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Why the Chinatown prequel series is a brilliant idea for television

  • The planned David Fincher-Robert Towne prequel to Roman Polanski's acclaimed 1974 film starring Jack Nicholson has the perfect setting in 1920s Los Angeles. "TV is better at systems than incidents to begin with, and if the topic is systemic civic corruption (and Baltimore and Deadwood are already taken), it’s hard to imagine a better backdrop than Los Angeles in the 1920s, when an oil rush, a film rush, and what can only be described as a graft rush more than doubled the population and turned it into one of the great American cities," says Matthew Dessem. "It was also a time when the mayor was an underworld puppet, the D.A. was for sale (his name was Asa 'Ace' Keyes, which seems like it should have been a clue), and the police department was so staggeringly corrupt that it had ten police chiefs over the course of a single decade, as one after another quit or was fired after realizing that the city government was not interested in tackling gambling, bootlegging, or, indeed, crime in general—at least not when the criminals had ties to City Hall."

    TOPICS: Chinatown, David Fincher, Robert Towne, In Development