The Truman Show is joining the ever growing list of movies which are being resurrected for the small screen. Paramount has just announced it’s developing the 1998 movie into a television series soon, i.e. a scripted series not a reality show based on the movie. Although robbed of an Oscar, the film has remained a much loved and still critically acclaimed piece of late 90s cinema, but will it be able to find an audience on the small screen in the 21st century?
The Truman Show is coming to television
The Truman Show is one of those films which has since been called ‘eerily prophetic’. Indeed the 1998 movie seemed to unwittingly predict our current celebrity culture and television viewing. In the film Jim Carey starred as Truman Burbank, who was unknowingly the star of his own reality television programme, The Truman Show. Truman had been taken from birth to be the focus of the 24 hours a day 7 days a week reality show which was watched by the entire world. But as Truman grows older he started to realise that certain aspects of his life were a little strange and repetitive, leading him to question his ‘reality’.
When the film was released in 1998 it was before reality television became one of the dominating feature of our viewing schedules. Its release came just two years before 'Big Brother' debuted on Channel 4 in the UK and kicked started the reality TV trend. Like Truman, 'Big Brother' contestants were filmed 24 hours a day for our viewing pleasure but unlike Truman they were willing to let themselves be the stars of the show. Now ‘reality’ television is everywhere and in many different forms and many of the shows are actually a lot less real that their purported to be.
These shows use a constructed or scripted reality setting to make what’s meant to be real life seem a lot more entertaining, just like Christof did to Truman and like Truman the stars of these shows then end up becoming celebrities in their own right. What’s also interesting about today’s celebrity culture is it seems everybody wants to be a from of Truman. With social media we all have the opportunity to make our own little Truman Show and document our own life 24/7 with constant status updates and photographs. Maybe for many of our generation, the idea that somebody like Truman would want this, might seem the most farfetched concept of the show.
Jim Carrey starred as Truman Burbank
Really there’s been no better time for the story of Truman Burbank to be retold. We’re now living in a world that is not only dominated by reality television, but also social media. It seems our whole generation wants our lives to be documented for the world 24/7, unlike Truman we have a choice, but it seems we’ve said yes. If Paramount can assemble the right team The Truman Show is one movie which really could make a successful transition to television. If they don’t, really it wont harm the film’s reputation too much. A version of The Truman Show in our current times could resonate across generations and be a great piece of social commentary and satire. Although these ‘remakes’ are always tricky to execute properly The Truman Show is one we can really get behind and look forward to watching.
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W atch Jim Carrey chatting to one lucky fan: