I have a tendency to write a little too breathlessly about projects in development at HBO. So it is important for me to learn that like every other network, HBO passes on some series, no matter how great the talent attached. Variety reports the network passed on The Corrections, the adaptation of the bestselling Jonathan Franzen book about “the troubles of a Midwestern couple and their three adult children as they trace their lives from the mid-20th century to ‘one last Christmas’ together near the turn of the millennium.” Writer/director Noah Baumbach (Greenberg) had assembled a stellar cast in Ewan McGregor, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Rhys Ifans, Dianne Wiest, Chris Cooper, and Greta Gerwig. McGregor, a man of taste and distinction, praised the scripts by Baumbach and Franzen, saying the “lovely writing” convinced him to spend four months of each of the next four years exploring this character. They shot the pilot in February, but alas, the pieces apparently did not come together in a way that met the HBO standard. For more on what we’re missing out on, hit the jump for the full book synopsis.
After almost fifty years as a wife and mother, Enid Lambert is ready to have some fun. Unfortunately, her husband, Alfred, is losing his sanity to Parkinson’s disease, and their children have long since flown the family nest to the catastrophes of their own lives. The oldest, Gary, a once-stable portfolio manager and family man, is trying to convince his wife and himself, despite clear signs to the contrary, that he is not clinically depressed. The middle child, Chip, has lost his seemingly secure academic job and is failing spectacularly at his new line of work. And Denise, the youngest, has escaped a disastrous marriage only to pour her youth and beauty down the drain of an affair with a married man-or so her mother fears. Desperate for some pleasure to look forward to, Enid has set her heart on an elusive goal: bringing her family together for one last Christmas at home. [Amazon]
If the series went forward, the plan was to turn the 576 pages of The Corrections into four 10-episode seasons. As a big fan of McGregor and Baumbach, I was really looking forward to watching them team up in this format with this cast. Oh, well. HBO is responsible for more than their fair share of the quality programming on television right now, with The Newsroom and True Detective still waiting in the wings.