“Brooklyn Animal Control”: the crime drama that might still be the TV show werewolf fans have been waiting for

A. Quinton — Jul. 1st 2016

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bac-panel-1Let me tell you about Brooklyn Animal Control.

First, it was a 2013 comic written by JT Petty and drawn by Stephen Thompson. It depicts several days in the life of a modern New York City in which a secret, powerful werewolf family is responsible for the metropolis’s growth and prosperity. It’s still available directly from IDW in print or digitally as a one-shot. I read it twice this week and I thought the concept and the execution were excellent. Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, no further work was released or planned after those 48 pages, despite the cliffhanger ending. It’s as though it was intended as a pitch for something else…

Wait, it almost certainly was. In 2015, USA Network asked Petty (who has tons of experience writing for games, films and his own novels) and Universal Cable Prods. to produce a pilot episode of Brooklyn Animal Control for consideration as an ongoing series.

The pilot was produced. It starred James CallisStephen GrahamJane Alexander and Clea DuVall, and featured some very nice CG werewolves. The concept was adapted from the comic thusly:

Brooklyn Animal Control follows the inner workings of a secret subdivision of the NYPD that functions as social services for some of the city’s most unique citizens — werewolves. Delving into the lives of both the Case Officers, and the secretive, highly insular Kveld-Ulf, a community of werewolves living deep in the borough, the drama will examine city politics, immigrant communities, and families divided by ambition, secrecy, and tradition.

Werewolf drama looks like this:

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The pilot was never publicly released, but a trailer (polished, but probably never intended for the public) made its way to YouTube and survived for a few weeks before getting yanked. I’ve re-uploaded it as an unlisted video for Werewolf News readers to enjoy, but fair warning – if anyone from USA or IDW pulls it, I won’t put it back up. I gotta play ball. The screen grabs at the bottom of this post will stay, though!

During the short time it was up in the Spring of 2016, the trailer got a lot of people in the werewolf fan community (including me) very excited. Finally, here was a prime time werewolf show with actual monstrous werewolves instead of “regular wolves”, and a plot that balanced its supernatural hocus-pocus with real-world grit. Sure, the trailer was a bit more melodramatic than the comic’s in media res matter-of-factness, but when you have 72 seconds to pitch a concept, you exaggerate. The show looked great, the secrecy bade well, and we were all excited.

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Unfortunately, news broke in April that USA was not ordering Brooklyn Animal Control to series. According to Deadline, USA didn’t “pass” on the show, as they might have done with something they have no interest in pursuing. Rather, BAC as a series will be “redeveloped with [JT] Petty, who also wrote the original pilot and executive produced it.” No further details are available at the moment.

Redevelopment sounds bad, but it’s not as terminal a sentence as a “pass”. You “redevelop” a recipe by throwing your slightly botched cookies in the compost and starting from scratch; you “pass” on a recipe by throwing the whole fucking cookbook in the trash and setting the kitchen on fire.

There’s no way for us fan-kind to know which aspects of the pilot treatment didn’t make the grade, but here’s hoping UCP and Petty’s second pass finds success. Us werewolf fans need a TV series to look forward to! Oh and please keep the cast (Stephen Graham yes please) and whatever creature effects house is responsible for that werewolf, because damn.

In the meantime, I encourage you to check out the comic (a good place to start might be IDW’s six-page preview) and these seven screen grabs from the Brooklyn Animal Control pilot trailer.

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  • Dziban Molniya

    You know as well as I do that even if it does emerge from development hell, it’ll be drastically different from what’s shown in the trailer. It will likely be as offensively tasteless as every other werewolf TV show.

    But well done on saving a copy of the trailer :D

  • The cynic in me agrees with you, but the optimist in me that I’m *trying* to nurture hopes for a werewolf version of The Wire or The Sopranos.

  • Inkshooter

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention!

  • Dziban Molniya

    >a werewolf version of The Wire or The Sopranos

    The greatest stories never told.