Amazing Stories, one of the original scripted shows coming to Apple Music, won’t have Bryan Fuller on board any more. Fuller was an executive producer for the series but left over creative differences with Apple. The big question is this a problem with Apple or Fuller?
Amazing Stories originally aired on network television in the 1980s as a weekly anthology series. Each episode was a standalone story with a sci-fi, fantasy, supernatural, or strange theme.
Fuller wanted the reboot to be more like Black Mirror, which is like the original Amazing Stories, but with darker and more adult themes. That, apparently, is not the path Apple wants the show to take, so Fuller left. Steven Spielberg is still on board.
Apple is paying US$5 million an episode for the series. A premiere date hasn’t been announced yet.
Bryan Fuller’s TV Resumé
Fuller has a well established reputation dating back to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as a writer and Star Trek: Voyager as co-producer. He also created Dead Like Me and Pushing Daisies, and worked on Hannibal, Alias, Lost, Star Trek: Discovery, and American Gods. He left Discovery over budget and casting issues, and has been fired from American Gods following a budget dispute.
Apple has a history of shying away from content its executives find distasteful. The App Store, for example, blocks some sex-based content and reports says Carpool Karaoke was re-edited to make it more family friendly. Apple’s creative restrictions could’ve been tighter than Fuller was willing to accept.
Alternately, Fuller may have been unwilling to budge on his vision for the show. He has a history of being difficult to work with, and this isn’t the first series he’s lost. His position on Amazing Stories should be may have been too dark, and if he wasn’t willing to compromise that may have been his ticket out the door.
Apple’s Creative Control
What we know right now is that Apple hired Sony Pictures Television presidents Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg to run its original programming efforts. They’re behind the success of Game of Thrones, True Blood, The Newsroom, and Boardwalk Empire, so they aren’t averse to darker themes.
They struck the deal bringing Ronald D. Moore’s new sci-fi series to Apple Music. His series follows a father and daughter trapped on a planet embroiled in a war with a massive and oppressive galactic power—a show that doesn’t sound light hearted. Based on the deal for Moore’s show, it seems like Apple is fine with some darker themes. Just not Fuller’s.
As long as we don’t see more series executives leaving over creative differences I’m willing to accept the Amazing Stories situation as a one-off that’s all about problems with Fuller. If we see more leave, I’ll start worrying Apple is creating a milquetoast original series lineup.
[Thanks to The Hollywood Reporter for the heads up]