You never quite know what you’re going to get with SyFy. They manage some quirky light entertainment, and some good and dark science fiction, but at the same time they broadcast professional wrestling and are home of all the B-movies that make TK’s eyeballs bleed. So when you hear that they’re working on a four hour prequel to Peter Pan called “Neverland,” you don’t know whether to hide the razors while you watch or keep an eye out for the ticktocking crocodile getting replaced by sharktopus.
Nick Willing has written the script and will direct. He’s written a couple of episodes of “Alice,” directed a couple of “Tin Man” episodes, and has a couple more credits from something adapted from HG Wells and “Jason and the Argonauts”. I can’t speak to the quality of any of those, but it seems disproportionate how much of his small body of work has been adaptations. Might be he’s just found a niche that keeps giving him jobs, looking for that jump to the next level. Or he’s a hack. [Shrug]. It might not be fair, but it always seems qualitatively suspicious when someone can’t break out of such a specific niche.
Rhys Ifans will be playing a younger Hook, Anna Friel of “Pushing Daisies” will play Captain Elizabeth Bonny and Charlie Rowe will play Peter. Rowe is best known round these parts as the kid playing a young Charles Xavier in X-Men: First Class.
Here’s the basic plot summary:
Raised on the streets of turn-of-the century London, orphaned Peter (Rowe) and his pals survive by their fearless wits as cunning young pickpockets. Now, they’ve been rounded up by their mentor Jimmy Hook (Ifans) to snatch a priceless—some believe, magical—treasure which transports them to another world. Neverland is a realm of white jungles and legendary mysteries of eternal youth, where unknown friends and enemies snatched from time welcome the new travelers with both excitement and trepidation. These groups include a band of 18th century pirates led by the power-mad Elizabeth Bonny (Friel), and the Native American Kaw tribe led by a Holy Man (Trujillo), which has protected the secret of the tree spirits from Bonny and her gang for ages—and that has meant war. But as the fight to save this strange and beautiful world becomes vital, Hook, Peter, and the ragamuffin lost boys consider that growing old somewhere in time could be less important than growing up—right here in their new home called Neverland.
It’s definitely a departure from the source material, but there’s nothing in there that looks like an egregious “dark reimagining” or “edgy” cliche.