In a relatively unprecedented move, Fox Network has allowed the un-picked up pilot for the adaptation of Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez’s comic Locke &n Key to be aired not once but twice, at both the San Diego Comic-Con 2011 and this past Friday at the New York Comic-Con.
IDW Publisher Ted Adams was on hand to introduce the fully-produced episode (with the exception of credits), but there was no opportunity for a Q&A before or after. No word was given about the interest MTV had shown in the property, but those in attendance were told that show-runner Josh Friedman could be contacted via Twitter (@Josh_Friedman) if people had any questions.
The Locke & Key Pilot does a perfect job of capturing the creepy and tragic atmosphere of the comic. The added dimension of putting the story on screen is enhanced by spectacular cast including Miranda Otto, as Nina Locke and Jesse McCartney as Tyler Locke. The one-hour pilot covered most of the first arc of the comic, from Rendell Locke’s death, the relocation to Key House, Bode’s discovery of the Ghost Key, Sam Lester’s escape from prison and his attempts to find the Anywhere and Omega Keys. As an hour of television introducing a serial drama, the pilot works on every level. The performances from Otto and McCartney were especially good, and at times McCartney looked as if he stepped off of one of Rodriguez’s pages, complete with slumped shoulders, dour scowl and pulled up hoodie. While Sarah Bolger didn’t exactly look as close to the part as Kinzie, she’s a great actress and captured the essence of the character, as did Skyler Gaertner who played Bode. Ksenia Solo who played Dodge (although she wasn’t named as such in the pilot, just referred to as an Echo) was perfectly creepy and the supernatural elements of the story were handled perfectly. The effects were excellent and didn’t seem as if they would make the budget for the show untenable.
It would’ve been very interesting to see how a weekly adaptation of Locke and Key would’ve played out on a weekly basis, given how much ground was covered in the pilot. It’s possible Friedman and company would’ve found some other avenues to play with (which the world of Locke & Key clearly presents them with). There were a couple of things in the pilot that I didn’t remember from the first arc of the series and I don’t think I’ve seen since, so I wonder what kind of added dimensions they were going to try for.
As the months go by it seems increasingly unlikely that the pilot will be picked up. There had been some attention from MTV recently but news has been quiet on that front almost as soon as it surfaced. It’s been said that the reactions to the screenings at the two shows will be playing a factor into the decision to pick up the show. I can’t imagine anyone who hasn’t read the series watching the pilot and not wanting to know more about these characters and what lies in store for them. The Locke & Key pilot gets a 4.5 out of 5 and it’s the best pilot of the new television season that I’ve seen this fall. It’s a real shame that most people won’t get a chance to enjoy it themselves.