Streaming service has moved beyond books and movies to inspire newest TV offering.
If it feels like it’s only a matter of time before your favorite movie or book is adapted for TV, you wouldn’t be wrong. The rate at which the rights to popular content — and their perceived built-in audiences — have been snatched up and developed into a series grows with each passing day.
But Amazon has taken a less traveled route for its latest adaptation, drawing inspiration and a name from the popular horror podcast “Lore.”
Created by Aaron Mahnke, the podcast tells stories of horror and fear through time, all shared through the non-threatening voice of Mahnke himself. “Lore” is a rich storytelling experience if podcasts are your forte, blending digestible nuggets of history-based terror and their context in the larger scope of time. The new six-episode series, appropriately premiering Friday, Oct. 13, taps that same vein to broaden the podcast’s creative reach with narrative flexibility.
With Mahnke’s narration intact, the show is a wicked concoction of Gothic animation, documentary and dramatization — all in support of a theme threading through the episode. The first episode charts stories of the undead, anchored by the 19th century languishing tale of a man (“House of Cards’ Campbell Scott) who watches his family succumb one by one to consumption, only to be told something sinister might be keeping them from staying truly dead.
The podcast usually tells a larger story but accentuates it with snippets of history. The same is done here as the show jumps back and forth from dramatization to historical artifacts. Ultimately, it plays like an effective mixed-media project that works in tandem to piece together a history lesson that’s intended to educate as much as it tries to disturb.
Sure, the dramatizations can feel a bit hokey and like segments pulled from a History channel documentary that plays on a Sunday afternoon, but familiar faces like Scott and Robert Patrick help add a layer of credibility.
Visually, the show is a feast— while often telling stories that will make you want to skip a meal. The documentary portions are fleshed out with beautifully rendered graphics and often unsettling historic photos.
But what fans of this podcast and those pressing play in search of their next binge are coming for are the stories and they are richly presented here — without ever alienating or eliminating the legitimacy of the audio-only source material. They are companions that’s complement one another, filling a void the other’s medium can’t.
Is “Lore” going to revolutionize TV? Absolutely not.
But it could be a valuable exercise in the potential for diversity in the adaptation frenzy besieging TV.
Amazon saw the visual potential to grow from Mahnke’s podcast roots. For a show that so often tackles death’s many forms, there is a lot of life in “Lore.”
Reporter Hunter Ingram can be reached at 910-343-2327 or Hunter.Ingram@StarNewsOnline.com. Hunter is a member of the Television Critics Association.