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.
And I thought the ten development projects that I covered in my previous column were a lot, this time around there are twelve new sci fi / fantasy TV development announcements plus several high profile web series to report on (after only a week and a half). The snowball on sci fi TV development just keeps getting bigger and bigger. Will there be enough of an audience to support all these shows (assuming they get picked up to series) or do we have that many more cancellation announcements in the near future? Here’s the latest ones that are in the works:
Dark Matter: Syfy continues to develop more space-based, science fiction oriented scripted shows as they have announced plans to adapt the comic book series Dark Matter to television. According to TV Line, “the crew of a derelict spaceship is awakened from stasis with no memories of who they are or how they got on board. Facing threats at every turn, they have to work together to survive a voyage charged with vengeance, betrayal and hidden secrets.” Stargate veterans Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie (who also wrote the comic) will helm the production and thirteen episodes are planned for its first season which will likely air either late 2015 or early 2016.
Incorporated: Not only is Syfy getting back into the science fiction business, but they are bringing in some big names for one of their upcoming projects. Matt Damon and Ben Affleck will executive produce the series Incorporated which comes from their Pearl Street Films production company. According to The Wrap, “The series tells the story of one man’s efforts to beat a corrupted system, where corporations have seemingly unlimited power”. There is no word at this point on when this series will air.
Other Space: Two of the original actors from the cult series Mystery Science Theater 3000 will re-unite on this upcoming Yahoo sci fi comedy. Joel Hodgson and Trace Beaulieu will be working together again and Beaulieu will be voicing a robot character similar to what he did for MST3K. Yahoo describes the series as “a journey in unknown space set in the early 22nd century, when the human race has mapped most of the known universe, failed to find alien life, and frankly gotten a little tired of the whole thing.” It is targeting a release on the streaming service in Spring 2015.
Guardians of the Galaxy: First it was on, then it was off, now it appears to be back on again. The Guardians of the Galaxy animated series will happen and it is scheduled to join the Marvel Universe block on Disney XD in 2015.
Westworld: We already knew that this series adaptation was in the works, but Deadline Hollywood is now reporting that HBO is close to giving it an official order. The series is described as “as a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the future of sin”. If you think you are experiencing deja vu over a Westworld TV series, do not worry because there has been no change in the matrix. A (very) short-lived spin-off of the original move titled Beyond Westworld appeared on CBS in 1980 and just recently made its way to DVD.
Resident Evil / Mortal Instruments: Constantin Film is working on adapting two big screen franchises to the small screen. The multi-film franchise Resident Evil (based on the popular video game) will make the move to television following its next feature film. And while Mortal Instruments (based on the YA novels) did not do well in the theaters, it has sold well on DVD and a small screen continuation of that franchise is planned as well. Should these series get picked up, they would likely air in late 2015 or sometime in 2016.
Bewitched Reboot: The big screen Bewitched reboot may have disappointed at the Box Office, but that has not discouraged yet another attempt to bring the franchise back. Sony Pictures TV is currently shopping around an update of the classic series and several networks are interested according to Deadline Hollywood. The project comes from the same producers of the film who had previously been it talks with CBS about bringing the show back. Persistence seems to be their strength, so expect more news to come on this.
Scream Queens: American Horror Story co-creator Ryan Murphy is working on a horror comedy called Scream Queens that will take a page from the AHS book and deliver a season long story arc that focuses on two female leads. FOX has placed an order for a fifteen episode first season that will “center on a college campus that’s rocked by a series of murders” according to TV.com. It is currently targeted for a Fall 2015 debut.
Between: Netflix has signed on with this Canadian series that will air on the streaming service outside of Canada. Variety gives the following description for the series: “a town is under siege from a mysterious disease that has killed everybody — except for those 21 years old and younger”. The premise sounds similar to the 2002 Jeremiah which was created by J. Michael Straczynski and aired for two seasons on Showtime.
Doctors: 20th Century Fox has picked up the rights to the Doctors graphic novel written by Dash Shaw and David Goyer is working on adapting it to television. According to Hollywood Reporter, the premise “centers around a doctor and his team who can go into a dead person’s consciousness in the form of a memory and temporarily bring them back to life”. No air date is currently targeted for this one.
The Other Dead: Who says zombies have to be human? Animal Planet (the “surprisingly human” channel that has less and less shows about animals these days) is working on a scripted series based on IDW’s The Other Dead graphic novel. Variety describes it as “set in Louisiana during the ‘next Hurricane Katrina’ and revolves around a world of undead animals and unrelenting storms”. The show will likely premiere sometime in 2016
Eva Longoria Supernatural Anthology: The former Desperate Housewife Eva Longoria is going creepy as she is working on a supernatural anthology series that is “inspired by the rich world of Hispanic folklore and myth”. It sounds like this one will borrow from American Horror Story as “each season will explore a different legend”. The first season will be based on the Hispanic tale of La Llorona, the “weeping woman”. She is working with NBC on this project, though no air date has been set yet.
Upcoming Web Series from WB: Warner Bros has set up a new digital production company called Blue Ribbon Content and they have several sci fi web series that they are working on. Following is information on three of them recently reported by The Hollywood Reporter:
Ouroboros — Original horror/thriller from Weed Road Pictures, producer Akiva Goldsman (executive producer of the Paranormal Activity franchise) and writer/director/producer Damon Santostefano follows two police officers over the course of one night in a remote part of Wisconsin as they are overwhelmed by a series of mysterious attacks … and an epidemic of possession.
Static Shock — Writer/producer/director Reginald Hudlin (Best Picture Oscar nominee for producing Django Unchained) leads the creative team behind a live-action adaptation of Static Shock, featuring the African-American super hero Static, aka Virgil Ovid Hawkins. Static Shock is based on theStatic comic co-created by the late Dwayne McDuffie with co-writer Robert L. Washington IIIand artist John Paul Leon, which was originally published by the DC Comics imprint Milestone Comics and, later, by DC Comics. Milestone Media co-founder/comic book artist/TV producer Denys Cowan (the original Static Shock animated series) is collaborating with Hudlin on the new Static Shock.
Critters — Blue Ribbon revisits the world of the legendary New Line Cinema cult classic movie franchise, as a new batch of alien pests descends upon the planet in this new digital series written byMichael Jelenic and Aaron Horvath (Teen Titans Go!).