News, updates, and (mostly viable) rumors relating to development of science fiction / fantasy television productions. If you have tips or more info on these or other productions, please pass them along in the comments.
Is there any doubt that sci fi /fantasy shows are hot these days on television? (Maybe too hot based on some of the mediocre final products we have been seeing hit the small screen.) In just the past two weeks there have been at least ten development projects announced, and I believe that I may have missed one or two. If you hear of any that I have not covered yet in this column, please include the information in the comments.
Twin Peaks Revival: It looks like this genre-bending series that many sci fi fans embraced will be returning to television. Series creator David Lynch tweeted: “Dear Twitter Friends: That gum you like is going to come back in style! #damngoodcoffee” and word followed that Showtime would be bringing it back as a nine episode limited series with Lynch directing all the episodes. In an interview, series co-creator Mark Frost (who will also be returning to the show) said that they would like to bring back as many of the original characters as possible including Kyle MacLachlan’s Agent Cooper (who recently tweeted: Better fire up that percolator and find my black suit 🙂 #Twinpeaks). The series is targeting 2016 for its return.
Lost in Space (Again): A reboot of this camp-classic sci fi TV series, originally created by Irwin Allen, is in the works from Legendary TV. The writers of Dracula Untold, Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless, are onboard to pen and produce the pilot. As this was just announced, there is no target date for when and if it will hit the small screen. There have been two previous reboot attempts on the franchise starting with the the 1998 feature film which starred Gary Oldman and William Hurt, though it didn’t do well enough at the Box Office to justify any sequels. The second was a pilot produced in 2003 and directed by John Woo which did not continue into a series.
The X-Men/X-Factor: Yet another comic book property may be coming to the small screen as Bleeding Cool has revealed that an X-Men live action series is currently in the works. FOX is currently in early development on the show and Comic Book Movie has heard that it may be based on Peter David’s run on X-Factor and that the character Quicksilver as well as a female lead could headline the team. As the project is in the early stages of development, there could be many changes if and when it finally makes it to television.
Myst: This popular 90’s computer game is headed to the small screen courtesy of Legendary TV (the same people bringing us the Lost in Space reboot above). The first-person game took place from the point of view of The Stranger who traveled to a mysterious island called Myst which in turn took him to other islands filled with adventure. No well known industry names have been attached to the project yet and it is in the early development stages at this point.
Gerry Anderson’s Firestorm: A Kickstarter campaign has successfully raised enough money to produce the pilot for a series created by the late Gerry Anderson (Space:1999, Thunderbirds) called Firestorm and it is now working toward its stretch goals. The production will be filmed in “Ultramarionation” (puppets, practical effects, and digital effects) and looks similar in concept to Anderson’s 1960’s series Thunderbirds, though apparently with a darker tone. You can read the full description of the project and contribute towards its stretch goals at this link.
King Kong Animated Series: Netflix continues to move forward with original programming and currently have an animated reboot of King Kong in the queue from 41 Entertainment and Arad Prods. This will consist of a CGI animated movie and a series continuation of 12 thirty minute episodes which will deliver “a fresh and modern take on the classic King Kong story”. Titled Kong – King of the Apes, Variety gives the following description of the project:
Set in 2050, the humanistic giant ape is housed on San Francisco’s Alcatraz Island, which has since been transformed into a natural history and marine preserve. But when the star attraction suddenly goes ape — and Kong becomes public enemy No. 1 — the villain that framed him is free to unleash an army of gigantic robotic dinosaurs on the unsuspecting world.
It is currently scheduled to air on the streaming service at some point in 2016.
Metal Hurlant Origins: The French sci fi series Metal Hurlant Chronicles is getting a reboot of sorts. That 2012 anthology series (which aired on Syfy in the U.S.) was based on the Metal Hurlant comic magazine (which was spun off as Heavy Metal in the States in the late 70’s) and produced two seasons. The new version will introduced a serialized format and continuing characters that will carry through a seasonal arc. Doctor Who/Being Human writer Jamie Mathieson has been attached to the project which is targeting a late 2015 air date in its home country.
Five Ghosts: A television adaptation of the comic book series Five Ghosts, created by Frank J. Barbiere and Chris Mooneyham, is in the works from Universal Cable Productions. The comic follows a 1930’s treasure hunter possessed by the ghosts of five characters well known from literature: Merlin, Robin Hood, Sherlock Holmes, Musashi, and Dracula. Evan Daugherty (Snow White and the Huntsman, Divergent) will pen the script for the pilot which is currently in the early stages of development
Maidenhead: NBC has picked up a supernatural/medical drama from The Blacklist‘s Davis Entertainment and Source Code writer Ben Ripley has been attached to pen the pilot script. Deadline describes the project as
A medical procedural wrapped in a very realistic, frightening supernatural drama. When a scientist is called to a tony Connecticut suburb to investigate an ailing teen girl, he discovers that her affliction presents itself as a demonic contagion slowly spreading through the town. His team peels back the secrets and lies buried within the fabric of the community while medically deconstructing the tropes of demon mythology.
There is no current mention of a potential air date, but NBC will pay a significant penalty if they decide to pass on the project.
Utopia: HBO has announced plans to produce a remake of this British series from Channel 4. According to Hollywood Reporter:
The HBO story revolves around the die-hard fans of an iconic underground graphic novel who are suddenly launched into their own pop-culture thriller when they learn that the author has secretly written a sequel. Unfortunately, the new manuscript is much more than just a book and those on the hunt for it suddenly find themselves in a game of shifting loyalties, conspiracy and shocking twists as the true meaning of the book is slowly revealed.
It has a similar meta concept to The CW’s short-lived Cult which aired in 2013. Channel 4 just recently announced that they would not be bringing back the original series for a third season.