Dennis the Menace is being adapted into a dark, live action, teen-led YA series that is being compared to both the British television series Skins and Netflix's Riverdale. Now, to avoid any confusion, this Dennis the Menace is the spiky-haired, stripe jumper wearing character that has been a feature of the longest running British children's comic magazine, The Beano, for decades, and not the blonde-haired cherubic rascal that was created by Hank Ketcham and is well known in the States.

Beano Studios is looking to bring their version overseas and are now developing a YA adaptation of the classic British comic book character, who, unlike his American counterpart, is a delinquent teenager who actively likes to cause trouble along with his demonic dog, Gnasher. The British company is at the pitching stage right now, and is working alongside Matthew Barry, one of the writers behind the Greg Berlanti-produced Netflix series Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

The tone of the pilot is reportedly a much darker take on the material than perhaps fans of the comic would expect, with Dennis believed to be a teenager, around the age of 16, who flits "in and out of trouble with the police." The atmosphere has been likened to the British television series Skins, which follows a group of teenagers in Bristol, England, and covers such controversial subjects as substance abuse, sexuality, teenage pregnancy, personality and eating disorders, and mental illness.

Beano Studios' Chief Creative Officer Mark Talbot is said to be responsible for pushing the characters into live action and has likened adapting the comic book property to the likes of Marvel and DC. "When you look at Marvel, think about how many incarnations there have been of Batman from the 1960s with Adam West all the way through to Batman Lego and at the same time me and my wife can sit down and watch Christian Bale and Tom Hardy going at it for two years," he said. "It's the same IP but it can serve two different audiences and that's the same beauty with the Beano."

Talbot added that the UK market is interested but that there's also brand awareness in the U.S. and in countries around the world including in China, South Africa and Australia. "When we pitch the shows in the UK, there's definitely a sense of nostalgia and everyone gets that - we did some research and there's 95% brand recognition in the UK up there with James Bond and the Queen - so the British broadcasters get it. But what's been interesting with the Americans, they don't have the Beano but what they see is the archive with over 2,000 characters and storylines sat in a warehouse in Dundee waiting to be reimagined by new writers and established writers and I think that's what the American market is excited about," he said.

The company is reportedly looking to bring many of its 2,000 or so characters from the comic books into television shows and movies, so, if you're a fan of The Beano, or even just YA series in the vein of Riverdale, you are about to spoiled for choice. This comes to us courtesy of Deadline.

Jon Fuge at TVweb
Jon Fuge