National Geographic has named its newest genius.
The cable channel announced at its upfront presentation Wednesday night that Mary Shelley, author of “Frankenstein,” will be the subject of the third installment of anthology series “Genius,” whose renewal was confirmed.
“Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’ left an indelible mark on generations of imaginations,” said Carolyn Bernstein, executive vice president, global development and production for National Geographic Global Networks. “Equally inspiring is the story of Shelley’s relentless innovation, coupled with her desire to live on her own unconventional terms despite immense societal and cultural obstacles. I can’t wait for our talented team to bring her remarkable, relevant and timely story to life for season three of ‘Genius’ and do justice to her literary legacy.”
First published in 1818, Shelley’s “Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus” is one of the foundational works of modern genre fiction. It tells the story of Victor Frankenstein, a scientist who creates a sentient creature, monstrous in appearance. Shelley, born in 1797, also wrote and published several other books, and was an intellectual and proto-feminist.
“Mary Shelley has inspired countless filmmakers with her tale of the wretch brought to life by science gone wrong, but very few have fully captured her insightful reflections on society in the myth she left behind,” said executive producer Ron Howard. “Few know of her struggles due to gender inequities, her additional writings, her influence on other historically significant individuals and society at large. Showcasing someone like Mary Shelley and her amazing intellect, compassion and fortitude is exactly what this series is for, and we are looking forward to continuing our successful partnership with National Geographic and Fox 21 Television Studios.”
“Genius” tells a story each season of a different famed thinker. Season one focused on the life of Albert Einstein, season two on Pablo Picasso.
No casting has yet been set for season three, which is slated to premiere in 2019 and will be produced by Fox 21 Television Studios. Executive producer Ken Biller will again serve as showrunner. Like previous seasons, it will be executive produced by Brian Grazer and Howard’s Imagine Entertainment, MWM Studios, and EUE/Sokolow.
“Our experience with Courteney, Carolyn and the Nat Geo team has been phenomenal, and our award-winning first season exceeded even our own high expectations,” said Bert Salke, president of Fox 21. “Audiences are in for a treat with our follow-up, featuring a transformative performance by Antonio Banderas as our Picasso, and a compelling story created by Ken Biller. The choice of Mary Shelley as the subject of our third season speaks to the incredible depth of the franchise. How fitting at this moment in time to pivot to one of the many female geniuses in human history, and Mary’s story is both stranger than fiction and incredibly dramatic. We can’t wait to get started.”