Star Wars scribe Jack Thorne is already a celebrated TV writer. Here is some of his best work!
Earlier this week, it was announced that Jack Thorne will be re-writing Star Wars IX. The prolific British writer is constantly popping up attached to projects we care about (he’s also writing the upcoming His Dark Materials TV show), so it wasn’t such a surprise to see him snag this much sought after gig.
If you’re interested in learning more about Thorne’s writing style, here are seven projects to check out…
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
We absolutely adored the latest story in the story of The Boy Who Lived, aka Harry Potter and The Cursed Child. The West End play tells the story of Harry, Ron, and Hermione all grown up, while also focusing on the next generation of the British wizarding community through the characters of Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy.
Though The Cursed Child story was created by J.K. Rowling, director John Tiffany, and writer Jack Thorne, it was Thorne who scripted The Cursed Child.
Skins was something special — a drama about young adults written by young adults. Running for seven seasons with different cycles of character-groups, the British comedy-drama (there was also a shortlived, vastly inferior American remake on MTV) set out to tell the story of what it is really like to be a teenager in all of its complicated, heartbreaking, glorious rawness.
Set in Bristol, U.K., each episode generally focused on an individual character and dealt with complex issues from mental health to bullying to drugs to death. Thorne was one of the original writers on the show, penning five episodes, including season 1 standout “Effy,” demonstrating his ability to write from a young person’s perspective.
Episodes to watch: Season 1’s “Effy” and Season 3’s “Naomi” (co-written with Atiha Sen Gupta).
Available to stream on Netflix and YouTube.
Starring Game of Thrones’ Natalie Dormer and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s Iain De Caestecker, The Fades was a supernatural horror series about an English teenager named Paul (De Caestecker) who can see the spirits of dead people known as the Fades. The Fades are what’s left when the rest of a person moves on from this world, and they are vengeful, dangerous beings who have developed the ability to basically turn into zombies.
The premise is a bit high concept, which (along with BBC Three’s budget cuts) may have resulted in the show being cancelled after only one season of six episodes, but it’s still well-worth the watch. It won the 2012 BAFTA for “Best Drama,” has a great cast, and is one of those supernatural shows that is not only builds incredibly momentum, but is built on a premise that’s not super derivative. The Fades creates its own mythology, for better or worse.
Thorne was the show’s creator and wrote all six episodes, demonstrating the sheer imagination and world-building-construction he is capable of.
Episodes to watch: All of them (There are only six).
Available to stream on Hulu.
This Is England
Spun off from the 2006 film This Is England, This Is England ’86, This Is England ’88, and This Is England ’90 were all three-or-four-part TV miniseries that followed some of the film’s young skinhead characters further through their adolescence. Thorne wrote the TV miniseries along with the film’s director Shane Meadows.
Like Skins, the This Is England miniseries take young people as their focus, and doesn’t let up on the bleakness of its characters’ realities, even whilst interspersing the drama with moments of humor, lightheartedness, and love.
Episodes to watch: This is a heavy one, and one best viewed in order. Start with the BAFTA-winning This Is England ’86 and, if you can stomach it, go from there. You can stream This Is England on YouTube.
Cast Offs is a dark humor dramedy mockumentary telling the story of six disabled people sent to a remote British isle as part of a fictional reality show, and it is probably like nothing you have ever seen — not least of all because disabled people are severely underrepresented on TV (especially as main characters). The BAFTA series cast six disabled actors in the main roles, following one character per episode (a la Skins or Lost).
Cast Offs decidedly doesn’t ask its audience to sympathize with its disabled characters, who are, at times, rude, vindictive, and self-destructive — you know, just like able-bodied people. Thorne co-created the series that never found much of an audience, though it was nominated for a BAFTA and pushed the boundaries of diversity on mainstream TV.
Episodes to watch: Episode 1, “Dan,” is the best place to start, given that this high-concept mockumentary takes a bit of explaining.
Glue was touted as “Skins — but in the country,” and its focus on a group of boundary-pushing youth certaintly bears a strong resemblence to the famous drama, but Glue is decidedly its own beast. The influences of the rural setting and the murder mystery component cannot be understated. Glue uses the murder mystery structure to explore the deep chasms of this country community, exposed by the shocking murder of a local 14-year-old boy. In many ways, Glue bears some resemblance to Broadchurch, though with its focus on the friend-group of the victim, is interested in telling a very different story than its seaside counterpart.
Thorne grew up in the rural countryside he represents in Glue, and the personal knowledge shows in this show he created and wrote. Glue is a beautifully-rendered, gorgeously-shot exploration of what it means to grow up in this part of England.
Episodes to watch: Glue is highly serialized, so it’s best to start at the beginning with episode 1.
The Last Panthers
The Last Panthers (created and written by Thorne), a crime series starring Samantha Morton and John Hurt, has a decidedly different vibe than much of Thorne’s other work. Starting with the theft of a diamond modeled after real-life Balkan jewel thieves the Pink Panthers, the plot follows a British insurance investigator as she follows the trail across Europe, clashing with gangsters and bankers in a system of corruption and greed.
David Bowie wrote an original theme song for the show, and its six parts met with critical acclaim despite a slow start. With a pan-European setting and funding, not to mention the use of multiple languages throughout the story, The Last Panthers is trans-nationally unique to much of what is on TV.
Episodes to watch: The first episode, which features the nervewracking theft that spirals the entire plot forward is can’t miss. Luckily, the series is scheduled to air in America on Sundance sometime this spring.