Will JJ Abrams’ New TV Show “Demimonde” Be HBO’s Replacement for “Game of Thrones”?

Matthew Loffhagen
JJ Abrams
(Photo: JJ Abrams)

After a long, protracted bidding war with Apple TV, HBO has won the opportunity to work with JJ Abrams in developing his brand new television series, “Demimonde”.

The show marks Abrams’ triumphant return to television after a decade away – or, at least, it would, if Abrams actually intended to get personally involved with the project. Considering how busy the acclaimed director and producer is at the moment, it’s hard to imagine him spending much time on this project.

After all, if you’re simultaneously making both a “Star Wars” and a “Star Trek” movie (admittedly with help from Quentin Tarantino), why would you waste time working on a television series?

Fringe
Source: Bad Robot

That said, Abrams’ production company Bad Robot has attracted some impressive talent lately, and it’s clear that the plan is to build up Abrams’ extended family of directors to such a point that even if he’s not personally working on a movie or a show, his name carries enough weight to convey a sense of quality regardless.

As a concept, “Demimonde” sounds fairly interesting. The title is a French world which means a half-world, so it seems like we’re dealing with a Narnia kind of situation here. According to The Verge:

“In the series, a scientist falls into a coma after an accident. Looking through her experiments, her daughter is transported to another world. Her father follows, and they discover a ‘battle against a monstrous, oppressive force’.”

That certainly sounds fun. In fact, it sounds like the perfect kind of large-scale fantasy epic that HBO is going to want to have on the books once “Game of Thrones” wraps up.

Game of Thrones Dany
Source: HBO

It looks like “Demimonde” will be a stop-gap of sorts for the network as they work on a spin-off for “Game of Thrones”, as well as a contingency plan in case audiences don’t show much interest in Westeros once Peter Dinklage is no longer gracing TV screens.

Certainly, it’s likely that the prospect of a phenomenally huge budget is probably going to help encourage Abrams to get back into the TV game, especially if he’s going to have the freedom to do whatever he wants with the show (even if, ultimately, he’ll probably outsource all the actual storytelling to someone else).

The path to making a hit show doesn’t seem easy, though. Considering the delays involved in the production of “Westworld” season two, as well as the upcoming final season of “Game of Thrones”, it seems that HBO’s future business model will involve relying on several big budget shows that only pop up on the radar every few years for some movie-quality adventure.

Westworld James Marsden
Source: HBO

In other words, HBO is aiming to be the anti-Marvel, making TV shows that feel more like movies, instead of movies that feel more like TV shows.

This being the case, it’s possible that the network might not imagine “Demimonde” being anything special at all; simply another big budget spectacle that comes and goes once every few years among a sea of other engaging programs.

It might be for the best if HBO keeps up this attitude, and banking on JJ Abrams to come up with long-term plans for a saga never goes well.

It’s probably for the best if Abrams doesn’t do too much on “Demimonde”. Generally speaking, whenever he’s required to stop teasing his audience and actually provide some answers to his ridiculous mysteries, the results are anything but satisfying.