As discussed recently in the TV discussion thread, here's the contest parameters:
1) Declare what network your show is best suited for
2) Establish the genre (comedy, drama, something else) and duration (number of episodes, length of episodes) for your series.
3) Build the cast — There won't be strictly defined rules here, but the chosen actors should fulfill most of these criteria:
– The actors must be people you could plausibly envision doing regular TV work. No casting huge movies stars that are unlikely to commit to such a project at the current stage of their career.
– Cast something like 8 to 10 people for your show. There should be a reasonable balance of lead, secondary and supporting actors. Don't make a show with four big-name actors unless you can really justify a time-share for lead acting.
– Actors chosen should be restricted to those not currently attached to a major television show. Exceptions can be made if the actor's current show is some sort of miniseries/limited run series or he/she is utilized in a small, recurring role on a current show. Ideally, your chosen cast will consist mostly of out-of-work or under-utilized TV actors. Use your best judgment to determine who qualifies.
4) Give a brief description of each character you create.
5) Describe the general premise of your series, including what the pilot episode might entail. Provide 3 to 4 additional plot lines or major themes that might be explored during the show's first season.
6) Explain what currently-existing TV shows might serve as influences for your hypothetical series to give a better sense of the show's format, style, tone and visual presentation.
A few more caveats:
– Avoid reassembling more than two cast members from a single actual TV show.
– The premise of your show doesn't necessarily have to be wholly new and original. You could, for instance, make the show a loose adaptation of sorts from a book or something, though I'd hope you put your own spin on it.
– Include details on the format of the show when applicable. Example: Single camera vs. Multi-cam
– Make sure you detail the setting of the show, both location and time period.
Any questions. I'm not going to moderate this whole contest. I'm just posting the initial details to get it rolling, as requested.
Please let me know if anything else needs to be added.
Genre: Period Drama
Duration: 1 Season (10 episodes)
Cast: Daniel Burnham – David Keith John Root – Michael Chiklis Charles Atwood – Paul Giamatti George Ferris – Giovanni Ribisi Louis Sullivan – James Frain Richard Morris Hunt – William Hurt Frederick Law Olmsted – Larry Hankin
HH Holmes – Adam Brody Benjamin Pitezel – Corin Nemec Frank Geyer – Jonathan Frakes Thomas Barlow – Art LaFleur Carter Harrison – John Mahoney Patrick Prendergast – Jimmi Simpson
Thomas Edison – Diedrich Bader JP Morgan – Brian Howe Nikola Tesla – Tim Blake Nelson George Westinghouse – Michael Cudlitz
Characters: Daniel Burnham - Chief architect behind the Chicago World's Fair
John Root - Burnham's architecture partner
Charles Atwood - Head of design following Root's death
George Ferris - creator of the Ferris Wheel
Louis Sullivan - main rival of Burnham within the Chicago architecture world
Richard Morris Hunt - one of the most well respected and sought after architects of the time. Brought along many NYC architects to assist with the building of the White City. His most popular work is probably the Biltmore Estate.
Frederick Law Olmsted - chief landscape architect for the Fair. Other works include Central Park and the estate grounds at the Biltmore house in Asheville, NC.
HH Holmes - Recognized as America's first serial killer. Used the fair to attract people to his "World's Fair Hotel" (later known as the "Murder Castle"). There were 9 confirmed killings, but around 200 people went missing during the fair. Holmes confessed to 27 murders and then recanted. He would kill them in various ways throughout the Murder Castle. Then, using trap doors and secret passageways, move the bodies to the basement, where he housed a dissection table, a rack, and a kiln. Often, he would process the skeletons of his victims to be sold to local universities for medical education and scientific studies.
Benjamin Pitezel - assisted Holmes with various tasks. Only person Holmes trusted with certain secrets. Eventually was killed by Holmes, along with 3 of his children.
Frank Geyer - Detective who traced the killings of the Pitezel children back to Holmes, and eventually Chicago. At the time, Holmes was only in jail for insurance fraud in the death of Benjamin Pitezel.
Thomas Barlow - DA who prosecuted Holmes
Carter Harrison - Mayor of Chicago. Assassinated two days before the end of the Fair.
Patrick Prendergast - Assassinated Mayor Harrison due to not being appointed Corporation Counsel following the Mayor's election to office in 1893. Hanged on July 14, 1894.
Thomas Edison – The Wizard of Menlo Park. Inventor of DC electric systems. Backed by JP Morgan and GE.
JP Morgan – Main backer of Edison’s DC system.
George Westinghouse – Main backer of Tesla’s AC system designs/patents. Severely outbid GE/Morgan/Edison for the rights to light the Fair.
Nikola Tesla – inventor of AC polyphase induction motors and transformers. Made it possible for Zipernowsky, Blathy, and Deri’s AC system to be run on a massive scale.
Englewood, IL, 1892.
A mundane, slightly unorganized office. H. H. Holmes walks up to a large metal vault door and closes it. He turns the lock, steps back, and waits. Faint bumping noises can be heard. Holmes walks to the chair behind his desk, turns it towards the vault, and sits. A shot of Holmes’ face is seen as he begins masturbating to the barely audible screams for help. His victim begins banging a foot against the bottom of the vault door. As Holmes finishes, he turns to his desk, straightens some papers, takes a sip of his coffee, and allows the smallest of grins to creep onto his face.
Englewood, IL, 1886
Holmes disembarks a train and, shortly thereafter, walks into E. S. Holton Drugs to speak with Mrs. Holton. He offers to buy her business and she obliges after speaking with her husband, who is too frail to run the pharmacy any longer. After Holmes fails to pay her the agreed amount, she threatens to take him to court. Before the impropriety can be reported, Mr. and Mrs. Holton mysteriously travel to California, never to be heard from again.
On a slow business day, Holmes is staring out of the window to the street. We see a flashback to his childhood in New Hampshire. A glimpse of an old, abandoned house. Creepy. Worn down. Almost ready to cave in on itself. Two boys run over and past unhinged doors. The floor creaks beneath their feet as they run along at a surprising pace. The older boy out ahead, the younger a few steps behind. Upstairs, the older boy suddenly comes to a stop, swinging his arms to keep from falling through a gash in the floor. A young Herman Webster Mudgett gives him a solid push. As the boy falls onto the pile of bricks below, the screen cuts to black.
A room full of men. Arguing. Making their case. New York City! Washington! St. Louis! Chicago! Each statesman makes the case as to why their city should be chosen to display the greatness of the ever expanding United States. A crowd gathers outside of the Chicago Tribune, anxiously awaiting word as to which city would be chosen to hold the great World’s Columbian Exposition Fair in 1893. As it is announced to the gathered crowd that Chicago has been chosen to host this unprecedented opportunity to show just how far the United States has come, Daniel Burnham and John Root are seen celebrating with fellow Chicagoans in the streets. After being chosen to be lead architect for the fair by the newly created World’s Columbian Exposition Company, Burnham entreats the assistance of renowned landscape architect, Frederick Olmstead, to select the site to build this great city. Burnham sends his good friend, James Ellsworth, to court Olmstead by appealing to his sense of patriotism, pride, and ego. Olmstead accepts the invitation and eventually travels to Chicago to survey the potential Fair sites with Burnham. He leaves, giving his recommendation to two sites while listing the positives and negatives for both.
Meanwhile, Holmes has found someone who catches his eye. Myrta Belknap. Beautiful, curvaceous, and blonde, she proves to be irresistible to the young doctor. While on his train ride to Minneapolis, we see a flashback to a younger Herman, with his first wife, Clara Lovering. They had an infant son. He sees Clara holding their son. She looks at him, smiles, and the breaks on the train begin to whine. Holmes convinces Myrta to come to Chicago with him, where they are married. Upon seeing his daily flirtations with women as they come and go from the pharmacy, Myrta quickly becomes unhappy, withdrawn, and depressed. She moves, with her parents, to Wilmette, Illinois, where she delivers a little girl. Fathered by HH Holmes.
Holmes is rather relieved to be unencumbered by Myrta’s absence and without the responsibilities to which fatherhood would restrict him. He buys a plot of land across the street from his pharmacy. As he lays out his plans for the World’s Fair Hotel, the nefariousness of his design is made plain. Vaults with gas valves. A chute large enough to fit an adult leading from every floor down to the basement. Sub-compartments below the basement for quicklime pits and an acid vat. Various prison rooms: devoid of windows, equipped with airtight doors, fitted with valves hooked to gas lines.
A voice speaks over these plans reading the headline from today’s Chicago Tribune. Jackson Park has been chosen as the site of the world’s fair to be held in 1893. Only two miles from downtown Englewood and the World’s Fair Hotel. What will be later referred to as Murder Castle.
Time is of the essence if the plan is to be carried out in time.
1. Issues/setback in planning and construction of the fair.
2. Holmes’ various victims: up to 20 could be shown throughout the series in conjunction with the Fair timeline.
3. War of the currents between JP Morgan/Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse/Nikola Tesla.
4. Building of the original Ferris wheel.
5. Lead up to and assassination of Mayor Harrison.
6. Holmes’ flee from Chicago and killing of Pitezel and children.
7. The hunt for Holmes’ victims, Holmes’ trial and execution.