ABC’s ‘Unfollow’ Exposes the Ugly Side of Social Media
ABC is about to expand its comic book universe. The network, which is already home to several Marvel-inspired TV shows, is reportedly now developing an adaptation of the Vertigo comic book, Unfollow.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the network has issued a script commitment to the comic-inspired drama. The developing show will follow the events that occur after a secretive billionaire uses the social media platform he invented to make a mysterious global announcement: He is terminally ill and has decided to bestow his entire fortune to a seemingly random sample of 140 people from all around the world. But when one of the inheritors turns up dead, the remaining 139 “winners” realize that they are all suspects — and also the next potential victim.
The original comic was just released in November via DC Entertainment imprint, Vertigo. Written and co-created by Rob Williams and Michael Dowling, the series features a wide-ranging cast of characters, including an Iranian reporter in desperate need of some hope; a retired special forces soldier with an odd sense of purpose; a thrill-seeking heiress; and a young black man trying to get by in St. Louis. It doesn’t take long for the group to realize that the money may not be worth the real price they’re paying.
Per THR, Michael Narducci has signed on to write and executive produce ABC’s version of the comic. Narducci is best known for serving as a showrunner for the CW’s The Originals, which is currently in its third season. He also previously wrote and produced various episodes of The Vampire Diaries.
It’s still relatively early on in the development process, so there’s no word on the rest of the creative team behind the adaptation, but it’s certainly an intriguing choice for ABC. Between the crime aspect and the modern technological aspects, Unfollow sounds like it’ll fit in more with the network’s TGIT line-up than its other comic book-based series.
Still, it’s no surprise the channel would be interested in the prospect of a show exploring the dark side of social media, given how timely the subject matter is. That socially relevant element is exactly what the Unfollow creators were going for, as they explained to THR this past summer.
“I felt that Twitter and social media had a very zeitgeist-y story to tell. Something that felt very now. This is a strange moment in time, I think, where the Internet has become a new frontier and we’re still establishing limitations and dangers,” Williams said of his initial inspiration for the series. “I wanted to encapsulate that in a story that dealt with Twitter culture — people have followers, cults of personality, ruthlessness of ambition.”
For ABC, the project would mark only the latest entry to its rapidly growing comic book-inspired slate. Should Unfollow move to series, it would join Marvel dramas Agents of SHIELD and its spinoff Agent Carter, as well as the company’s upcoming comedy Damage Control. The network is also currently in the process of developing Marvel’s Most Wanted, a series focused on SHIELD characters Mockingbird and Lance Hunter, as well as a top-secret project from American Crime creator John Ridley.