Friday, February 11, 2011

Syfy closes deal for Houdini/Conan Doyle TV series

Well, this is interesting. Hot on the news that DreamWorks had acquired the Houdini/Conan Doyle mash-up, Voices from the Dead, comes word that the Syfy network has made a deal to produce a TV series with the exact same premise.

Deadline Hollywood reports that Syfy will produce Among the Spirits, a dramatic series about Houdini and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle solving mysteries in the 1920s. "I guess there is something in the air about that whole time period and that very interesting relationship between Houdini and Doyle," said Syfy's president of original programming Mark Stern.

Among the Spirits is based on self-published graphic novel of the same name by writers Steve Valentine and Paul Chart. Deadline reports that the series will be in the vein of steampunk TV classic The Wild Wild West and Guy Ritchie's 2009 movie Sherlock Homes. It will center on Houdini and Doyle who, with the help of a female cop, try to solve bizarre murders and strange occurrences that look like hauntings and other supernatural events using steampunk technology.

Says Stern, "We have Houdini, who was the ultimate illusionist and was all about creating illusions, and Dolyle, who was all about getting to the truth underneath - the dreamer and the pragmatist - set against that 1920s world of America where technology is just starting to grow."

E1 Entertainment will produce Among the Spirits with Chart and Valentine writing as well as producing with Daniel J. Frey.


  1. The Houdini/Doyle connection is seemingly an endless source of material.

  2. "solving mysteries in the 1920s", "using steampunk technology"

    Well, at the risk of being picky...aren't the 1920's just a little late to be concerned with 'steampunk' technology?

    Oh, and Doyle "was all about getting to the truth underneath"...really?

  3. Hilarious misunderstanding by Stern of Houdini and Doyle regarding psychic phenomena.

    In the Margery case, when scientists were on the verge of awarding her the Scientific American prize, it was Houdini who decided to apply the scientific method, formulate a hypothesis for the phenomena, and test it: The table tips. Maybe she sticks her head under the edge and lifts it. I'll check by putting my hand under the table. Oh, look, there's her head.

    Doyle is shown photos of fairies, taken by young girls, in which the fairies exactly match illustrations in a book. Holy cow, fairies exist!

  4. It is surprising how many people misunderstand both Houdini AND Doyle on this issue. That article in Scientific American said it all really.

  5. I have to agree with Raymond's comment, the 1920s is kind of out of the 'steampunk' time frame. And I agree with everyone else as well, Houdini and Doyle didn't really see eye to eye on this phenomenon. Houdini investigated phenomenon, Doyle saw it as proof that these strange things were real. He may have written Sherlock Holmes but he was not Holmes in real life.

  6. Looks like a neat work of fiction to create yet more myths about Houdini and Doyle. Like Dean said, Doyle was no Holmes, and like Eric said, Houdini took the scientific rather than the superstitious approach to psychic phenomena. Doyle was all about the latter approach...which is funny, considering he was clearly a bright guy.