WGN is developing a brand new, post-alien invasion, post-apocalyptic series for TV and we can’t contain our excitement. (Bookmark this article, because we’ll post the premiere date & time as soon as it’s available!) The series is called “Roadside Picnic,” and it’s based on an amazing novel by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky. The critically acclaimed 1970s movie, Stalker, is also based on the same book.
Back in September 2015, it was announced that WGN was developing the series. It’s being written by Jack Paglen (of Transcendence) and directed by Alan Taylor (Terminator Genisys, Game of Thrones). Sony and Tribune are partnering to produce it.
It’s based on an acclaimed novel by two Russian brothers (the Strugatskys). The novel is about what happens on Earth after aliens visit and leave behind “zones” where they landed. People called “Stalkers” break into the zones so they can sell the artifacts.
About the Novel, Roadside Picnic
The novel is a science fiction classic. (Buy a copy here.) It centers around a rebel “stalker” who illegally enters the zones to sell alien artifacts. But one day, he and his friend Kirill enter one of the Zones and something goes terribly, terribly wrong. The book has 4.5 stars out of 238 reviews on Amazon. One reviewer said that back then, Soviet science fiction was dark, surreal, and ironic. (Kind of like post-apocalyptic TV shows now, so it should fit right in!) The main character quit being a stalker after some friends died but goes back into the business when a prize he can’t resist is dangled in front of him…a prize that grants your deepest wish.
It’s unclear just how much the TV series will be based on the book. But considering how acclaimed and loved the book is, we suggest reading the book now.
About the Movie, Stalker
The novel also inspired a movie made in 1979 called “Stalker.” (Buy a copy here.) The movie also has 4.5 stars on Amazon. It was produced by Andrei Tarkovsky, who also created the much-acclaimed movie Solaris. (The first one, not the lesser-liked reboot.) According to Amazon, the movie is slower-paced, so you must go into it wide awake and ready for a deeply unsettling but slower-moving tale, a “mind bending experience that defies explanation.”
About the Video Game Series, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.
The book not only inspired a movie and now a TV series, but it also inspired a video game series called S.T.A.L.K.E.R. These are first-person shooter “horror survival” games developed in the Ukraine for Windows. Unlike the movie and series, they are only loosely based on the novel Roadside Picnic. They’re set in an alternate reality where there was a second Chernobyl explosion from a secret experiment that causes strange changes in the world, which are now designated “Zones.” S.T.A.L.K.E.R.S. enter the zones to grab artifacts and sell them.
You can still buy the first game, Shadow of Chernobyl, on Amazon here.
When Does Roadside Picnic Begin on WGN?
We don’t know yet exactly when Roadside Picnic will begin on WGN, but we’ll add the info here as soon as we find out. So far, WGN announced that it cast Matthew Goode as the lead. You may remember Goode from The Good Wife and Downton Abbey. His character’s described as someone who is quietly intelligent but also utterly ruthless. He’s married and has a daughter who was born in a “Zone.”