It’s the era of peak television and no matter where you look, networks and streaming platforms are clamouring for content and adaptations are in huge demand, whether on the big or small screen, so as to cash in on a captive audience. While books and comics have been that source since the beginning of cinema, a new well of stories that’s been recently dug up is the world of podcasts.
One of the most high profile podcasts to get turned into a TV show is coming right this weekend, with Gimlet Media’s Homecoming finding a new home on Prime Video. Roping in Hollywood star Julia Roberts to lead a talented cast, the show is a testament to the rising popularity of podcasts in mainstream pop culture and the quality of stories being told there.
Here’s a look at five podcasts (including Homecoming) on their way to the small screen.
A fiction series, the podcast Homecoming follows Heidi, a caseworker at an agency dedicated to rehabilitating former soldiers with PTSD. But as she grows close to a patient, she begins to suspect the facility has sinister motives. Created by Eli Horowitz and Micah Bloomberg, the podcast stars Catherine Keener, Oscar Isaac and David Schwimmer in lead roles.
On November 2, the two-season podcast will make its small screen debut on Prime Video. Julia Roberts, Stephan James and Bobby Cannavale will reprise roles by Keener, Isaac and Schwimmer respectively, and Mr Robot creator Sam Esmail has directed the show.
A six-part true-crime story narrated by the Pulitzer-nominated investigative journalist Christopher Goffard of the Los Angeles Times, Dirty John was perhaps 2017’s second most talked about podcast, after S-Town. Part cautionary tale, part horror story, Dirty John centres around a well-to-do family and their relationship to the show’s namesake: a con man who leeches off wealthy women. It’s a chilling story that brings to life the many uncertainties and unique challenges of modern living and the ways we find love.
Dirty John premieres in the US on Bravo on November 25. Connie Britton plays Debra Newell, a successful single mother who meets John Meehan (Eric Bana) online. Newell’s daughters will be played by Juno Temple and Julia Garner.
Sci-fi podcast series Tanis follows a man’s quest to uncover the origins and location of the elusive entity of the same name. Created by Terry Miles, hosted by Nic Miller and four seasons min, Tanis is ‘an exploration of the nature of truth, conspiracy, and information’. The podcast has been optioned for TV by Universal Cable Productions and Dark Horse Entertainment.
The show that kickstarted the podcast craze, Serial, in season one, tracked the case of one Adnan Syed, who was convicted of the murder of Baltimore high school student Hae Min Lee in 1999. Season two explored the case of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, an American soldier charged with desertion after being freed from Taliban captivity, and the cracks in the Cleveland court system. And in a break from tradition, season three, released recently, looks at the American criminal justice system through a series of stories.
Earlier this year, HBO announced plans to create the documentary series The Case Against Adnan Syed, which sheds new light on the story as Syed awaits the new trial he was awarded in the wake of the podcast’s release. The four-hour series will closely re-examine the events leading up to Hae Min Lee’s disappearance, from high school romance, forbidden love and cultural conflict, to the aftermath of her disappearance, the original police investigation and the present day, to Syed’s new trial.
Welcome to Night Vale
One of the most surreal shows to come out of the podcast realm, Welcome to Night Vale is a twice-monthly series that act as dispatches from a strange little town of Night Vale, featuring local weather, news, announcements from the Sheriff’s Secret Police, mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures with unknowable powers and cultural events.
In December 2017, FX announced that it has reached a deal with Sony Television to adapt the series for the small screen. The show is set to be developed by Gennifer Hutchison, a writer and producer on hit shows like Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad.