Way back at the turn of the century, Edward Stratemeyer decided to apply the Horatio Alger model of writing and publishing to children’s books. The result was one series after another of ghostwritten, unified young adult novel series that provided a model for children’s fiction that lived for years. Tom Slade, Nancy Drew, The Bobbsey Twins, and The Hardy Boys all wore his banner. Some of the series, like the one featuring intrepid inventor Tom Swift, were actually pretty decent.

So it was only a matter of time before a studio — in this case Nickelodeon offshoot Worldwide Biggies — picked up the Tom Swift series to turn all those stories into newfangled media. Worldwide Biggies is currently in talks with producers and directors about how to bring Tom to the screen. Current plans call for an introductory feature film and video game, with other televised and internet media to follow. Possible approaches include "a live-action-CGI combo or motion capture" and some facts about Swift and his inventor family will be updated. For one, they’re now a ‘green technology’ family, so this could be Captain Planet all over again.

I suppose if this doesn’t turn out to be the fairly cool series it has the potential to become — there was always a sort of very early steampunk edge to many of the Tom Swift stories — it could just become another Jimmy Neutron. I.E. a not awful property known mainly to eight year old boys and their parents. (And one which Worldwide Biggies founder Albie Hecht shepherded, so the comparison is warranted.) For the sake of decency, just hope Tom Swift doesn’t get the roughshod ramming Warner Brothers gave that poor girl Nancy Drew earlier this year.