Bill Willingham’s Fables is uniquely suited to being a TV show. While I like the comic, and read it in trade paperback form, it is a meandering, seemingly go-nowhere book that feels like it inverts the usual comic book time paradigm: while 40 years of Spider-Man’s adventures seemingly take place over a decade, five years of Fables stories seem to span a decade.

The basic conceit is that all of the fairy tale and fable characters you know are real, and many of them have moved to New York City after their own Homelands were taken over by an evil being called The Adversary. Everybody from Snow White to The Big Bad Wolf to Prince Charming to Bluebeard show up, and more Fables get added as more characters fall into public domain.

Fables is also among the least racy Vertigo titles, with a mentality that is more hard edged PG-13 than anything else, and much of that ‘edge’ is violence, which network TV seems to be A-OK with these days. The large cast of characters leaves the show lots of room to have a rotating cast of favorites. “We set up a structure to allow any fairy tale character to show up
in any one episode,”
producer Raven Metzner* said. The show will center around Bigby, the Big Bad Wolf-turned-Fabletown sheriff, and Snow White, though, just like the comic.

This isn’t the first time Fables has been developed for TV; NBC gave it a shot two years ago. I’m not entirely sold on this creative team – Metzner and his partner, Stu Zicherman, wrote the original drafts of Elektra. They’re bringing in TV workhorse David Semel to shoot the pilot. I guess I’ll take a wait and see attitude; barring this thing looking like utter shit, Fables will likely be one of the few shows I add to my Season Pass on TiVo, based simply on the source material.

* who used to date my friend Cristi before he got anything off the ground. What a weird small world this is.