A Neuromancer tv show is worrying

This is a frustrating choice as the book is a ready-to-shoot movie script

Damien Walter
2 min readMar 2, 2024

So. Some thoughts on Apple TV doing Neuromancer.

I don’t share the worries about Apple. Yes, Foundation was awful. But Severance was excellent. And their other scifi shows are good. They even made something of Silo, when the books were fairly duff. Apple only commission the shows, and generally they have commissioned talented creators.

Show runner Graham Roland seems pretty uninspiring. Jack Ryan? That suggests an emphasis on the thriller / action aspects of Neuromancer.

I also don’t agree that the book will need “updating”. Gibson wrote the book on a typwriter. The story is not about the tech. The tech is just the symbolism the story is told with.

So in general terms I’m happy to see this attempted. But there is one major alarm bell ringing.

Neuromancer is a short novel, built around a 5 act movie structure. Gibson basically took the structure of a noir thriller like the Maltese Falcon, and shifted it into his Sprawl setting.

So there’s a serious shortage of material for a 10 hour prestige format tv show.

A 2 hour movie will have 60 to 80 scenes. A prestige format tv show, even with it’s slower pacing, will have 20 to 30 scenes per episode. 200 to 300 per season.

So you need to to x2 to x5 the amount of material in Neuromancer to make it into a tv show.

Worse, Neuromancer is not strong on characters. Molly and Case are excellent, powerful archetypes, but they don’t have much to say for themselves as rounded characters.

This is a frustrating choice as the book is a ready-to-shoot movie script. Are there ways to make the adaptation? Of course. But it will take some very good writing and, as ever, that’s the rarest thing in Hollywood.

Link to my essay on the poetics of Neuromancer —



Damien Walter

I tell stories about the future, technology and culture. Published by The Guardian, WIRED, BBC etc.