3 Other Directions the Marley & Me TV Should Could Take


NBC recently announced that it had greenlit a pilot based on the film and memoir, Marley and Me (2008). The TV series would be a single-camera comedy that would pick up where the film left off, after the death of the Grogan family’s beloved pet Marley. The show would center on the family moving to Florida and adopting the abused puppy of a neighbor that—coincidentally—just so happens to behave as energetically and destructively as the first Marley. The family even gives this new puppy Marley’s old tag and leash, which they brought with them to Florida.

The idea of adapting a television show based on Marley & Me isn’t a bad one—in fact, based on the success of the original film; it could be a wise investment. However, many fans of the film, memoir and even the additional children’s books penned by Grogan are not too happy with the proposed direction of the pilot; namely because it seems to downplay Marley as an individual dog by replacing him with a lookalike and act-a-like copy.

There is other concept directions that the show could take that would allow NBC to capitalize on the popularity of the ‘Marley’ property without diminishing the integrity of the story.

After the success of the memoir and the resulting film, author Josh Grogan returned to the idea of “Marley” to pen a series of children’s books loosely based on Marley’s life. The books feature Marley living with a fictional family, where he brings joy, frustration and—of course—love to the lives of the people (and even the dogs!) around him. There are two Marley book series penned by Grogan; one is aimed at slightly older readers while the other is a series of picture books which often feature storylines based around holidays, important life lessons and, of course, Marley getting into mischief.

Instead of attempting to shoehorn in a ‘new’ Marley into the Grogan family’s lives, NBC could look at adapting the Marley picture books to be suitable for a television series. The show could be aimed at a slightly younger audience—think Disney Channel tweens—but it would still be suitable for the earlier primetime slots on NBC’s schedule. This particular direction would avoid the tackiness of the conceived pilot and give younger audiences a way to enjoy Marley’s adventures.


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