Sci Fi TV Development: J. Michael Straczynski to Write Red Mars TV Series, X-Men Series Updates, Plus Pilot Orders

By | February 2, 2015

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.

We are into pilot season now, so this is when networks start ordering tryout episodes for shows they are considering for the upcoming season.  Many of these pilots often fail to launch (and we never get a chance to see them), but it doesn’t stop the networks from funneling money into them and expect more to be announced over the next month or so.  For the pilots mentioned below, assume that they are targeted for the 2015-16 season.  Hollywood Reporter is keeping track of all the broadcast network pilots at this link.

red-mars-tv-seriesRed Mars – The previously announced television adaptation of Kim Stanley Robinson’s Red Mars books at Spike is moving forward and now Babylon 5 creator  J. Michael Straczynski has been announced as the lead writer.  This series about the colonization of Mars has been “fast-tracked” into production and could hit the small screen later this year or early in 2016.

The X-MenWord has surfaced again about a TV series based on the X-Men comic book characters. This news first hit last year mostly as rumors, but things appear to be moving forward at this point.  20th Century Fox owns the rights to the characters in feature films, but would have to get approval from Marvel to bring them the small screen and they are in talks now.  The previous rumors suggested that the series would be tied to the films and might feature the character Quicksilver.

Limitless – CBS has picked up a pilot based on the 2011 feature film Limitless which starred Bradly Cooper.  According to the Hollywood Reporter, the series will follow “Brian Sinclair as he discovers the power of the mysterious drug NZT and is coerced into using his newfound drug-enhanced abilities to solve weekly cases for the FBI.”  Fringe / Star Trek veterans Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci will be attached as executive producers.

Black Mirror – This British sci fi / horror anthology series has apparently attracted significant attention in the States now that it is available on Netflix and a U.S. adaptation is in the works.  The American arm of the same production company that did the British series is spearheading the adaptation and series creator Charlie Booker will be involved.  It is in the early stages with no network or streaming service attached to it, though, so it will probably be at least a year before we see anything from this.

Frankenstein – Fox has ordered a pilot for this series loosely based on the Mary Shelley novel.  According to The Wrap, the show will follow “Ray Pritchard, a morally corrupt retired cop, who is given a second chance at life when he is brought back from the dead. Now younger and stronger, Pritchard will have to choose between his old temptations and his new sense of purpose.”

Strange Calls – NBC has picked up a pilot for this supernatural comedy from the executive producer of Cougar Town.  According to Variety, the show “follows an affable but unlucky police officer who’s transferred to a rural town and soon realizes, with the help of a strange and elderly night watchman, that the bizarre town may be supernatural.”

Apocalypse – NBC has greenlighted a ten episode order of this dramedy series that will star Rob Lowe.  According to the press release, the show is

a bold, adrenaline-fueled series about the last days of mankind. Set against a backdrop of apocalyptic chaos, the story follows an extended family whose lives start to intersect in the most unexpected ways. Their renewed connections are triggered by the news that a comet is on an unavoidable collision course toward Earth.

This will be a co-production with Sky TV and there is currently no word about when they expect it to hit the schedule.

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