NBC Turns MUNSTERS Revival Into One-Shot Movie

NBC will air MOCKINGBIRD LANE, the reimagining of the 1960s sitcom that cost $10 million and two years to produce. But instead of doing a full-fledged season, NBC is presenting the two-hour pilot as a stand-alone holiday movie, set to air Oct. 26 at 8 p.m. ET.

Developed by Bryan Fuller, whose impressive (if short-lived) TV resume includes the quirky fan faves PUSHING DAISIES and WONDERFALLS, the new MOCKINGBIRD LANE series would have been an hour-long drama as opposed to a situation comedy. The cast includes Jerry O’Connell as Herman Munster; Portia de Rossi as Lily Munster; Eddie Izzard as Grandpa; Mason Cook as Lily and Herman’s werewolf son, Eddie; and newcomer Charity Wakefield as Marilyn, the “plain” cousin. The premiere was directed by Bryan Singer of the X-Men movies.

As you can tell from these newly released publicity photos, this aborted series was not going to be your grandparents’ MUNSTERS.

I have to admit to being intrigued by the rumored twist on the concept that Fuller came up with: While the original Munsters looked like monsters but acted like regular people, the new version would look (more) normal but act like monsters.

NBC, however, saw things a little differently. Sources told The Hollywood Reporter that network execs wanted the Munsters firmly grounded in a contemporary real-world setting that would lend itself to safe, familiar, fish-out-of-water storylines. Fuller, however, visualized a more stylistic world (more akin to his Daisies). Reshoots failed to impress the NBC suits.

Fuller told fans at this summer’s Comic Con International: San Diego 2012:

“I’m not afraid of reboots and reimaginations, I’m afraid of bad ones. I thought now was a good time to see a show about a family of monsters doing monstrous things. With the pilot, you’ll see it’s about monsters, but also parents trying to craft a way for their child, who’s a little different. There is no traditional family anymore — it doesn’t exist because there are so many different types of families. . Herman, who is essentially a zombie living in a constant state of decay, is married to a person who doesn’t age. This is about embracing the freak of your family and being proud.”

At least fans will get a glimpse at Fuller and Singer’s vision soon. And who knows, it might be such a hit that it becomes traditional Halloween viewing, just like good ol’ Charlie Brown.