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WALKING DEAD’s David Morrissey In Encore’s THORNE Movies
Fans of the villainous Governor from AMC’s The Walking Dead might wanna get their cable companies to hook them up with Encore if they don’t already have it. David Morrissey, who plays this “ultimate villain” on America’s most beloved zombie program, will soon star in a “two-part crime drama event” on that cable network, which is press-release speak for “a couple of TV movies.”
Of course, this is premium cable, which means we’re far from the silly made-for-TV days of Quinn Martin and his ilk. And though the Starz/Encore family is still a relative newcomer to original programming, we here at the Complex have little reason to believe they won’t deliver on quality. The first season of Starz’ Boss alone put any doubts on that score to rest. And though these films were originally produced for the BBC, it is good to know that these flicks will be coming to Encore, a channel that does not edit or censor their movies, but which one doesn’t (or at least, not with my cable package) have to pay a lot extra for.
Detective Inspector Tom Thorne is a tough, driven cop who tends to specialize in serial killers. On the face of it, this doesn’t sound all that different from the one hundred and one other similar fictional detectives. But the source material in this case is particularly sound, Mark Billingham’s Thorne novels being extremely well-written, with a strict emphasis on the growth of the central character. No paint-by-numbers Bone Collector-type stuff here.
Personally, I didn’t much care for the Walking Dead comic book, and so have yet to watch the show. But Morrissey was in the Red Riding movies of a couple years ago, which certainly speaks well for him. The Walking Dead is Morrissey’s first big American break, and it seems to be going well so far, and hopefully these Thorne flicks will up his profile some.
Sandra Oh is more or less a household name herself, given her stint on the popular medical drama Gray’s Anatomy and her fondly remembered role in 2004′s Sideways. Oh will be starring alongside Morrissey in Thorne: Scaredy Cat (the original story of which is actually inspired by the time author Billingham and his writing partner were kidnapped and held hostage by some thugs in a hotel room in Manchester). Oh has never disappointed, and it’s good to see her in something crime-y for a change.
Mark Billingham, upon whose books Thorne: Sleepyhead and Thorne: Scaredy Cat are based, can never have his profile upped enough, in our humble opinion. Billingham is a top writer, and his Thorne novels are crime bestsellers. He’s also a fairly accomplished TV writer, actor, and stand-up comedian, and Cameron, Matt, and I saw him speak a few times at Bouchercon 2010 and can attest that the guy is razor-sharp and damn hilarious. The UK already got to see these adaptations of Billingham’s first two Thorne books, and now that the US gets its shot, if there’s any justice in the world, Billingham’s books will sell even better here because of this.
Thorne: Sleepyhead airs on Encore Tuesday, June 12th, at 9 pm Eastern and Pacific, and Thorne: Scaredy Cat airs at the same time on Wednesday, June 13th.