Full disclosure: I am a huge Bryan Fuller fan. Have been since Dead Like Me first aired in… 2004? Yes, I am old. Needless to say, I was super excited when I heard that NBC would actually be airing his latest, Mockingbird Lane, a reboot of the 1960s series The Munsters, as a Hallowe’en special instead of not at all. Here’s the full deal with what is going on with this show: Fuller wrote and directed the pilot, and NBC was not happy with it, and apparently neither was producer Bryan Singer. But Fuller is also working on a Hannibal series for NBC, and so doesn’t have the time to re-shoot. The pilot episode alone was also ridiculously expensive — $10 million. So word was they were just going to take the hit and not order any more episodes. I’m not entirely sure what got them to change their mind, but it was probably that $10 million investment, and they want to make that money somehow by selling the pilot internationally as a special. Not a terrible idea, but it makes Fuller fans like me really sad, because I absolutely LOVED the pilot, and would love to see more.
A quick recap of the episode — littlest Munster Eddie has come “into the family way” as they so charmingly put it, by turning into a werewolf. The premise of the show (if you are not familiar) is that the whole family is made up of Hallowe’en monsters — Grandpa (Eddie Izzard) is a vampire, as is his daughter Lily (Portia De Rossi), I THINK, and her husband Herman is a Frankenstein-type monster. The only member of the family that’s normal is Marilyn, who I believe is a niece. Anyway, Eddie attacks his scout troop during a full moon again, and so the family has to move, and they do, to Mockingbird Lane in San Francisco. Basically the pilot deals with them moving in, and Lily and Herman struggling with telling Eddie about his powers, and Grandpa trying to eat all the neighbours. Eddie Izzard in particular is delightful here, as well as the boy who plays Eddie (newcomer Mason Cook). Some of the critics have complained about not feeling connected to any of the characters, and that they’re all a little too evil and actually monstrous to connect with, but apparently I’m weird because I didn’t feel like that at all. Or I was just too charmed to care.
The visual style of the show is almost exactly like Pushing Daisies — technicolour ’50s- and ’60s-inspired outfits and production design and a LOT of CGI locations. The costumes are amazing, and I want to wear every single thing that Lily Munster puts on her body. I will even tolerate spiders for her amazing cobweb dress. Even the soundtrack sounds like Daisies. Basically, it made me very sad for Pushing Daisies‘ demise, and sad that this show will probably never get picked up as a series. I just want to see more so bad!
The pilot actually did pretty well last night — it came in second overall, and helped with Grimm‘s ratings quite a bit. But whether or not people will stick around after Hallowe’en is a big if. And given Fuller’s schedule and the hefty price tag, the show probably won’t, in spite of the ratings. It’s possible it could attract a cable network, who would be fine with the smaller numbers, but I’m not sure it will given how expensive it’s going to be to make. We’ll keep you posted, but I’m pretty sure this is all of Mockingbird Lane that’s ever going to happen. Let’s all just be glad we got to see it at all.