As I’m sure a lot of you know by now, a new TV series set in the Judge Dredd universe has been announced called Mega-City One. I’m also sure that, for those that enjoyed either the comics or the 2012 movie, a lot of you are as excited as I am about this news.
Judge Dredd has been my favourite ongoing comic series for years. There’s just so much I enjoy about it. I love the characters, I love the world and the insanity of it, I love the commentary, and so much more. The fact that it can tell really great stories with all of these elements, while also including lots of action, violence and thrills is what impresses me the most. For over a decade now, it really has been a comic that I’ve been super passionate about.
The 2012 movie Dredd is an adaptation that I’ve enjoyed equally as much. Understanding the character in a far better way than the 1995 Stallone movie, Judge Dredd is portrayed as a completely uncompromising fascist bastard, and that’s exactly how you need to portray him.
The 1995 movie initially seemed to do that, but then it tried to add things like “emotions” and “depth” to the character. Which just didn’t work. The thing is with Dredd is that he works better as an idea or a representation of the fascist system than as an actual three-dimensional character. The impact he has on others can be more interesting than the man himself. I’m not saying you can’t develop him at all, but it’s rare when it happens in the comics. And when it has been handled, it’s usually been done right. Subdued and subtle, but definitely there.
The 2012 film handled it well at the very, very end, when Dredd makes a choice that he wouldn’t have made at the start of the film. Otherwise, though, he is still a badass who still believes that what he does is ultimately right. By comparison, the 1995 film included the line, “You let me judge my own BROTHER?!?”
There were a few other things that I enjoyed about the 2012 film. I mentioned that Dredd was portrayed well. The same is equally true of Anderson, another character that I just adore for completely different reasons. Her character does feel real and fleshed out in both the comics and the film, and I really liked how both script-writer Alex Garland and actress Olivia Thirlby handled her.
I also really liked the “look” of the film. I’m not simply talking about the effects or the slow motion shots. More the whole style of it. On some level, it looked believably near-futuristic. On another, it had a look close to 70s cult classics like Escape from New York and The Warriors, and I freakin’ loved that. Even with details like the Judges’s uniforms and Mega-City One being given a more “realistic” design, that gorgeous cult look really helped to capture the spirit of the comics.
I’m mentioning all of these things because this is what the comic and the film have brought to the world of Judge Dredd. So what do I want to see from a TV series?