We’ve been hearing talk about a Goodfellas TV series for a while now, but this week we’ve got a big update on the project that will bring it much closer to becoming a reality. Shows that revolve around organized crime continue to be a big draw on cable networks; HBO is enjoying success with Boardwalk Empire and preparing to launch David Milch’s Luck while Showtime also just recently picked up Animal Kingdom. Now AMC is looking to get into the game as well by putting Goodfellas into development. If it works out, it could be a great addition to their well-established line-up that includes Mad Men, Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead. But will it offer anything new that any of these other mob shows don’t already have?
Their plan is to make the Goodfellas TV series a prequel focusing on the early years of the characters growing up in the 1960s. Nicholas Pileggi, writer of the original film and Wiseguy (the book on which it was based), will write and produce the series along with Jorge Zamacona (Homicide: Life On The Street) and the original film’s producer Irwin Winkler. There’s been no word on what kind of involvement Martin Scorsese might have, although it seems likely to be minimal.
Aside from the period setting, I think it could be difficult for a Goodfellas series to get out from under the shadow of The Sopranos, which remains to this day one of HBO’s biggest hits. It’s somewhat ironic, however, considering that the movie Goodfellas was such a big influence on that show. Clearly the hardest part will be finding other actors to play younger versions of Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta and Joe Pesci and make the characters their own. What do you think, could a Goodfellas series actually work or is this a bad idea?