Fox, Rob Thomas Developing Modern-Day Take on Les Misérables: Are You Excited or Horrified?

Les Misérables TV SeriesRob Thomas dreamed a dream, and it apparently involved bringing Les Misérables to the small screen.

The man behind Veronica Mars is developing an hour-long drama series for Fox inspired by Victor Hugo’s iconic novel.

According to Deadline, the project — penned by actor-writer Graham Norris — would be set in modern day and center on a brilliant, noble lawyer navigating high society and manage his tumultuous family and romantic life, all while staying one step ahead of a ruthless U.S. Attorney who refuses to let the ghosts of the past die.

The news comes as Les Misérables is in the midst of a revival, thanks in large part to the recent Oscar-winning feature adaptation. An updated stage version is also set to open on Broadway in early 2014.

Thoughts? Is this going to be a nightmare come true? Or are you keeping an open mind, especially given the project’s impressive pedigree?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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68 Comments
  1. NoChance says:

    I think I’ll go with indifferent.

  2. aa says:

    It’s Rob Thomas, it has to be good.

  3. Seth says:

    As horrified as I was about the modern day Great Expectations pilots last year, let’s hope this goes the same way they did.

  4. Mikaela says:

    Sounds to me like they have a good concept. I’ll wait see what comes of it.

  5. Drew says:

    Could be interesting, but isn’t he also producing a show for USA with Tom Welling?

    The dude needs to cut back a little or else he’s not going to be able to revive Veronica Mars as a series when the time comes.

  6. Mike (@Boofofmichaeld) says:

    ‘Excited or horrified?’ A little of both.

  7. Sam says:

    Cast Bethany Joy Lenz!!!

  8. Martina says:

    I never liked Les Miserables’ premise, but because of Rob Thomas’ involvement I’m keeping an open mind. I think I’ll decide whether to watch it depening on who gets casted.

  9. anon says:

    Would be awesome if Fox lets it live long enough.

  10. J says:

    I am both excited and horrified.

  11. Carmen says:

    I trust Rob. I have never watched any Les Mis before…but I may watch this.

  12. Sara B. says:

    I don’t understand! I mean, “a brilliant, noble lawyer navigating high society and manage his tumultuous family and romantic life” sound so much like… Marius!! It’s going to be Marius-centric? But ” a ruthless U.S. Attorney who refuses to let the ghosts of the past die” sounds like a lawyer!Javert. But… what about Valjean?

    I won’t complain too much, I love Marius. But I don’t understand the concept yet.

    • Catherine says:

      Valjean would be the lawyer, I presume. Marius might be noble, but in no version of Les Mis is he ever “brilliant.”
      That said, I’d love to see what they’ll do with Les Amis d’ABC. In both the book and the musical, they were always the most interesting characters to me, and could really benefit most from the added room for character development that a TV show gives. Most people who have only seen the show barely even know that any of the boys have names (other than Enjolras and Marius). Maybe a group of political activists who are a thorn in the side of the government?

      • S. B. says:

        They don’t give him enough credit. He did learn two languages all by himself. And he wrote beautiful things that could make Cosette fall in love with one letter. And he learned all about Napoleon in books, without any help. He leaves a total confortable life to follow his own convictions and he’s not scared to face a world he actually doesn’t know pretty well. He’s socially awkward and he doesn’t have much experience in life, but he’s no fool.

        That said, I’d love to see Les Amis too! They’re my favorite characters, I’d love to see Courfeyrac as Marius’ roommate, and Enjolras, Combeferre and Courfeyrac as best friends, leading the group. And of course, I’d love to hear a modern cinic Grantaire, Jehan poetry and Joly’s sickness.

  13. Amz says:

    Rob Thomas is trying to find ways to work with Amanda Seyfried again! If she does actually appear in this then it has potential.

  14. Becky says:

    Well. I don’t know. On the one hand, I love the musical so much. But on the other. I might be okay with it IF they keep Les Amis de l’ABC. I need my Enjolras, the Chief, Combeferre, the Guide, and Courfeyrac, the Center. I also need Joly and Bossuet and Jehan and all of my barricade boys! It’s not Les Mis without them!

  15. Amanda says:

    It is interesting. I like “Les Mis” and love Rob Thomas’ “Veoronica Mars”. The premise doesn’t sound bad and Rob did say on his Twitter it would be about a modern day Valjean and Javert. I hope too Enjolras is in it too and would be funny to see if Aaron Tveit would play the role again, but his show “Graceland” will probably get a second season and I don’t know if he’d do it. LOL

  16. Sara says:

    Just to clarify, it is based off the novel, not the musical, correct?

  17. Sarah B says:

    Hey, as long as they keep the cute student revolutionaries, I’m all for it! :-) They could have them all hang out at the local bar…or student union…

  18. Emily says:

    I’m horrified that it seems to be a procedural, but I’d be willing to give it a try if it includes characters like Cosette, Fantine and Eponine – and does them justice. I’m not really interested in a cat-and-mouse game between two men who hate each other but will also have unresolved sexual tension that will never actually amount to anything.

    Les Mis is about the struggle for justice and equality, so I see how being a defendant of poor clients might convey that. But it feels like it’s missing a real movement it can get behind, if that makes sense. I think a contemporary version would best be set elsewhere in the world.

  19. Revenge worked pretty well as a modern Count of Monte Cristo in season 1. I’ll stay optimistic.

    • wordsmith says:

      Those were my thoughts exactly. Revenge is Count of Monte Cristo, House was Sherlock Holmes and Sons of Anarchy is Hamlet, and they all work really well because they take the general plot and then go in their own direction.
      Trying to replicate or reinterpret every single character and event would be a mistake, but the broader themes are timeless.

  20. murley says:

    Rob Thomas has proven himself and the story of Les Mis speaks for itself. I am optimistic and hopeful.

  21. alistaircrane says:

    As much as I love Veronica Mars, I wouldn’t watch this.

  22. Clayton says:

    I don’t know how successful this would be as a series. Les Miserables is exactly as the title suggests – it’s a story that is tragic and really doesn’t get better. Despite its sort of happy ending, the main character still died and tragically broke the young girls heart. I digress, I don’t think that this a story that could be stretched out for multiple seasons. If it were a mini-series, I’d be on board.

  23. Erika says:

    I suppose it depends on how much of the book is being adapted. Thanks to the novel being around 1000 pages in length, adaptations tend to leave a fair amount of the story out.

    Even though this is planned as a modern-day adaptation, doing it as a series gives it the potential to do the whole story, not just the best-known parts.

  24. ben says:

    To me, the heart of Les Mis is in the fact that Valjean is given a free pass at the start of the story and pays it forward. It’s a story of redemption and unearned mercy. One of the most interesting dynamics between Valjean/Javert was the fact Valjean could have ended the pursuit but let Javert survive to keep chasing him. If this dynamic is kept at the core of the show, if the lawyer is a guy trying to do the right thing even when others are trying to bring him down, I think it can work very well.

    • Becky says:

      Nonononononono. The heart of Les Mis is the Student Rebellion in the beginning of Volume 3 Marius of the book through the chapter 23 “Orestes Fasting and Pylades Drunk” of Volume V Jean Valjean Book First “The War between Four Walls”. Without Les Amis de l’ABC we would have no story. The entire story was inspired by the real June rebellion. So really, Enjolras, Combeferre, and Courfeyrac, as well as Jehan and Bossuet or, and my personal favorite, Grantaire, and the other barricade boys are important and need to be in the TV show. Jean Valjean and Javert are important, but people neglect the barricade boys who aren’t Marius and it makes me sad.

      • Rose says:

        Hear hear! Just thinking about “Orestes Fasting” makes me tear up a little.

        • S. B. says:

          And Pylades drunk T_T

          Give us Orestes and Pylades, and I’ll watch it!

          • Becky says:

            “”Finish both of us at one blow.” said he (Grantaire). And turning gently to Enjolras, he said to him: “Do you permit it?” Enjolras pressed his hand with a smile. The smile was not finished when the report sounded.” I need all the EnjolrasxGrantaire subtext. It’s so obvious in the book that R is in love with Enj and that needs to be in the show because it’s a modern adaptation, which means unlike Hugo we can actually explore the gay subtext, and it’s on Fox, the home of Glee, so we have no excuse to not explore it since Glee has many gay relationships on it, and I really need to see R swooning over Enj during a speech and Enj being completely oblivious to it.

  25. PEL says:

    I am French, I can only be horrified by this.

  26. Marco says:

    It could work… after all, Revenge is a modern adaptation of The Count Of Montecristo. I just hope the ‘Javert’ character won’t be portrayed as a straight villain, because that’s not what he is.

  27. Evyn says:

    I hope it will include Les Amis, other then that just wait and sea, until there is more info

  28. Alice says:

    Why must we keep re-doing stories? Sherlock Holmes and Elementary, all the CSI and NCIS spin-offs, even Broadway has to redo movies or books (Legally Blonde, Matilda, Ghost, Spiderman) because they can’t come up with original plots, characters and motivations. I would rather have fewer things on air than have countless copies, make overs, and US/UK versions of the same show. Not to say that original material is always better, but at least it is new, refreshing, and attempting to discuss a theme or point which hasn’t already been done to death; and Les Mis has definitively been done to death.

    What new intellectual points are going to be added to the already large back material with this ‘update’? I’m sorry, but if I wanted Les Miserables, I would just read the original book.

    • oragne says:

      this was my first thought as well. All these modern day stories based on classics is getting old and very unoriginal. I think this new show sounds pretty dumb actually.

  29. Alia says:

    Rob Thomas is awesome, obviously, but how exactly is this going to work without the French Revolution? Is he just leaving that part out of it?

  30. rawleygirl says:

    I love Rob Thomas but no. He does tend to take missteps (ahem 90210) and this sounds like it’ll be another one.

  31. Lauren says:

    In terms of the Barricade Boys – Occupy Wall Street?
    Honestly I just hope the younger cast is included – Eponine, Enjolras, Grantaire in particular. The ‘tumultuous family and romantic life’ gives me a bit of pause.
    To be honest I’m absolutely terrified. I really wish this was on HBO or at least cable, being on Fox does not give me much faith it will be good. I will watch it regardless, but I really hope it doesn’t hurt me.
    A modernised Les Mis COULD be really cool depending on how its done and how close to the story they get. If they just have Valjean as a lawyer and Javert as a US Attorney who knew him as a young criminal and that’s it I won’t enjoy it. If they include the other storylines of Les Amis de l’ABC and the Cosette/Marius/Eponine triangle, the Thenardiers, it will definitely interest me more. Hmm, wonder how the Thenardiers will be done?
    I’m more of a musical fan than a book fan – I have yet to read the book, although it is on my to read list, but the I am a huge musical theatre fan and Les Mis is my favourite musical. If they ruin it I will be massively upset.

  32. Alan says:

    i love rob thomas’ work but im really starting to get sick of all the bandwagon jumping happening at the minute, reimaginings and reboots are good but with so many coming in such a short space of time it feels like there is no place left for originality in tv and film anymore, so for me this is a huge “meh”.

  33. hurdingkatz says:

    I remember The Fugitive (I mean the TV show). That, too, was a take on Les Misérables (and a unique way to do what was essentially an anthology series, to boot).

  34. Ann says:

    If it’s Rob Thomas, then I’ll definitely give it a try!

  35. redjane12 says:

    The first time I heard of a show about a ‘teenage PI’ I thought ‘ugh!’ but Veronica Mars turned out amazing so who knows… Les Miserables redo could be less weird than it sounds in principle esp if the usual VM / Party Down usual suspects get cast…

    • kimera warner says:

      IS CHRIST the origanal getting the part to judge the ghosts performance upon the story ? say yes=and my bet is tha ll be plenty eyes on the continued showing

  36. Georgia says:

    I’d love to see Aaron Tveit and George Blagden reprise their roles as Enjolras and Grantaire!:’)
    I also think that Samantha Barks would make an excellent modern Eponine!

  37. no says:

    no. the book is amazing and nothing will ever do it justice, not the musical, not movies and certainly not a modern day tv show. maybe if it were canon-era and every line were there, but still, i prefer my imagination for characters. if you want modern aus for les mis then read fanfiction or go see somebodies cosplay blogs, there are heaps that are completely amazing. i sincerely hope that there won’t actually a les miserables television show

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