Everybody loves to reboot/remake/relaunch TV shows now, and anything they can find to recycle these days is in play, especially for NBC and its “throw it all at the wall and see what sticks” approach. As part of this, the peacock network also loves to make the pronouncement that these projects are going straight to series, like the ill-fated Coach reboot which NBC recently decided wasn’t a great idea and scrapped altogether. Maybe stick to pilots? Maybe that still works?
Its latest reboot(ish) is of the Liam Neeson movie Taken, where a TV series will serve as a prequel to the film. According to Deadline, Luc Besson will be serving as the series’ executive producer (Besson co-wrote the original Taken script, although there is a currently a search underway for a series writer and showrunner).
The new series will follow a young Bryan Mills (played by Neeson in the movies) as he acquires his “very particular set of skills” that he mentions in the movies, ones that will eventually help him save his snatched daughter (several times).
Weirdly (cheaply), the series will take place in modern time and not decades earlier, which means that the Taken series will not be a direct prequel, because the timeline won’t make any sense. Think of it more as a spiritual prequel, which, frankly, may work in the series favor; movie prequels as TV shows like Bates Motel have found ways to create their own universe and unique presence that has callbacks to its source material without being beholden to it.
On the other hand, it just feels like another tenuous connection to create a new series under the shelter of an already recognized brand. The thing is, what made Taken such a hit was Neeson. Instead of being straight-to-series, the series should really be “cast contingent” (much like the Fox Luther remake that has yet to happen — there’s not another Idris Elba, sorry guys).
But, Besson is no stranger to having his movies turned into TV series. NBC aired (and then cancelled) the middling series Taxi Brooklyn last summer, a spinoff of the French hit Taxi. La Femme Nikita and the Transporter TV series are two other examples of his movie being adapted for TV. Stay tuned for more updates on the series as we know them. For now, what do you think about the idea of a Taken prequel series? Can the franchise work without Neeson?