Thursday, July 19, 2012

CBS drama based on UM grad's short story renewed for second season

Posted By on Thu, Jul 19, 2012 at 11:05 AM

Many months ago Indy arts editor Erika Fredrickson called my attention to a new CBS prime-time drama based on a short story written by a graduate of UM's creative writing program. We'd kicked around the idea of a story, but then it got put aside for other local arts stories and we — or at least I — forgot about it. That's kinda funny because the show in question is called "Unforgettable."

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CBS announced late last month the show would be renewed for a second season. It will continue to follow protagonist Carrie Wells (Poppy Montgomery), a detective with a medical condition called hyperthymesia. That means she remembers everything, a helpful trick for someone processing crime scenes. "Unforgettable" follows the same formula as fellow CBS crime shows like "CSI" and "NCIS," except for the whole hyperthymesia thing.

Det. Wells is almost exactly the same character introduced in J. Robert Lennon's short story, The Rememberer. Lennon, who started teaching at Cornell after earning his MFA at UM, wrote the story for an anthology of modern-day superheros. He never let his literary agent know about it, so he was surprised when someone from Sony Pictures called him about using the character.

“It was totally unexpected, and certainly bizarre to see my name on the show," Lennon told The Cornell Daily Sun.

Despite having his name attached to the show, Lennon, who is the author of six novels and short story collections, has nothing to do with the production. Frankly, that could be a good thing. Before being renewed a few weeks ago, CBS originally canceled "Unforgettable." And the second season isn't scheduled to air in the fall, but during the typically slow summer months a year from now.

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