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Science Fiction & Fantasy Farscape, Babylon 5, Star Wars, Firefly, vampires, genre books and film.

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Old October 10 2011, 09:41 PM   #1
Temis the Vorta
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sf/f TV development news - 2013

I compiled this list for another forum, but it's more appropriate to this one.

Sci Fi

Cloak & Dagger (ABC Family) - drama based on the Marvel comic of the same name about teen runaways in New York city who develop superpowers - he can engulf enemies in darkness, she can emit daggers of light - after being forced to take experimental drugs.

Defiance (SyFy) – Rockne O’Bannon is behind this experiment in the “first multi-platform shooter MMO which interconnects with a global television program.” The plotline appears to be pretty much a first-person shooter game, ported to TV.

Hyde (ABC) - contemporary interpretation of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic split-personality tale.

Jeckyll & Hyde (also ABC, how’s that for a split personality?) - drama about a female criminal psychologist in San Francisco who is drawn into the mysterious world of a brilliant but inhibited scientist and his volatile alter ego.

Last Hope (Showtime) - drama about the last hospital on planet earth.

The Last Resort (ABC) - thriller set in the near future when the country is very fractured and revolves around the crew of a U.S. nuclear submarine who become hunted after ignoring an order to shoot nuclear missiles.

Mockingbird (ABC Family) - drama featuring the marvel comics character.

Pandemic (FOX) - drama about an epidemiologist who is facing difficult adversaries as he fights to stop a catastrophic pandemic.

Powers (FX) - based on the graphic novel series, Powers is a high concept crime procedural where the detectives police the brutal and sensational crimes surrounding super power beings, while illuminating the weaknesses and strengths of humanity in the process. Powers follows the life of Christian Walker, a homicide detective devoted solely to cases that involve "powers" (people with superpowers).

Source Code (CBS) - drama based on the film about three former federal agents who are part of a top-secret program that uses technology to jump into the consciousness of people involved in tragic events.

Stranger Planet (FOX) – Drama about a hard-boiled L.A. cop who stumbles upon the existence of aliens living among us and must team up with two aliens in order to solve intergalactic mysteries on earth.

Untitled Frankenstein Project (NBC) - drama billed as a modern-day Frankenstein tale.

Untitled Fun with DNA Project (ABC) - drama about a genetic scientist who uses his Newfound discovery that he has the psychopath gene to help the FBI catch killers.

Untitled Warehouse 13 Spinoff Project (SyFy) - spin-off of the SyFy hit centering on the character of HG Wells and her adventures in a 1890s steampunk environment.

Zero Hour (HBO) – Trent Reznor’s pet project/dystopian drama about a skeptical everyman who gets swept up in one of history's greatest conspiracies: a spectacular mystery surrounding the Twelve Apostles.

Supernatural/Fantasy/Horror

ABC and CW have dueling Beauty & the Beast remakes in development.

American Gods (HBO) – Based on Neil Gaiman’s novel.

Bewitched (CBS) - revival of the 1964-72 comedy about a witch who marries a mortal and tries to lead the life of a typical suburban housewife.

The Damned (Showtime) - drama about a cursed man who is stuck in the middle of a turf war in modern-day Chicago where mobsters are demons.

Haunted (ABC) - drama about a paranormal investigator who each week helps the living move on from a spirit that can't let go.

The Munsters (NBC) – Bryan Fuller’s revival of the 1960s-series-turned-movie franchise billed as Modern Family meets True Blood.

Pillars of Smoke (NBC) - drama which revolves around a police investigation into disappearance of a remote cult that slowly uncovers the darkest secrets of the region and its inhabitants, as well as a grander political conspiracy and environmental disaster from which the cult members are attempting to escape.

The Seven Wonders
(ABC) - drama which tracks an unlikely five-member team as they search the world for seven pieces of an ancient and powerful relic.

Sleepers (CBS) - drama about a woman who has the gift to save people who are caught somewhere between life and death.

The Spectre (FOX) - drama based on the DC comics hero, a former cop serving time in afterlife limbo who hunts down earthly criminals on behalf of the dead - and mortals soon to be dead if ultimate justice is not served.

Under the Dome (Showtime) – drama based on Stephen King's novel about locals at a Maine vacation spot who battle one another when a force field suddenly surrounds their town and cuts them off from the rest of the world.

Untitled Ghost Hunters Project (TNT) - drama about a motley crew of young friends find their calling as investigators of paranormal disturbances and join forces to fight crime against the mysterious ghosts that haunt their city.

Untitled I See Dead People Project (CBS) - drama about a female detective who finds she can interact with dead people - the victims of murders she investigates.

Untitled More Weird Shit in British Columbia Forests Project (TNT) - this drama follows a family of cops who uncover the mystical and often crime-ridden world of a small Pacific Northwest town where things aren't as they appear.

Untitled Harry Potter for Grownups Project (ABC) - drama about a female cop who, after pursuing a seemingly unsolvable case, discovers a magical world that exists within New York City.

Wasteland (TNT) - drama about a U.S. Marshal in the American Southwest who is charged with hunting down the supernatural escapees on the run following a federal prison break.

The Watchers (ABC) - drama about a fallen angel looking for his mortal love.

Wicked Good (ABC) - drama about a family of witches - soldiers in an eternal battle between good and evil - who are dispatched to suburban orange county, where they must root out dark forces while battling the challenges of everyday life in suburbia.

Documentary

Cosmos (FOX) - Neil DeGrasse Tyson is the host of this revival/updating of the venerable Carl Sagan series.

Most of this stuff will never see the light of day, and we won't find out which ones made the next step to pilot stage until February or so, but it's interesting to see the scope of projects being developed and what's not being developed.

I was surprised to find that the sci fi side of the equation vs. fantasy is about equal – I had the impression that fantasy is very dominant now. As expected, there are a lot of cops and not much that even can be generously called space opera. I miss spaceships, sniff. There’s a lot of comedy being developed, but almost none of it is sf/f, which seems like a real missed opportunity.

Any channel will have a limited opportunity for sf/f shows, so the odds of any one show go up when the channel isn't developing others (Powers on FX) and way down when it's competing with a ton of shows (anything on broadcast, especially ABC).

It's nice to see Showtime and HBO have a lot of stuff in development, but that's been the case in past seasons and what's emerged has been pretty skimpy anyway.

Looks like AMC is satisfied with zombies for its genre show now, although I've heard that a show about Earth's first contact with an alien species isn't entirely dead yet...
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Old October 10 2011, 09:53 PM   #2
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Re: the state of sf/f TV development for 2012-13

The only one that interested me was The Last Resort. I miss spaceship shows too.
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Old October 10 2011, 09:59 PM   #3
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Re: the state of sf/f TV development for 2012-13

I'm crossing my fingers for the WH13 spinoff.
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Old October 10 2011, 10:00 PM   #4
Temis the Vorta
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Re: the state of sf/f TV development for 2012-13

Stranger Planet is as close as it gets to space opera from this entire list. Maybe Falling Skies can evolve in that direction. I'm grasping at straws now.

I also like Powers, Source Code, Zero Hour and The Damned (but I wish that was set during Prohibition, that would be so much more fun) and I'm curious to see how Defiance turns out, although not hopeful. Attempts to inject interactivity into scripted fiction usually end in tears.

Wasteland
could be a hoot if they remember to give it a sense of humor. I'd watch Bewitched, if the producers have the wits to cast Julie Benz in the lead role. For Darren, oh...how about Colin Hanks? And of course, I'm looking forward to the updated Cosmos.

I'm a bit amazed to see no zombies, vampires or fairy tale characters in this list. Fads are fleeting, I suppose...
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Old October 10 2011, 10:16 PM   #5
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Re: the state of sf/f TV development for 2012-13

I expect Falling Skies will limit its space opera stuff to the Grand Intentions of the Aliens. The Aliens may be involved in all kinds of galactic shenangians, but we're gonna be sticking with the Second Mass all through the years and maybe visiting motherships for season finales and the like.

Stranger Planet sounds like Alien Nation or Men In Black or something in the middle of those two extremes.

Anyway I loved Source Code, which had a little nod to Quantum Leap (an obvious model for a TV version in retrospect) but am wary since apparently the TV deal took Duncan Jones by surprise.

Optimistic about American Gods because HBO, although I do get the feeling I should read the novel to see whether that optimism has anything on it. Defiance more lukewarm but Rockne will mean that I might look at the pilot unless everyone says it is terrible. Zero Hour rubs me the wrong way. Sure, esoteric religious material can be blended well with science fiction - just look at PKD - but I got a hunch this is far more Da Vinci Code than Vast Active Living Intelligence System.
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Old October 10 2011, 10:43 PM   #6
Temis the Vorta
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Re: the state of sf/f TV development for 2012-13

Even if Falling Skies visits alien motherships and the interiors of buildings on alien worlds (which comes down to the same thing from the perspective of TV production), that would be more than we have now. A cut scene or two of an alien world would be appreciated as well. How much can that cost, really?
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Old October 10 2011, 10:50 PM   #7
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Re: the state of sf/f TV development for 2012-13

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
I'm crossing my fingers for the WH13 spinoff.
me too. i love the HG Wells character.
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Old October 10 2011, 11:14 PM   #8
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Re: the state of sf/f TV development for 2012-13

Quentin Collins wrote: View Post
Greg Cox wrote: View Post
I'm crossing my fingers for the WH13 spinoff.
me too. i love the HG Wells character.
Ditto. And Last Resort sounds good. Wondering about Last Hope. Gonna take some clever writing to explain why no one builds another hospital.
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Old October 11 2011, 12:02 AM   #9
Temis the Vorta
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Re: the state of sf/f TV development for 2012-13

I'd make a crack about a Tea Party takeover, but I'd probably regret it.
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Old October 11 2011, 12:09 AM   #10
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Re: the state of sf/f TV development for 2012-13

Temis the Bleeding Aorta wrote: View Post
Cloak & Dagger (ABC Family) - drama based on the Marvel comic of the same name about teen runaways in New York city who develop superpowers - he can engulf enemies in darkness, she can emit daggers of light - after being forced to take experimental drugs.
Not very familiar with the comics characters, and this description of their powers doesn't make them sound very useful or flexible. Still, it would depend on the writing and characterization.


Defiance (SyFy) – Rockne O’Bannon is behind this experiment in the “first multi-platform shooter MMO which interconnects with a global television program.” The plotline appears to be pretty much a first-person shooter game, ported to TV.
That sounds profoundly uninteresting to me.


Hyde (ABC) - contemporary interpretation of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic split-personality tale.

Jeckyll & Hyde (also ABC, how’s that for a split personality?) - drama about a female criminal psychologist in San Francisco who is drawn into the mysterious world of a brilliant but inhibited scientist and his volatile alter ego.
Probably they're going to pick one over the other, but imagine if they both sold -- and aired back to back on the same night! "Hyde-day on ABC!"


Last Hope (Showtime) - drama about the last hospital on planet earth.
Post-apocalyptic, I assume.


Mockingbird (ABC Family) - drama featuring the marvel comics character.
She's a SHIELD agent, non-superpowered IIRC, so this could have mainstream spy-fi appeal. Wouldn't it be cool if it were set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and featured Agent Coulson as a recurring or regular character?


Powers (FX) - based on the graphic novel series, Powers is a high concept crime procedural where the detectives police the brutal and sensational crimes surrounding super power beings, while illuminating the weaknesses and strengths of humanity in the process. Powers follows the life of Christian Walker, a homicide detective devoted solely to cases that involve "powers" (people with superpowers).
Very interested in this, though I'm not sure about the casting.


Source Code (CBS) - drama based on the film about three former federal agents who are part of a top-secret program that uses technology to jump into the consciousness of people involved in tragic events.
Not surprising that they'd try to get a series out of this concept; it does seem like Quantum Leap meets Seven Days. Obviously they'd have to change things considerably from the way the technology worked in the movie.


Stranger Planet (FOX) – Drama about a hard-boiled L.A. cop who stumbles upon the existence of aliens living among us and must team up with two aliens in order to solve intergalactic mysteries on earth.
So it's a more serious Men in Black. Okay, potentially interesting, but why would so many alien crimes and mysteries be happening on Earth?


Untitled Warehouse 13 Spinoff Project (SyFy) - spin-off of the SyFy hit centering on the character of HG Wells and her adventures in a 1890s steampunk environment.
Pleasepleasepleaseyes, do this show now. They could just call it Warehouse 12, but that might be a bit confusing. Wells of the Warehouse?


ABC and CW have dueling Beauty & the Beast remakes in development.
Am I right that this refers to the '80s Linda Hamilton/Ron Perlman series and not the fairy tale?


American Gods (HBO) – Based on Neil Gaiman’s novel.
Gaiman is good. I haven't read that one, but I probably ought to.


Bewitched (CBS) - revival of the 1964-72 comedy about a witch who marries a mortal and tries to lead the life of a typical suburban housewife.
Not sure how well this could work. The original show, in its first season before it degenerated into shallow gimmickry, was an allegory about class, gender, and race relations, "mixed" marriages and minorities "passing" as the majority, things like that. Could a modern remake have the same allegorical substance, and if so, what would be the focus? Or would it just be about goofy adventures and special effects like the original ended up being?


The Munsters (NBC) – Bryan Fuller’s revival of the 1960s-series-turned-movie franchise billed as Modern Family meets True Blood.
I would be so much happier if this were The Addams Family. I never got into The Munsters.


The Seven Wonders (ABC) - drama which tracks an unlikely five-member team as they search the world for seven pieces of an ancient and powerful relic.
I saw that show. It was called Power Rangers: Operation Overdrive.


The Spectre (FOX) - drama based on the DC comics hero, a former cop serving time in afterlife limbo who hunts down earthly criminals on behalf of the dead - and mortals soon to be dead if ultimate justice is not served.
I don't care for the Spectre. He seems more malevolent and sadistic than the criminals he hunts. I'd rather see other DC properties adapted, shows about heroes and protectors rather than demons of vengeance.


Under the Dome (Showtime) – drama based on Stephen King's novel about locals at a Maine vacation spot who battle one another when a force field suddenly surrounds their town and cuts them off from the rest of the world.
Hey, how about getting DC to co-produce this show and making it about the bottle city of Kandor? I mean, come on, Stephen, we've seen you tackle Maine once or twice before.


Untitled More Weird Shit in British Columbia Forests Project (TNT) - this drama follows a family of cops who uncover the mystical and often crime-ridden world of a small Pacific Northwest town where things aren't as they appear.
Does "things" include the owls?


I was surprised to find that the sci fi side of the equation vs. fantasy is about equal – I had the impression that fantasy is very dominant now.
"Now?" Try "for most of my adult life."
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Old October 11 2011, 12:36 AM   #11
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Re: the state of sf/f TV development for 2012-13

Christopher wrote: View Post


I don't care for the Spectre. He seems more malevolent and sadistic than the criminals he hunts. I'd rather see other DC properties adapted, shows about heroes and protectors rather than demons of vengeance.."

But that's what makes him so spooky and scary! I confess that the Spectre has been one of my favorite DC characters since the days of Neal Adams at least. Depending on how he's written, he can be creepy or cosmic or both.

Done right, he's one part superhero comic, one part "Tales from the Crypt"--which is probably why he appeals to the horror fan in me.
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Old October 11 2011, 01:04 AM   #12
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Re: the state of sf/f TV development for 2012-13

"The Last Resort" is the only original and ambitious thing on that list. I only wish it wasn't being developed for ABC. HBO please.
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Old October 11 2011, 02:41 AM   #13
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Re: the state of sf/f TV development for 2012-13

I have this feeling that the quality of the shows will depend less on the bare-bones premises and a lot more on who's making them. I have a lot higher hopes for the series being made by HBO, Showtime and FX vs ABC, NBC, CW and CBS, with TNT and FOX in the middle.
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Old October 11 2011, 06:36 AM   #14
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Re: the state of sf/f TV development for 2012-13

It's all too mundane for me. I much prefer the Farscape style of science fiction. American Gods is the only show I'm intersted in, and that is solely because of Neil Gaiman.
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Old October 11 2011, 07:21 AM   #15
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Re: the state of sf/f TV development for 2012-13

The fantasy side of things look profoundly uninteresting.

The sci-fi side doesn't look much better, aside from maybe Last Resort.

I am tired of the networks trying to dress up your standard criminal procedural show with a sci-fi gimmick and then selling it as science fiction.

Give me a show with ambition and scope, at least it isn't the same rehashed cases of the week every week.
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