City Desk

Is “St. Elmo’s Fire” Still Burning?”

If ABC gets their way, DC might soon be home to yet another television production.  The proposed pilot? St. Elmo's Fire-The Hour-Long Dramedy.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Joel Shumaker, who directed the 1985 Brat Pack classic, Jamie Tarses, former head of ABC's entertainment division, and actor Topher Grace have plans to modernize the story of six Georgetown grads struggling after graduation on the mean streets of Washington.  The city has obviously changed in the 24 years since the movie was released, which could make the transition from film to television more awkward than it already is. But The Tombs, the bar that inspired the movie, is still one of Georgetown's most popular watering holes, so who knows, the concept could work.

But is an update necessary?

There are two paths the show could take.  One option is that of MASH and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, shows that were initially based on movies and went on to win dozens of awards by expanding and improving on the content fo the earlier films.  The other option is the Ferris Bueller, My Big Fat Greek Life route, that thoroughly ruined their base material and were canceled weeks after premiering. Content-wise, there's always fodder for jaded twenty-somethings to talk about at a bar, so that might help push the show along.

In terms of setting, DC has played host to scripted TV series before.  The West Wing exterior shots of the Washington Monument and the Capitol steps didn't cause any damage during it's seven season run, since the actors playing politicos blended in with the actual politicos, and the same could be true for SEF. Just dress a bunch of actors in khakis and blue oxford shirts and they'll disappear in most neighborhoods.  And in all likelihood, the show will be filmed in LA, so what's the worst that could happen?

The fate of the show won't be known for a while, but in the meantime, enjoy the dulcet tones of Rob Lowe's sax solo.

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