|Based on||The Munsters|
by Allan Burns
|Developed by||Bryan Fuller|
|Written by||Bryan Fuller|
|Directed by||Bryan Singer|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Running time||39 minutes|
|Original release||October 26, 2012|
Mockingbird Lane is a 2012 television special developed as a re-imagining of the 1960s CBS sitcom The Munsters. It was developed for NBC by Bryan Fuller. The pilot episode aired on October 26, 2012, as a Halloween special, with the option for a series order. The special was viewed by 5.47 million American viewers and gained a 1.5/5 ratings share for adults aged 18–49.
On December 27, 2012, NBC announced that it would not be taking Mockingbird Lane to series.
A reboot of The Munsters, it was written and executive produced by Fuller as a one-hour drama with "spectacular visuals." The special concerns the day-to-day life of a family of benign monsters, with married couple Herman Munster (a Frankenstein's monster/zombie) and Lily Munster (a vampire). Lily's father, Grandpa is also a vampire who lives with the family and is feral. Herman and Lily have a son, Eddie, who learns in the course of the special that he is a werewolf, and their niece, Marylin, also lives with them. It explored the origins of the Munster family and was darker and edgier, while retaining plenty of humor.
- Jerry O'Connell as Herman Munster, a man made from parts of other people. Unlike Herman in the original series, Herman looks human except for some very obvious scars (in keeping with many modern-day interpretations of the Frankenstein Monster, upon which Herman was based). He is very intelligent but has a sensitive heart. He loves his family, and to a lesser extent his father-in-law. His heart, the last remaining part from his original body, is dying because he "loves too hard".
- Portia de Rossi as Lily Munster (née Dracula) the elegant matriarch of the Munster family and a vampire. Unlike her father, Lily tries not to attack or manipulate humans. She loves her family very much and only wants them safe.
- Charity Wakefield as Marilyn Munster, Lily's niece, is a normal human with a dark secret. She is considered the oddball of the family because she looks and acts normal. Her mother tried to eat her, but Grandpa talked her out of it.
- Mason Cook as Eddie Munster, an apparently normal adolescent boy who does not initially know that he is a werewolf. When Herman and Lily are forced to break this news to him, they obtain for him a pet dragon to watch over him during his transformations.
- Eddie Izzard as Grandpa (Sam Dracula), Lily's father, also a vampire. He likes to act like he is the head of the family. He enjoys making wisecracks at Herman's expense. This version of Grandpa is much darker than the character in the original series, exhibiting predatory behavior and a fondness for murder and mind control.
- Cheyenne Jackson as Scoutmaster Steve, a widower and leader of Eddie's scout troop who becomes smitten with Lily. Grandpa plots to kill him so he can feed off his blood and replace Herman's heart; despite Herman's clear protests. Grandpa gets his way when Steve dies in an accident.
- Beth Grant as Marianne Marie Beetle, the paraplegic busybody neighbor who takes a very keen interest in the strange new family next door. This character previously appeared in episodes of Wonderfalls and Pushing Daisies.
- Guy Perry, as Werewolf
- John Kassir as Tim, Marie's husband.
- Pablo Espinosa as Police Officer
NBC confirmed ordering the pilot episode in November 2011 and announced in January 2012 that it would be called Mockingbird Lane, a reference to the Munster family address at 1313 Mockingbird Lane. The costumes and make-up for the characters were heavily toned down to have them more closely resemble humans.
On March 20, 2012, former The Riches star Eddie Izzard was announced by NBC as "Grandpa", the first of the prospective series' main roles to be cast. British actress Charity Wakefield joined the cast, playing Marilyn Munster, Lily's niece, and Spy Kids: All the Time in the World actor Mason Cook joined as Eddie Munster. On June 4, 2012, it was announced that Jerry O'Connell had been cast as family patriarch Herman Munster who series writer-producer Bryan Fuller describes as "essentially a zombie in a constant state of decay." On June 5, it was announced that Mariana Klaveno had been cast to play his wife Lily, contingent on her being released from her contract on Devious Maids. However, on June 12, 2012, it was announced that Portia de Rossi would play the role.
Broadcast and reception
On October 11, 2012, it was announced that the Mockingbird Lane pilot would air on October 26 as a special lead-in to a Halloween-themed episode of Grimm, with the option of a series order should it do well in the ratings. Two months after the premiere, NBC officially passed on the series.
NBC chief Robert Greenblatt said of their decision to pass on the series: "We just decided that it didn't hold together well enough to yield a series. It looked beautiful and original and creative, but it just all ultimately didn't come together... it just didn't ultimately creatively all work. We felt great about that cast, but we tried to make it not just a sitcom. We tried to make it an hour, which ultimately has more dramatic weight than a half-hour. It's hard to calibrate how much weirdness vs. supernatural vs. family story. I just think we didn’t get the mix right".
- Here Come the Munsters, a TV movie based on the characters from the original The Munsters show, broadcast in 1995.
- Andreeva, Nellie (October 11, 2012). "NBC's 'Mockingbird Lane' Pilot To Air On October 26 As Halloween Special". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 12, 2012.
- Bibel, Sara (October 29, 2012). "Friday Final TV Ratings: 'Grimm, 'CSI: NY' & 'Blue Bloods' Adjusted Up, 'Dateline' & 'All Access Nashville' Adjusted Down". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved October 30, 2012.
- Fienberg, Daniel (December 27, 2012). "Bryan Fuller's 'Mockingbird Lane' goes from presumptively dead to officially dead". HitFix. Retrieved December 28, 2012.
- NBC, Bryan Fuller Remaking The Munsters
- Exclusive: The Munsters Back in Development at NBC
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- ‘Mockingbird Lane’: NBC’s ‘Munsters’ update casts Mason Cook as Eddie – Zap2it
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- "Mariana Klaveno To Play Lily Munster For NBC If 'Devious Maids' Releases Her". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 5, 2012.
- "Portia de Rossi To Play Lily Munster on NBC's Mockingbird Lane". seattlepi.com. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
- Schneider, Michael (October 12, 2012). "Mockingbird Lane's Bryan Fuller: Don't Count Out a Series Order Just Yet". TV Guide. Retrieved December 7, 2012.
- Andreeva, Nellie (January 6, 2013). "NBC May Take Another Stab At 'The Munsters' Reboot Series: TCA". Deadline Hollywood.