Syfy has shared the first nine minutes from the pilot of 12 Monkeys, the TV adaptation of Terry Gilliam’s landmark 1995 sci-fi film. The episode will premiere in full on Friday, January 16th, at 9 p.m.
The preview begins in the year 2043, with the scraggly James Cole (Aaron Stanford) navigating a post-apocalyptic wasteland before time-traveling back to 2013. In that year, virologist Cassandra Railly (Amanda Schull) delivers a lecture to a group of doctors about preparing for future pandemics before she’s kidnapped by Cole, who questions her about a mysterious man named Leland Frost and warns of a mass viral plague that will wipe out the human race in 40 years.
The pilot was written by series co-creators Terry Matals and Travis Fickett and directed by Jeffrey Reiner. While the 13-episode 12 Monkeys uses the Gilliam film (itself an adaptation of Chris Marker’s 1962 short film La Jetée) as the basis for its plot, the show is expected to explore its own unique directions.
In July, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Matals told reporters at the Television Critics Association summer press tour that his creative team wanted to pursue a “gritty time-traveling show” and frame the series “closer to a thriller.”
“It’s a complete reimagining,” he said. “We were all big fans of the original film and had a deep love and respect for the material. We didn’t want to just redo what the movie does.”
Executive producer and showrunner Natalie Chaidez emphasized the time travel element, noting that the series will include trips to World War I and the 1980s.
12 Monkeys also stars Kirk Acevedo (as Cole’s friend Ramse) and Noah Bean (as Cassandra’s lover, political insider Aaron Marker). Emily Hampshire will play math genius/psych ward dweller Jennifer Goines, a female version of character Jeffery Goines (played by Brad Pitt in the Gilliam film).
On Monday, Syfy announced a partnership with Philips’ Hue home lighting for an innovative system that uses LED bulbs to wirelessly connect with users’ modems to change color. According to Entertainment Weekly, 12 Monkeys will offer fans a “Syfy sync app,” which offers a custom light show synched up to content from the show.