“Mockingbird Lane” is, or at this point perhaps was, one of NBC’s higher profile TV projects, a remake of the 1964-1966 CBS sitcom “The Munsters” developed and written by “Pushing Daisies” creator Bryan Fuller and directed by Bryan Singer (“X-Men,” “The Usual Suspects”).
Jerry O’Connell stars as Herman Munster, Portia de Rossi plays Lily and Eddie Izzard is Grandpa. The $10 million pilot has been in development at the network for two years, and was on the fall schedule until February, when it was pushed to 2013 “in order to give it extra attention,” according to Variety.
NBC was reportedly considering scrapping the expensive venture entirely, but now has decided to air the pilot as a Halloween special on Friday, October 26th at 8pm, before “Grimm.” In a press release that went out today, the network offered the following description of the episodes:
In “Mockingbird Lane,” sweet little Eddie Munster (Mason Cook) is a normal kid about to enter the horrors of puberty. Truth is, he’s about to discover that for him becoming a teenager means growing hair in truly unexpected places — as in all over his body — every time the moon is full! Eddie’s got it pretty good though. His loving, supportive, run-of-the-mill family includes his mom Lily (de Rossi), the daughter of Dracula; his dad Herman (O’Connell), who brings new meaning to “Frankenstein”; and Grandpa (Izzard), who would give Dracula a run for his money if he weren’t actually Dracula! Of course then there’s creepy cousin Marilyn (Charity Wakefield), who’s really the odd one because she’s so completely normal.
Buying a house these days is a nightmare, so Herman and Lily are shocked that no one scooped up the rambling Victorian mansion at 1313 Mockingbird Lane that was the site of a series of grisly hobo murders. Settling into their new place, they’re quickly onto the mission at hand: to gently ease Eddie into the reality of his werewolf adolescence. But it’s not always so easy to accept that your child is a little “different” from the rest of the kids. Meanwhile, Herman, who works as a funeral director, is suffering from a heart condition. Since he’s made up mostly of spare parts, he knew his makeshift heart would eventually give out. No worries though, because Grandpa, who is pretty good at procuring body parts, is on the case. All Herman cares about is finding a new heart with the same capacity to love Lily as much as he has for so many decades.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Fuller and Singer differed with regard to the visual style of the pilot, and Fuller wanted the series to take place in a more heightened, whimsical world like the one in “Pushing Daisies” while the network demanded the Munsters exist in the present day real one. Fuller’s now moved on to NBC’s “The Silence of the Lambs” prequel series “Hannibal,” which unlike “Mockingbird Lane” was given a straight-to-series order (David Slade’s directing the first episode).
In the very least, it’ll be interesting to watch the pilot and see what’s left of this most-fiddled with and reworked project, even if the series never progresses beyond that.