Stephen King adaptations have proven a very reliable moneymaker over the last couple of years, so it’s no surprise that CBS has decided to pick up Josh Boone and Ben Cavell’s adaptation of The Stand for their All Access service. The network’s ordered ten episodes of the series, but given the length and complexity of the book, I’m betting that it’ll take two or three more seasons to tell the full story.
The Stand is one of King’s lengthier tomes, taking us through the complete breakdown of society after a biological weapon (a deadly strain of the flu) is released that kills off 99% of the population. The plot involves the government imposing martial law in a futile attempt to stop the virus, the military violently censoring information, Russia and China being deliberately infected to spread the misery globally and the personal toll this takes on the few survivors. The rest of the book is taken up with groups of people who are trying their best to rebuild society, though darker human impulses are never far away.
In a recent statement announcing the news, King said:
“I’m excited and so very pleased that The Stand is going to have a new life on this exciting new platform. The people involved are men and women who know exactly what they’re doing; the scripts are dynamite. The result bids to be something memorable and thrilling. I believe it will take viewers away to a world they hope will never happen.”
Meanwhile, Boone tells his own touching story of his history with the book:
“I read The Stand under my bed when I was 12, and my Baptist parents burned it in our fireplace upon discovery. Incensed, I stole my Dad’s FedEx account number and mailed King a letter professing my love for his work. Several weeks later, I came home to find a box had arrived from Maine, and inside were several books, each inscribed with a beautiful note from god himself, who encouraged me in my writing and thanked me for being a fan. My parents, genuinely moved by King’s kindness and generosity, lifted the ban on his books that very day. I wrote King a cameo as himself in my first film and have been working to bring The Stand to the screen for five years. I’ve found incredible partners in CBS All Access and Ben Cavell. Together with Stephen King, Owen King, my longtime producing partners Knate Lee and Jill Killington, we plan to bring you the ultimate version of King’s masterwork.”
I don’t have much sympathy for Boone’s book burning parents, but what a nice tale!
This won’t be the first time The Stand has made it to TV, as there was a four-part ABC miniseries in 1994. While it hasn’t aged that well, it was critically acclaimed upon release and went on to win a number of Emmys. CBS will doubtless be hoping to replicate that success, not to mention taking a big bite out of The Walking Dead‘s post-apocalyptic pie, too.