Somehow Kevin Smith's long-developing sequel to Mallrats has gone from being a feature film to a potential TV series. It fits with the fluidity of the director's career of late, one that has seen him dabble more in television than ever. He'll be back directing an episode of The Flash next season, and he's got a Buckaroo Banzai series headed to Amazon. So maybe it's not so crazy that Mallrats is headed to the small screen, and Smith has just given an update to Deadline, confirming the series has been picked up by Universal and that it will be inspired by one of his favorite Canadian high school dramas...
"I just sat down with the good folks at Universal last week. Our deal’s closed and whatnot, and I walked them through the 10 episodes. As I broke them down, I white-boarded them all, and so Episode 1 and 2 on one board, 3 and 4 on another, and so forth and so on, so I did the whole walk-through to be like, this is what happens this episode, this is what happens this episode, here’s the family tree. You know, it’s a multigenerational story, so it’s about all the kids in Mallrats and all the kids they had, taking my cues from one of my favorite programs in the world, Degrassi: The Next Generation."
Smith's always referring back to 'Degrassi' in one way or another, which may be why he had a stint appearing on the show a while back. The show has yet to find a network home, though Smith hopes to take it to one of the major streaming services or premium cable outlets because there will be dick jokes aplenty...
"So I walked them through everything, and Mallrats as a series is kind of like one gigantic blob of soap opera with a lot of dick jokes in it. When we were doing the feature version of it, I had 90 minutes to tell one story. But wow, essentially, I have 10 half-hour episodes, so that’s five hours to kind of pull and tell the same story and really like dive into the characters. Like, all the characters came back in the Mallrats 2 script, but sometimes it’s just like, hey, it’s that person, you’re moving on. Now we get to go into their lives and stuff and what happens after happily ever after, so it’s pretty damn fun and funny and stuff...We’re pitching all the usual streaming suspects I would imagine and cable networks, so probably Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Showtime, HBO — it’s a pretty limited pool for us because of the language factor, but it’s a weirdly family show. It’s just, you know, with a lot of cussing in it and stuff, but it’s funny, dude, I love it."
Wait...ALL of the characters are coming back? Does that include Ben Affleck's backdoor-loving Shannon Hamilton?
"Affleck’s character has a pretty central but small but useful role. Like, you know, he could do it and it’d be great, but if he doesn’t do it, it wouldn’t be the end of the world at the same time. But I’ll reach out to him once I know where we’re going, what we’re doing, and when we’re shooting. I’ve reached out to everybody else, and they were all like, thumbs up, so everyone’s still on board."
Mallrats was my favorite Smith film for a long time because it followed dudes who were exactly like me at the time. One of Smith's greatest strengths is evolving his characters to reflect their age, just as he did with Clerks and Clerks 2, and I'm optimistic he can do it again. Hopefully the show finds a home soon.