It's already been highly publicized that NBC's TV reboot of the '90s cult classic, Cruel Intentions, was noticeably absent during the announcement of their fall 2016 lineup. After weeks of speculation, fans of the film were beginning to doubt the new project would ever emerge from development hell. In early July, NBC cast those doubts to the wind when they extended the contract options for the show's stars.
But with that announcement came the revelation that Cruel Intentions was unlike anything NBC had ever produced. And even as much as they loved the series, there just wasn't any sort of way to properly introduce it to the audiences who have come to expect a certain tone in content from NBC. As far as TV has come in the last two decades, we're still far from breaking that barrier that will allow sexuality - in the forms expressed in Cruel Intentions - to become a mainstay on a major broadcast network.
Has NBC Finally Taken The First Steps Into The Future?
But has that issue been resolved through the divine intervention of the future of TV? Has NBC seen the truth in the immortal words spoken by Xena star, Lucy Lawless? In the fall of 2013, Lawless spoke to an interviewer about the proposed reboot of her iconic series and was surprised at how things were changing in the way TV networks handled their properties. She said
In the old days a studio would rather kill a project rather than let it go anywhere else. Or kill a project if they don’t own 100 percent of it. But in this day and age isn’t it better to own 70 percent of something than 100 percent of nothing?
At the Television Critics Association summer press tour - held on Tuesday - NBC president Jennifer Salke confirmed that the series was definitely still alive at the network. Not only that, she revealed they were open to developing two separate versions of the show simultaneously in preparation of the possibility that, if the network passes on the project for their own use, the series may find life on a alternative streaming platform.
"I think there would be two versions of the show, and, of course, if it ends up on some alternative platform, we would have more leeway. But it is designed to be dishy and fun and sort of push the envelope as far as sexuality. It’s not something we’re inviting kids in to watch.”
It Signals A Great Shift In How Networks Are Adapting To The Changing Times
NBC realizes the of entertainment media is changing, especially the world of TV, and it showcases just how far the entertainment industry has come. The network is willing to adapt two versions of the series just to make sure that somehow, somewhere, the show makes its way to the fans. In traditional development, a typical network would either cut the show completely or, if deciding to pick it up, ensure that the script and tone of the show are tailored to suit their particular demographic and stay on-brand.
In recent cases, such as what's currently transpiring with Warner Bros' Suicide Squad, we're beginning to realize just how drastically shows and movies can be altered by networks or studios being overly demanding or too deeply involved. A move like this by NBC displays volumes in how confident they are with the show being in the capable hands of its visionary creative team.
Fans Should Be Over-The-Moon Excited About This
They've been listening to us! Finally! This is proof that NBC has heard the cries of fans and are willing to find an alternative that works best for all of us. We all know exactly what kind of things to expect from a Cruel Intentions reboot; it's not something we want to see in a family-friendly display (nor was Dangerous Liaisons, the play/novel/film Cruel Intentions was based upon). I'd never let my kids watch the movie so I certainly wouldn't want them to watch a full TV season's worth of it. But I would definitely be into it. We need more guilty pleasures on TV. We need programs that are willing to break the barriers of the tired and the conventional, and online platforms are the perfect outlet to do just that.
Cruel Intentions, if sent to a streaming platform, would be in great company and join a fantastic slew of original programming that is, more and more frequently, garnering both audience and critical acclaim. Having seen the surprising amount of success that The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt has seen with its Netflix pickup, NBC is most likely not looking to make fools of themselves once again by letting such a fantastic property slip through their fingers.
Be proud, fans, someone is actually listening to you.
Get On Board Or Get Left Behind
Our world is in a constant motion of change. But we can take comfort in the fact that networks like NBC are willing to cast aside the notions of yesterday and embrace a strategy that indulges the desires of every party involved. It not only shows a willingness to move in the direction everything is headed, anyway, but also is a great stride forward toward creating an environment of cooperation in the generally cutthroat entertainment industry.
Whether Cruel Intentions makes its way to NBC's summer lineup or ends up on the original programming slate of an alternative platform is still up in the air at this time. But at least we as fans can rest easy knowing now that no matter what, we will eventually see the show we were promised and it will be every bit worth the excruciatingly long wait we've had to endure.
Would you rather see Cruel Intentions find life on a streaming service or on NBC's summer slate? Sound off below!