WGN America is slated to adapt the DC/Vertigo Comics’ ‘Scalped’ series, a Native American crime noir, originally written by Jason Aaron and illustrated by R.M. Guera. for its slate of original programing it is developing, a la AMC or FX. Its first original entry, ‘Salem’ about the infamous witch trials, debuts this coming Sunday.
‘Banshee”s Doug Jung will script and executive produce ‘Scalped’ which is based on the fictitious Oglala Lakota Prairie Rose Indian Reservation in South Dakota and follows its unique inhabitants as they struggle to cope with organized crime, rampant poverty, drug addiction and alcoholism, local politics and the preservation of their cultural identity.
The series was partially inspired by true life events, the 1975 arrest of Native American activist Leonard Peltier for the slaying of two FBI agents during a lethal shootout. In the graphic novel, Peltier is represented in a fictionalized form by Lincoln Red Crow, the President of the Oglala Tribal Council and the Sheriff of the Tribal Police. The main character, however is Dashiell Bad Horse, an undercover FBI agent sent to gather evidence against Red Crow, who– yep– may have killedtwo FBI agents in the 70s when he was a Native American rights activist.
From its launch, ‘Scalped’ was a critically praised series, both for its gritty, tense crime noir storyline, but simply for the fact that the cast was almost entirely Native American. Should the show get picked up, the same could probably be said for the cast, but something tells me, they’ll feel the need to add some Caucasian characters just so as not to lose that audience.
In addition to ‘Scalped’, WGN America is developing ‘Radiant Doors’ a science fiction story about refugees from a devastated future Earth fleeing to the present through the titular gateways; period drama ‘Shadow Land’; ‘Manhattan’ an atomic bomb drama and a miniseries based on the ’10 Commandments’.
‘Scalped’ becomes just one of the latest DC/Vertigo property being developed for this fall. It joins The CW’s ‘The Flash’, ‘Hourman’, and ‘iZombie’, NBC’s ‘Constantine’, AMC’s ‘Preacher’ and Fox’s ‘Gotham’ and ‘League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’.