You have control in the way that you never have in the cinema. The Sopranos was David Chase, West Wing was Aaron Sorkin. Matthew Wiener on Mad Men writes the entire series before they start shooting, and if you have that, then what you can do with character and story is not at all unlike what you can do in a novel.
He was speaking to The Observer about The Next People, a show he’s created with Working Title for Showtime in the US. He’s written a draft of the first episode already, working to what he calls “an almost feature-film budget”.
Rushdie’s work has often had elements of sci-fi or fantasy, and he’s one of the first names that comes to my mind when confronted with the genre handle “magic realism”. According to the report, The Next People will feature “factual science” but also “elements of the supernatural or extra-terrestrial”, while Rushdie is quoted as saying:
It’s a sort of paranoid science-fiction series, people disappearing and being replaced by other people. It’s not exactly sci-fi, in that there is not an awful lot of science behind it, but there are certainly elements which are not naturalistic.
The selling point here, I think, is seeing Rushdie play in the medium of TV, and with the ambition he’d normally apply in writing a novel. This could be a fascinating case study in how the mechanics of getting a show on air with a modern cable channel limits, or liberates, the creatives.