The odd friendship between famed magician Harry Houdini and "Sherlock Holmes" creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is something that Hollywood just can’t seem to get enough of this week.
Deadline is reporting that Syfy is actively developing "Among The Spirits," a new drama series that will feature Houdini and Doyle solving bizarre murders and mysteries in the ’20s with the help of a female cop. The series is based upon a self-published graphic novel by Steve Valentine and Paul Chart.
On Wednesday, DreamWorks picked up "Voices from the Dead" an original script by J. Michael Straczynski ("Babylon 5") that also features Houdini and Doyle teaming up to solve strange killings in New York during the ’20s with the help of a psychic.
"I guess there is something in the air about that whole time period and that very interesting relationship between Houdini and Doyle," said Mark Stern, Syfy’s president of original programming. Stern also described the series as "a turn-of-the-century ‘Fringe.’"
"We have Houdini, who was the ultimate illusionist and was all about creating illusions, and Doyle, who was all about getting to the truth underneath – the pragmatist and the dreamer – set against that 1920s world of America where technology is just starting to grow."
It’s probably not a good sign that the statement switches up the viewpoints of the two men. Doyle was a true believer in spirituality and the possibilities of magic while Houdini was a hardened skeptic. Also less encouraging is the news that "Among The Spirits" is being produced by Entertainment One, the company behind the Syfy series "Haven."
This is also far from the first time that Doyle and Houdini have been featured together in fiction. Back in 1992, William Shatner and Michael Tobias collaborated on a novel called "Believe," which pit the two against each other. And as my colleague, William Bibbiani pointed out, the film "Fairy Tale: A True Story" (pictured above) starred Peter O’Toole as Doyle and Harvey Keitel as Houdini during the infamous fairy case in Cottingley in which young girls claimed to have photographed an actual fairy.