What Is FX’s Basilisk and Why Will You Want to Watch It?

basiliskVisconti coat of arms depiction of the basilisk

Perhaps the question should read: Why Wouldn’t You Watch It? With only the briefest of descriptions, FX’s latest series in development is already going on my must-see list. Mashing up two favorite genres doesn’t always work, but in the case of horror and science fiction, the results can be great. Alien, The Thing, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Pitch Black — yes, please, and give me more. Add in artificial intelligence — things could get orgasmic up in here — and that’s just what Basilisk intends to do.

Writer Curtis Gwinn (The Walking Dead, The Leftovers, Narcos) pitched his “gritty horror series” as featuring a female protagonist — an atheist school therapist whose college patient is a “computer genius.” Gwinn’s story involves the pair awakening an evil, “godlike artificial intelligence,” presumably the titular Basilisk entity … consciousness … SKYNET?

A quick look around the interwebosphere reminds us of the legendary basilisk’s history (aside from Harry Potter‘s King of Serpents), that of a small but powerful reptile-like creature with a crown-shaped crest (possibly a cobra), rumored to cause death with a single glance (I have the same rumored power in my own household). Equally strange and interesting is that the only way a basilisk can be killed is by “the odor of the weasel:” if a weasel were thrown into the basilisk’s hole, both creatures would purportedly die. So, theoretically, the FX series’ college therapist and genius patient will have to find some equally odd or perplexing method of taking out Basilisk‘s malevolent AI, and I am already so all-in with this series, I’m practically singing Donald, Where’s Your Trouosers. Speaking of … whatever form this A.I. takes, there’s a certain someone who’d be absolutely perfect in the role.

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Consider Garret Dillahunt my first casting suggestion.

The Hunger Games films and Water for Elephants director, Francis Lawrence will produce Basilisk for FX alongside Gwinn.

Cindy Davis

Cindy Davis

Cindy Davis has been writing about the entertainment industry for ​over seven years, and is the ​Editor-in-Chief at Oohlo, where she muses over television, movies, and pop culture. Previous Senior News Editor at Pajiba, and published at BUST.

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  • ChainedVase

    I don’t like horror on account of the scary monsters and grossness, but this sounds awesome! I love anything about our inevitable AI overlords, though.

    • It almost sounds like Hellraiser, but with AI instead of Pinhead. Much less torturous 🙂

  • emmalita

    I do love Garret Dillahunt.

  • abell

    I’m not sure, but I think they’re referring to Roko’s basilisk. It’s a thought experiment related to ai’s ability to retroactively torture those who don’t help facilitate it’s creation. Link below. I ascribe to it the same thought as I ascribe other internet denizens, which is to say, I don’t think about them, on the off chance I draw their attentions.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/bitwise/2014/07/roko_s_basilisk_the_most_terrifying_thought_experiment_of_all_time.html