Jekyll & Hyde coming to ABC

ABC has picked up a pre-pilot concept from Sheldon Turner, co-writer for ABC’s Up in the Air. The show will be an episodic retelling of the classic Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

In the new show, Dr. Grant Hyde is experimenting on himself in an attempt to find a cure for his serious eye condition.

When he goes to sleep, a gregarious and violent version of himself emerges. Apart from the name, that’s pretty much what the original story is about.

That novel, written by Treasure Island author Robert Louis Stevenson, follows a London Lawyer named Gabriel as he investigates the odd occurrences surrounding several murders and their connection to his friend Dr. Henry Jekyll and a strange, deformed man named Hyde. Gabriel discovers eventually that Jekyll and Hyde are indeed the same man, and that it was an experiment of Jekyll’s which produced the monster within him.

Of course any modern audience member already knows the gist of the story, so it’s impossible to do a faithful retelling, there would be no suspense, no mystery at all. Any modern retelling is forced to focus on the ramifications of the dual existence, rather than the mystery of Hyde’s identity.

The move comes right on the heels of an announcement from NBC that they will be producing an episodic retelling of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

No production or release dates have been officially set for Jekyll & Hyde, but the pilot will likely air with the rest of the 2012 pilots.