Tonight marks the end of Houston author and Rice professor Justin Cronin's long march to your living room.
When we first profiled Cronin back in 2016, it was all talk of his just-completed trilogy—The Passage, The Twelve, and The City of Mirrors—that mixes Tolkien-style quests with post-pandemic vampire horror. In 2017, the big news was that Fox had ordered a pilot and installed Liz Heldens (of Friday Night Lights pedigree) to bang out the script. And now, after just wrapping its first season filmed in Georgia with Cronin credited as producer, you can catch the end result at 8 p.m. on Fox.
Bad news for the purists, though: Cronin tells Texas Monthly that the plot has been heavily adapted for the screen.
“It’s just a totally different medium that comes with a totally different toolbox, so we had to zig and zag a bit to get to the same place,” Cronin told the magazine. “To the readers who complain that the book has been changed, I like to point out the book is still there.”
The show opens as scientists at the shady Project NOAH attempt to cure a terrifying bird flu outbreak with a method that—shocker!—creates telepathic vampires that might threaten all life on Earth. Then they reckon kids might be less susceptible to the vampirization, which is when they enlist FBI special agent Brad Wolgast (played by Mark-Paul Gosselaar of Saved by the Bell fame) to kidnap a little one for further experimentation. Then Wolgast goes rogue in an effort to save said child—a refreshing element of human drama injected into the fantastical plot.
Will the adaptation ultimately be worth your time? That remains to be seen, although critics have offered decent reviews. Liam Mathews of TV Guide, for one, hailed it as "the pretty goodiest new broadcast show of the season."
High praise, indeed. We'll be watching.
The Passage premieres Monday, Jan. 14 at 8 p.m. on Fox.