With the blockbuster success of superhero and comic book-themed feature films, television has tried to emulate the genre to varying degrees of success. NBC will helm the latest attempt, as the network has put a high-concept drama entitled Hench into development. Produced by Peter Berg and Sarah Aubrey's Film 44 and Universal TV, Hench tells the story of an average joe who has trouble supporting his family and starts working as a henchman for supervillains.
Although the Deadline source doesn't mention any comic book roots for the series, a graphic novel with the same title and a similar premise was published in 2004 and a feature film based on the book was put into development at Warner Bros. five years later, with Eastbound and Down's Danny McBride set to star as the titular character. There hasn't been any word on the movie adaptation since 2009 and it is unclear if this project is related in any way.
Hench will reunite the creative team of Berg, Audrey, and writer Alexandra Cunningham, as they worked together on NBC's American version of the iconic British drama Prime Suspect and attracted Maria Bello as the lead. Despite its struggles in the ratings, the US Prime Suspect was well-received by critics and became a favorite among network executives, who elected to extend Cunningham and Film 44's overall deals in March.
The concept behind Hench is an intriguing one with myriad possibilities, limited only by the imaginations of the show's creators. The same could be said for NBC's last attempt to cash in on the comic book craze, superhero drama The Cape, and that turned out to be a disappointing exercise in wasted opportunity. Can NBC redeem itself with Hench?