Vacation Spinoff Series The Griswolds Set for HBO Max

HBO Max bringing back the Vacation film franchise’s Griswold family in a spinoff series produced by Johnny Galecki.

Christmas Vacation, Griswold Family; Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

The Griswolds are taking the holiday road to HBO Max!

The Vacation film franchise – after five theatrically-released films and a TV movie – is set to make its serial television debut for the premium cable channel’s 2020-launching platform, HBO Max, with a single-camera comedy spinoff titled The Griswolds. Interestingly, one of the driving forces behind this small screen venture is a former member of its eponymous family, Big Bang Theory star Johnny Galecki (who played young Rusty Griswold in the third film, 1989’s National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation), who’s executive-producing.

Galecki will join the project’s primary driving force, Tim Hobert (Community, The Middle, Spin City ), who’s writing the script and executive-producing, with Galecki onboard via his Alcide Bava shingle, which will also be represented in executive-producer capacity by head Holly Brown as well as producer Cory Wood. The Griswolds will manifest as part of Galecki’s overall deal with Warner Bros. Television, which included his 2006-2019 run as the star of CBS sitcom juggernaut Big Bang Theory.

The would-be series will chronicle the modern exploits of the Griswold family, this time set to showcase their daily lives in the suburbs of Chicago. The TV spinoff continues the (very loose) continuity of the Vacation franchise, which, based on John Hughes’s 1979 National Lampoon article, “Vacation ’58,” launched with 1983 movie National Lampoon’s Vacation. Fueled by the comic stylings of Chevy Chase as earnestly quixotic disaster-prone family man Clark Griswold, the first film became a smash hit by showcasing the luck-deprived Griswold family’s legendarily horrendous cross-country trek to fictional theme park Wally World. It was followed by four theatrically-released sequels in 1985’s National Lampoon’s European Vacation, 1989’s National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, 1997’s Vegas Vacation and 2015 revival Vacation, along with 2003 NBC TV movie Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie’s Island Adventure.

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As far as the cast for The Griswolds is concerned, nothing has been confirmed about the possibility of returns for any film franchise alumni, including Galecki himself. The films maintained consistency with its adult cast, with Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo starring as Clark and Ellen Griswold, joined by Randy Quaid as “Cousin” Eddie (the boorish husband of Ellen’s cousin), with their children, Rusty and Audrey played by new actors with each iteration. However, the 2015 revival film shifted focus to a grown Rusty (as played by Ed Helms), and his own disastrous family vacation attempt. Thus, it’s unclear if the TV project – which we know will be set in modern times – will reboot the original family dynamic with a new Clark and Ellen, or if it will somehow continue the current state of its continuity.

The Griswolds doesn’t have a release date to cite as of yet. However, its platform, HBO Max, is set to launch in May 2020 on a date to be revealed.

Joseph Baxter is a contributor for Den of Geek and Syfy Wire. You can find his work here. Follow him on Twitter @josbaxter.