statement was shared by Trachtenberg, who played Buffy’s kid sister in the latter half of the series. She thanked Gellar for her candor and added that his behavior towards her on the set was “inappropriate.” She later added on to her post, saying that there had to be a rule on set that Joss Whedon “could never again be in a room alone with the actress.” Seeing how the actress joined the series at the young age of fifteen, its implications are especially alarming.
The news is hard to stomach for most longtime BtVS fans who are now working to reconcile the empowering fiction that the show still has today with the disheartening reality of its production process. Though the news comes as a shock to many, there have been stories circling around for years now about Whedon’s toxic behavior on set.
James Marsters described one such blow-up where Whedon became physically aggressive with him out of frustration that Marster’s character, the devil-may-care Billy Idol-esque fan favorite Spike, had become so popular. Marsters recalled that “he backed me up against a wall one day, and he was just like, ‘I don’t care how popular you are, kid, you’re dead.”
You hear me? Dead. Dead!'” Incidences such as this have begun to recirculate in light of the recent allegations.
So far, Joss Whedon has yet to respond to this string of allegations. However, he has been removed from panels at Comic-Con. He has also been replaced as showrunner on his upcoming HBO drama series, The Nevers.
CBS “The Stand” Official Trailer