If you wondered what would be next on the agenda for the Breaking Bad team of Vince Gilligan and Michelle MacLaren, wonder no longer. The duo are reuniting for a miniseries about the Jonestown massacre for HBO.
The new series will be based on the book Raven: The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones and His People, by Tim Reiterman, a journalist who actually survived the events in Jonestown, Guyana. Jim Jones was the leader of the Peoples Temple, a splinter group whose commune in Jonestown was eventually the site of a mass suicide of cult members. The book takes the reader through the formation of the Peoples Temple through to the deaths at Jonestown, looking at the personality of Jim Jones, the people who followed him, and his encouragement that they kill themselves by drinking cyanide-laced Flavor Aid. We can assume that the new HBO miniseries will follow the same structure of the book, which will make this a very dark, fascinating story indeed.
Cults and religious splinter movements have become more popular of late, with the Hulu series The Path making waves, and interest in exposes and documentaries about Scientology increasing. Making a series about Jonestown seems a logical step – it is, after all, one of the most famous and notorious mass suicides in the world.
There is no word yet on what the series will be called – Raven, perhaps? – or when it will see the light of day. We’ll have to be satisfied with its announcement for now, although I admit to being excited about this one. Gilligan and MacLaren will certainly create something unique and probably quite scary out of what is already a terrifying narrative, and for that reason alone, I can’t wait to hear more on this one.