’12 Monkeys’ TV spin-off will premiere on Syfy next year

13-episode reimagining of Terry Gilliam's cult sci-fi to air in the US from January 16, 2015

The TV spin-off from Terry Gilliam’s cult sci-fi 12 Monkeys will air on SyFy next year. The 13-episode first season will premiere on January 16. A UK air date is yet to be confirmed.

Gilliam’s 1995 cult sci-fi film starred Bruce Willis as convict Cole sent back in time to gather information about a man-made virus that wiped out most of humanity. Aaron Stanford (Nikita, X-Men 2) will play Cole in the TV show while Emily Hampshire (Rookie Blue) will play Jennifer Goines, a female version of Brad Pitt’s original mental patient character Jeffrey Goines.

For the 1995 film Gilliam adapted his story from the 1962 French drama La Jetee directed by Chris Marker but in an interview with Screen Daily the director called the TV show “a very dumb idea”. He said he believed it could only be a success if the original writers (David and Janet Peoples) were involved.

Speaking on a press tour in July the show’s writer and producer Terry Matalas said: “I think it’s a complete sort of reimagining. We were all very, very big fans of the original film and had a deep love and respect for that material. So when we talked about this, we didn’t want to just re-do what the movie does. We changed the rules in the movie.

“[In the movie] you can’t actually change time, and here you can. So everything from the top down changed, from Cole’s character to Dr. Railly’s character [played by Amanda Schull from Suits] to some new characters, Ramse [played by Kirk Acevedo from Fringe] and Aaron [Noah Bean]. So the story, while it has a lot of the same themes, it’s very different.”

Matalas said it took five years to get the show off the ground but feels that audiences trained on the time travel trickery of Back to the Future and Lost will be ready for the show. Watch the trailer below.