“Set in an alternate history where gas and coal fuel the world, the drama centres on the battle for power between two rival families,” Deadline reports of Spark, a new (American) ABC drama “of passion, greed and hope in a Steampunk reality, circa 2016”. So, it’s the present day, but somehow everything is still old-timey gears and goggles and leather and steampunk? That is, to quote my colleague Charlie Jane Anders, a fantastically strange idea. Other than the rival families, there’ll be conflict courtesy of a woman named Pin (played by British actress Antonia Thomas), a “fiercely independent” inventor hellbent on “[bringing] back electricity to the masses no matter the cost.”
Among the other, earlier casting news for Spark, the most intriguing is veteran actor Lena Olin as one of the heads of those rival families:
Olin will play Hazel Stockton, an up-by-her-bootstraps self-made woman who now controls the powerful Stockton Coal Company. She uses her wealth more altruistically than her arch rivals at Lavelle Gas — but despite her philanthropic outreaches to the city’s poor, she still craves absolute power, and is not above using strong-arm tactics to achieve it. However, when deadly sabotage starts claiming innocent lives across the city, she denies any involvement to her son Aiden, Captain of the Investigative Division of the Watch, who is investigating the incidents.
Will “the Investigative Division of the Watch” travel around via hot air balloons but also have the use of steam-powered mobile phones? Will anyone take a cue from Key and Peele and stash a mouse in their top hat? This better make it to series, ABC, because we’re dying to see how this insane-sounding concept plays out.