‘Roadside Picnic’ Casts Matthew Goode In A Post-Apocalyptic Future

WGN is bringing more original content this season with an adaptation of the 1972 short science fiction novel Roadside Picnic, written by Russian authors Arkady and Boris Strugatskys, and they have just revealed the lead for the series. Matthew Goode (The Imitation Game, Match Point) will be joining Roadside Picnic as lead protagonist Redrick “Red” Shuhart in the story about what becomes of Earth, following a visit from extraterrestrials.

Roadside Picnic To Follow Matthew Goode In A Post-Apocalyptic World

The Strugatskys brothers wrote Roadside Picnic as a way of exploring what would happen to mankind, after an alien species had come and gone. Certainly, all of mankind would be affected by such a reality altering event in many ways. Roadside Picnic sets out to explore those many aspects of cultural contamination from how alien presences may affect society to the “artifacts” a highly advanced race might leave behind. Goode’s Roadside Picnic character, commonly referred to simply as “Red,” makes his way to the “Zone,” an area once inhabited by the extraterrestrials and seeks to examine the technology left behind by the unearthly visitors.

Red is something of an enigma himself, behaving with both ruthless barbarism one moment and highly sophisticated intelligence the next, but his motivations are never veiled. It’s clear that Red’s journey to the Zone is made, because he seeks to help his daughter, Marie. Red’s daughter is shunned by much of society, because she’s considered a child of the Zone.

Many men like Red, termed “Stalkers,” venture into the Zone in search of items that might turn a high profit on the black market.

Roadside Picnic will join WGN’s fairly recent line up of original programming. Initially, the network was set up to air syndicated shows, but, along with many similar networks, WGN made the move to produce original content. Previously, WGN had developed the horror series Salem and a period piece, Manhattan.Roadside Picnic will join an impressive line-up of original programming.

What Makes Roadside Picnic Out Of This World

Roadside Picnic already has the needed star power to bump up its chances of becoming a big hit with the casting of Matthew Goode. Consistently choosing his projects with the good fortune some might term the Midas Touch, Goode has starred in winning projects on both television and in feature films. To date, Matthew has starred in The Good Wife, Downton Abbey, and Dancing on the Edge on the small screen, while adding his unique brand of charm to such big screen projects as Match Point, A Single Man, and Watchmen. Scoring his first lead role in a television series may provide Goode with an opportunity to shine and raise his star that much higher.

Roadside Picnic isn’t standing out just for its on-screen talent. The WGN series also brings in a rare talent behind the scenes in the form of its director, Alan Taylor. Having previously directed Thor: The Dark World and Terminator: Genisys, Taylor brings his vast experience in the fantasy and science fiction genres to bear, as he’s slated to direct the Roadside Picnic pilot episode.

While WGN is certainly hedging their bets with some impressive talent, it may still be a gamble to bring Roadside Picnic to television. Science fiction is a hit and miss on television. While there are some shows to have done extremely well, such as the Star Trek franchise and The X-Files, there are other shows that have been far less successful. Among the vast list of failures, many post-apocalyptic themed shows tend to do poorly, though not for a lack of great storytelling. Shows like Revolution, Jericho, and Terra Nova all seemed doomed to fail. Whether or not Roadside Picnic can break the mold remains to be seen.

[Image by Larry Busacca/Getty Images]

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