Ain't It Cool News (

GLOBAL FREQUENCY's Warren Ellis Writing A 'Black Comedy/Science Fiction' Pilot For AMC!!

I am – Hercules!!

Warren Ellis, the world’s best comic-book author not named Alan Moore, is writing a half-hour pilot for a “black comedy/science fiction” show for AMC.

(To anticipate the question in talkback; no, I didn’t mean ABC; and no, I’m not certain AMC still stands for “American Movie Classics.”)

“I'm not allowed to reveal the title or premise right now,” Ellis told AICN: Coaxial News. “I can talk around it, but they were definite on me keeping those two things to myself for now.”

It is NOT based on any of his print work. “I can confirm that. This is a project I originated for television.”

“As with all TV Things, everything could go horribly wrong,” Ellis writes in his Bad Signal (his email-news thingie) “But this is the deal I've been waiting for, with people who understand the project and format I want to work in. And you know something's going right when people in TV are telling you to go more experimental and take more risks. This isn't your US network tv experience.

“I'm writing the pilot at the moment. (And I should particularly thank Joss Whedon and John Rogers for their insights into the process.) More details will hopefully follow as the project progresses. Or, you know, a tearstained screed if it doesn't.”

This should have happened five years ago. If Ellis lived in Los Angeles instead of the United Kingdom it would have happened 10 years ago. For better than a decade Ellis has been cranking out lorryloads of popular and critically acclaimed graphic novels, including “Global Frequency” (itself made into a TV pilot Ellis did not write), “The Authority,” “Planetary,” “Blackgas,” “Ministry of Space,” “Strange Killings” … the list of brilliance goes on and on and ON ...

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Readers Talkback
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  • June 16, 2006, 6:18 p.m. CST


    by Kubla_Khan

    English guy makes good. We rule. English genius, American money. Good news.

  • June 16, 2006, 6:23 p.m. CST

    The list of crap also goes on and on

    by The Funketeer

    He's a good writer but nowhere close to being the best. He'd probably be a lot better if he slowed down and didn't publish every little idea that passed through his head. Most of his Avatar stuff is crap and reads like he wrote it over a coffee break in between podcasts at his pub. Go back and read some of his early Marvel stuff as well. His run on Excalibur was not particularly interesting either.

  • June 16, 2006, 6:32 p.m. CST

    "It would have happened 10 years ago."

    by supertoyslast

    Surely it would only have happened 10 years ago if he had actually been trying to make a TV project 10 years ago? Or are you saying that he's been trying to make a TV show for the past 10 years but he's been knocked back just because he lives in the UK?

  • June 16, 2006, 6:33 p.m. CST


    by optimus122

    If whedon gave him pointers we know it will be gold. I wish to hell we get to see Global Frequency sometime down the road if this show is successful.

  • June 16, 2006, 6:42 p.m. CST

    American Motor Corp?

    by DrManhattansUnit

    All My Children?

  • June 16, 2006, 7:19 p.m. CST

    AMC already has a half-hour "black comedy/sci-fi" show


    It's called "Sunday Morning Shootout". (Hah! I made a funny!)

  • June 16, 2006, 8:52 p.m. CST

    Could it possibly be as good as Nextwave?

    by adambalm

    I heard this show will center around a tech-savy, 40 year old Harlan Ellison impersonator whose desperation to continue to appear hip and 'with it' leads him to crank out 10 books a month about people also desperate to appear hip and with it, usually by wearing trench coats and saying 'Don't piss us off' alot. The opening of the pilot would in all likelihood focus on said comic creator laughing at some sad and bitter fanboy who just spent 20 minutes typing out a reply on something that bugs him instead of just ignoring it... See, I'm being ironic, just like those darned satirical genius brits!

  • June 16, 2006, 10 p.m. CST


    by The Pusher

    Finally, something to watch in between James Bond marathons!

  • June 16, 2006, 10:10 p.m. CST

    Herc........ answer this please

    by liljuniorbrown

    Do you know when or if the Alexander Salkind produced 1980-90'S Super Boy series will ever be released on DVD? It is one of my all time favorite versions of Superman on TV. I'm collecting the George Reeve's versions,and i'm a Smallville regular as well I guess the only adaptation I hate is Lois and Clark,just don't care for it.Anyways i figured you'd know when we could expect it if ever. I mean it has to come out right? They took the time and money to put out SledgeHammer for God sakes.

  • June 16, 2006, 10:42 p.m. CST

    No mention of...

    by dejectedgeek

    No mention of Transmetropolitan? That's Ellis' greatest project to date, IMO.

  • June 16, 2006, 11:53 p.m. CST


    by PKDKeith

    Rock on. Some of his comics are crap (Strange Kiss, etc.). Some are brilliant, picaresque futurism (Transmet). And some are in between (Nextwave, which he did for money and an excuse to make fun of superhero comics). But I really liked the Global Frequency pilot. And I think (hope) that the reason his blog and email newsletters have been shallow lately is because he's been concentrating on the long overdue novel and these various TV projects he's working on. In short, be hopeful. And fuck Adambalm.

  • June 17, 2006, 12:37 a.m. CST


    by OBSD

    you couldn't change the "Buffy Amazon Link" to a "Warren Ellis Amazon Link"? I don't mind that you put links on your articles to products in Amazon, but could you at least try and make them revelant to the article in question a bit more often? Like put up some links to Dr. Who DVDs during a Dr. Who article, things like that. Thanks, buddy. Keep up the good work.

  • June 17, 2006, 2:02 a.m. CST

    American Movie Crap: No, it's NOT "Classics" anymore...

    by Zardoz

    And it hasn't been classic since the changeover to...well, to whatever it is now. Oh, I miss those care-free days when AMC meant a great old movie, commercial and interruption free. And now it's mostly bad 80's movies, with loads of commercials. At least I got a nice copy of Wilder's "Ace in the Hole" before the change. Still, kudos to Ellis, I love his comic book work, so I hope this is just as cool...

  • June 17, 2006, 2:51 a.m. CST

    Global Depression is more like it.

    by ILK

    It was so great, it was depressing to watch it knowing the whole time that it would never see a second episode. And the comment above about amc is accurate. What the hell happened to that channel?

  • June 17, 2006, 3:17 a.m. CST

    lorryloads? Dammit, Herc...

    by Big Bad Clone

    as for AMC, I remember it's good 'ol days as well. I think the first crap movie I saw show up on it was that Keanu cold fusion movie. TMC, though, is the shit now. And it usually gets better at night.

  • June 17, 2006, 5:32 a.m. CST

    "The world

    by Killah_Mate

    FUCK YEAH! --- You got class, Herc. I respect that. Also, Funketeer, you have a point there, he does tend to be TOO prolific at times, but then again you don't have to read anything you don't like, and the stuff that's good is REALLY FUCKING GOOD. He's my favorite current science fiction writer - in ANY medium. It's kinda like Wolfgang Petersen; he made his fair share of shit movies, but every time I see a bit of Das Boot, or The Perfect Storm, I remember there's a real badass director somewhere in there. That's why I (naively) maintain faith in his Ender's Game adaptation (oh, and don't even get me started on Orson Scott Card). Also, yeah, Whedon is really sort of a nicer, fantasy-oriented version of Ellis. They work nicely together.

  • June 17, 2006, 9:44 a.m. CST

    AMC still shows movies once in a while.

    by FluffyUnbound

    I caught Cinema Paradiseo on it a while back. I had almost forgotten how that is essentially the greatest movie ever made. At least in Harvey's cut.

  • June 17, 2006, 10:55 a.m. CST


    by Psynapse

    They already are..check out among others....

  • June 17, 2006, 1:34 p.m. CST

    I'll give ANYTHING a shot if Warren is attatched

    by DOGSOUP

    As long as they never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever make Transmet anything other than a comic book.

  • June 17, 2006, 2:05 p.m. CST

    Yeah, I think I agree. Transmet's like Sandman...

    by Killah_Mate

    ...adapting it into any other medium is just pointless. No TV show or movie, or miniseries, or whatever, could do it justice. It's just too big and epic. But I maintain that Global Frequency would've been great, and Planetary was BORN TO BE A MOVIE FRANCHISE. MAKE IT HAPPEN! Or at least a miniseries? Pretty please?

  • June 17, 2006, 2:18 p.m. CST


    by KoozyK

    red hercs ad ridden season box vault. it's coming out next week with every other superman dvd.

  • June 17, 2006, 2:20 p.m. CST

    global frequency

    by KoozyK

    you can find global frequency on torrent nets if you look hard enough. i watched it and it was ok at best.

  • June 17, 2006, 6:11 p.m. CST

    Ok at best?

    by ILK

    Are you high? It had HALF A GUY in it.

  • June 17, 2006, 11:41 p.m. CST

    I can't even hope anymore.

    by kabong

    Writers can deliver great scripts. But the MBA marketing dinks turn them all into crap. Put a dog in it. Make them teens. Stunt cast one of the Desperate Ho . . .

  • June 18, 2006, 3:09 a.m. CST


    by Prankster

    I'm interested to see this and all, but why must we act like getting a TV show or movie is some kind of vindication for a comic writer? The artform of comics has been at a pretty high level now, one that (when it's on) is easily superior to those other two more high-profile visual media. Yes, this probably means a shitload of cash for Ellis, and will hopefully make for an entertaining and possibly groundbreaking TV show. But it's not like this actually proves anything about Ellis we didn't already know. The fact that comics writers have to become superstars before coming to the attention of other media (while TV and movie and even novel writers seem to crap out pretty consistantly while attempting to write comics) reveals more about the deficiencies of those other industries than it does about the supposed inferiority of the comics form.

  • June 18, 2006, 3:36 a.m. CST

    Has this kind of thing ever worked out?

    by readingwriter

    By that I mean an original television project from an established talent in SF books or comics? It's easy for us to mock the MBAs or whoever decides these things, but what about the crap that they REJECT, not to mention the uncomfortable fact that often fiction and comics writers simply can't deliver a viable project. Ellis hasn't impressed me from what I've read so God only knows if this will be some kind of "ha-ha how EYEronic" Brit scifi crap foisted on us by someone who thinks that Americans don't "get irony" when in fact we're drowning in it. If Ellis or anyone else could come up with quality genre material WITHOUT using the crutch of irony, something that wasn't sentimental crap but something powerful that didn't hide behind that annoying Brit "Oh, but we don't REALLY take this seriously, you did? how silly of you" pose, we might really have something. Based on his works I've read so far (I've only read Global Frequency)he could come up with something hard-edged but with such flat characters that no one will care, and then he can mope about how awful US TV is, even though he fairly wets himself to get into that US TV business.

  • June 18, 2006, 6:56 a.m. CST

    "Based on his works I've read so far(Global Frequency)"

    by Killah_Mate

    Read Transmetropolitan. Yes, *all* of it. Then come back and join the rest of us believers. There's really no point in discussing Ellis as a writer until you've read his magnum opus. Oh, and trust me, he's doing just fine without the US TV business. But making a TV series can be fun (I'm told), and I don't blame him for being interested in such a thing.

  • June 18, 2006, 7:03 a.m. CST

    Also, just found this quote from Joss Whedon:

    by Killah_Mate

    "The only time I ever read a comic and said, 'Jesus, that should be on the screen,' I found out that somebody else was already developing it, and it was 'Global Frequency.' It should be a TV show. I adore it. Warren Ellis is like a God to me." --- Not exactly surprised here, but hey, nice to know for sure...

  • June 18, 2006, 8:33 p.m. CST

    This news is very exciting.

    by gammaknight

    AMC seems like could be perfect for that type of show because from what Warren Ellis is implying in his post, they actually seem eager to back a quality sci-fi program created by an acclaimed writer like Ellis. Then again, they all seem so eager until you ask for funding *cough*animatedBuffyandDVDmovies*wheeze* I really hope this one actually goes forward instead of evaporating.

  • June 19, 2006, 7:57 a.m. CST


    by Cory849

    I was going to type something like "Herc if you list Warren Ellis projects again without mentioning Transmetropolitan (insert idle and funny anatomically impossible threat here)" but others have already chastised you. So I will just add my agreement. Too everyone else: If you havent read transmetropolitan you are missing one of the great joys in life. May as well shout out to Darick Robertson too - who I am sure is sick of Ellis getting ALL the credit for that project. But yeah - Spider Jerusalem rules. Unlike a lot of untranslateable properties, Transmet could make a great major motion picture.

  • June 19, 2006, 3:53 p.m. CST


    by v1cious

    athis would be perfect for Adult Swim.

  • June 21, 2006, 12:05 p.m. CST


    by blackthought