I couldn't quite believe my eyes when I saw social media filling up with news about a new TV show based on the Judge Dredd comics: Judge Dredd: Mega-City One.
As a longtime fan of the character, I have had to deal with the disappointment of seeing Dredd's character fail at the cinema box office - not once, but twice. I have seen America's Marvel and DC surge and dominate Hollywood, while Britain's 2000AD fail to get anywhere despite its vast range of brilliant stories and characters.
The idea that Dredd would return to the silver screen seemed far fetched - even with the Dredd Sequel fan campaign - but now, it seems, there's a new ray of hope. Rebelllion (the licence-holders of Dredd and associated characters) have announced they are working on a new iteration of Dredd. This time for the smaller screen.
I am super-excited, if a little cautious, about this announcement. On the plus side, Rebellion are the custodians of Dredd. They know and love the character well so I'm sure will be determined to do a good job. They've got good backing with IM Global and Mark Stern (executive producer who previously worked for the Syfy channel on Battlestar Galactica). There's clearly a desire for more Dredd, thanks to the critical response to the 2012 Dredd film, and if Rebellion can persuade Karl Urban to return to judging duties, they're off to a great start.
My main reservation is that Rebellion have no experience of making TV. They refer to their experience in making computer games, which is certainly a similar industry, but I still think TV is different. Added to that, Mega-City One is a formidable canvas to work with. It's massively rich and bizarre just in terms of characters alone. Portraying this vast metropolis is going to be a huge challenge, I'm sure. Dredd 2012 had a budget of $35,000,000 and struggled to put Dredd's hometown up onscreen (although it did a good job all things considering). With an estimated $1,000,000 per epsiode, JD:MC-1 will have a lot less resources to work with.
Despite these niggles, I remain optimistic. Dredd and his world have always been ripe for live action, it's just the technology, willpower and finance have never quite been available.
That is, until now.