Muslim-agitating author Salman Rushdie has announced plans to make a sci-fi TV series in a battle to get himself back into the mainstream after claiming that quality TV drama has taken over from film and the novel as the best way of widely communicating ideas and stories.
As a person who has tried and failed (miserably) to read Mr Rushdie’s books, while motoring through the Mad Men back-catalogue faster than Don Draper gets through bourbon, I understand the phenomenon to which the award-winning author refers.
His new project, titled The Next People, will be based in factual science according to The Guardian, but will contain elements of the supernatural or extra-terrestrial. Filming is yet to begin, but the pilot has already been written, commissioned and has secured what Rushdie called “an almost feature-film budget”.
“It’s like the best of both worlds,” said the novelist in an interview with the Observer. “You can work in movie style productions, but have proper control. They said to me that what I should really think about is a TV series, because what has happened in America is that the quality – or the writing quality – of movies has gone down the plughole.”
“If you want to make a $300m special effects movie from a comic book, then fine. But if you want to make a more serious movie… I mean you have no idea how hard it was to raise the money for Midnight’s Children”.
“My writing has always had elements of the fantastical” continued Rushdie, before explaining that he envied the input that TV writers had over their projects as a whole. “In the movies the writer is just the servant, the employee. In television, the 60-minute series, The Wire and Mad Men and so on, the writer is the primary creative artist.”
“You have control in the way that you never have in the cinema. The Sopranos was David Chase, West Wing was Aaron Sorkin,” he explained.