Nov 30 2012 11:15am

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell Confirmed for BBC Miniseries

One of the most popular fantasy novels of the last decade is set to become a six-part miniseries for the BBC. Susanna Clarke's excellent historical fantasy epicJonathan Strange & Mr Norrell—will be adapted for television by Peter Harness and directed by Sherlock and Doctor Who alum Toby Haynes. For fans of historical fantasy, and alternate universes, the Napoleonic Wars, and awesome magic, this is excellent news. No word yet on when the series is set to air.

Here are our ideas on who should be in it.

[News via Den of Geek]

Gabriel Murray
1. Gabriel Murray
I haven't been this excited since -- ... actually, I'm not sure I've been this excited.

Please be good please be good please be good.
Bridget Smith
2. BridgetSmith
There's just a series of exclamation points running through my head right now. If this is good, it'll be AMAZING.
Gabriel Murray
4. ducky
I'm terrified -- I don't think that CGI is up to the task of making the Yorkminster Cathedral scene work...

(Also really, really excited! But terrified.)
Gabriel Murray
5. rea
I don't think that CGI is up to the task of making the Yorkminster Cathedral scene work

I'm not even sure it's up to making the (magic-influenced) Battle of Waterloo work.
Gabriel Murray
6. I_Sell_Books
I have to confess I never finished this book. The writing is good and the plot seemed interesting, but I lost interest about a third of the way in. I'll happily watch the series, though.
Shani Gamble
7. ShaniBri
I will also confess that I just couldn't get into this book. I don't know why, I read a lot of fantasy, but I just couldn't do it. I will try again. As I recall I had borrowed a copy that was kind of falling apart and I was paranoid about completely destroying someone else's book.
Joanna Slupek
8. Spriggana
As for CGI making it work… Ten years ago one artist backed by a post production studio – now well established, but back then not much so – made The Cathedral (click and watch it on YouTube) and got an Oscar nomination.
Now just add ten year of CGI development, increase the budget and hire more people… IMO the technical part is not the problem. They just have to find the right artist to design the scene.
Gabriel Murray
9. Kirshy
I'm with I_Sell_Books and ShaniBri, I started reading this book and got about half way through before I had to put it away in favour of something more entertaining. And it was a struggle to even get that far. It seemed well written but holy cow was it a slow, borning book, filled with annoying and dumb characters (I get that they were being written that way for some kind of comedic purpose but I just didn't get it). I picked it up because I had heard that it was supposed to be this amazing story. I don't understand what all the hype was about. If I hear good things about the mini series I will probably watch it. But I doubt I will ever get back to the book.
Gabriel Murray
10. ducky
@Spriggan, Thanks for the recommendation about the video -- it's lovely but not really the same thing. The Yorkminster scene just evokes so much more than sight: the sound of stone rubbing against stone and the idea of the weight of these statues creaking and moving about and eroding their bases. I just doubt that it can capture the heaviness of it all, but I will happily be proven wrong.
Gabriel Murray
11. Puff the Magic Commenter
I just have to say that concern over what CGI "is up to" is baffling to me. I think that after 20 years of seeing what ILM, Weta, Pixar, Blue Sky and many others have done, this should be the least of one's worries. The cathedral scene doesn't even need CGI! The right director, with a Val Lewton-level command of light and shadow, and an award-winning sound department, could make it work spectacularly with only practical effects. Hire the Henson Creature Shop to do it, for cryinoutloud, it's a fairy tale!

And the battle of Waterloo scene? Pfff. At this point could be done by a talented high school kid with a Power Mac and a copy of Maya. Probably. Maybe a college kid.

It's the writer I'm worried about. Those footnotes are liable to kill the poor bastard.
Mordicai Knode
12. mordicai
11. Puff the Magic Commenter

Wait, are you saying they had special effects before the 80s?
Gabriel Murray
13. UnexpectedAlien
Is CGI up to it? Sure is:
Done by one guy (about 3 years ago).
Steve Taylor
14. teapot7
I have no doubts that modern CGI is up to whatever they'll ask of it.

I'm just worried they'll screw it up with the script, direction or acting. Even to only partially do justice to a book this good would be a great shame. _Jonathan Strange_ restored my faith in reading after a long succesion of "meh" reading experiences.

It's also the book that made me realise my eyes are no longer young :(
Gabriel Murray
15. AlyxL
Modified rapture here. It could be very good and it could be a train-wreck, depending mainly on the design and casting. I think I would rather see (well, hear) it as a radio adaptation, like the version of Neverwhere the BBC are also coming up with.
Gabriel Murray
16. Martyn Drake
Do not worry about the FX. Please do not worry about the FX - JS&MN is not an FX-filled drama. It's a period piece that just happens to have a few magical moments and I'm sure whoever Cuba Pictures chooses as the post-production/VFX company (providing it isn't Framestore) will do a grand job with whatever FX *is* used.

(BTW, if Doctor Who can bring Weeping Angels to life through people in make-up with a bit of CG.. well, I've leave that thought there.)

I'm sure this will be a gorgeous production that's going to be as beautiful to look at is it is entertaining and engaging. Have confidence in those bringing it to the screen.
Gabriel Murray
17. sparkleyjem
I am so excited to hear this, one of my favourite books of all time, I just hope the casting is suitably quirky, the script suitably witty and the costumes the correct period ;)
Gabriel Murray
18. Therru
@UnexpectedAlien: Wow, that was beautiful!
However, I don't think the quandary in this case is "is CGI up to it" as much as "What level/quality of CGI can the BBC afford".
What they *are* excellent at, however, is period costume. :)

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