Television’s quest to make a modern-day adaptation of everything in the public domain continues apace with a new update of “Wuthering Heights” being developed at NBC.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, “Everwood” creator Greg Berlanti (whose recent USA miniseries “Political Animals” ended last month) is working on a contemporization of Emily Brontë’s 1847 novel about the ill-fated love between Catherine Earnshaw and the brooding Heathcliff. The hourlong drama, which will be written by Tom Donaghy (“The Whole Truth”), is called “Napa” and is set in California wine country, a slightly more welcoming environment than the moorland of the original. Berlanti and Donaghy will executive produce the potential series.
“Wuthering Heights” has been adapted to the big screen many times — “Fish Tank” filmmaker Andrea Arnold’s 2011 version, which for the first time casts a black actor, James Howson, in the role of Heathcliff, is getting a release October 5 from Oscilloscope Pictures. Tom Hardy and his now-fiancée Charlotte Riley played the doomed lovers in a two-part ITV adaptation that aired on PBS’ “Masterpiece Classics” series in 2009. In 2003, MTV tried its own modern-day adaptation of the story in a TV movie that starred Erika Christensen, Mike Vogel, Christopher Masterson and Katherine Heigl.
While at first glance the idea of drawing out Heathcliff and Catherine’s impossible romance over countless episodes sounds like it could be painful, isn’t that the basis of all protracted television couplings? How long did it take Mulder and Scully? And they didn’t even have a farmhouse and class issues to overcome.