Are you an Anglophile? Do you like spies? Do you like watching TV? Do you know who Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie are? If yes, then I have some exciting news for you! If no… no, you know what, I’m going to assume you like at least one of those things. There’s just no other option.
Now, what marvelous dream combines England, spies, TV, Hiddleston and Laurie into one neat package? It’s AMC’s future miniseries The Night Manager, which comes to the network by way of the BBC.
There was an intense bidding war for the U.S. airing rights to the show, as I’m sure you can imagine, because not only does it sound great, but it’s based on a John le Carré novel about a night manager at a hotel who is an ex-British soldier and gets involved with a black market weapons operation. Le Carré novels have a long history of being made into both films and television, including Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Constant Gardener and Philip Seymour Hoffman’s final film, A Most Wanted Man.
While we know that Hiddleston and Laurie are involved, it’s not clear what role either one of them is playing. The speculation, however, is that Hiddleston will be the night manager and that Laurie will be the bad guy. It’ll be great seeing Hiddleston as the hero, particularly a reluctant hero after his turn as the villainous Loki in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As for Laurie, it’s clear he can play bad – though maybe not evil – since he did it for eight seasons on House!
Both actors have experience in television – Laurie with the aforementioned, House, and Hiddleston with BBC series Wallander and The Hollow Crown – and as one of the few people who watched both Wallander and House, I can tell you that we’re in for a treat, no matter what the actors’ roles.
The miniseries is speculated to last between six and eight parts, so it won’t be quite as long as the seasons of shows AMC is known for like Mad Man and Breaking Bad. But that makes sense because of the big name actors. Like True Detective, the show is likely using its limited run as an incentive for stars to be on TV but without long-term contracts.
Recently, AMC dropped most of its unscripted programming and announced a plan to focus on scripted works, of which The Night Manager will be part. Since AMC has produced some of the highest regarded television in recent years, I only see this as a good thing, hopefully leading to continued high quality entertainment.
Along with its stars, The Night Manager also has writer David Farr attached. Farr wrote the screenplay for Hanna, the Saoirse Ronan movie about a girl trained by her father to be an assassin, and several episodes of MI-5 – or as it’s known in Britain, Spooks – which is of course about spies for England’s MI-5. As someone who has watched both of those things, I’d say this adaptation is in pretty good hands.
All in all, The Night Manager has everything going for it, and since AMC just finished buying a huge stake in BBC America, maybe we’ll see more series like this in the future. The channel that brought us Breaking Bad and the channel that brought us Orphan Black? Won’t that be great for television?