With Comic-Con in full swing this week, there have been plenty of development announcements for new sci fi and fantasy TV shows, many based on comics. This week’s post covers development announcements that have come out through Friday morning. Additional announcements that came out over the weekend including a reboot of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer and a Star Trek spin-off are covered at this link.
Batwoman Will Join the Arrow-verse
Despite the slipping ratings of its superhero shows, The CW is apparently not giving up on the Arrow-verse and is hoping that Batwoman can inject some life into its DC shows. The character is scheduled to show up in the annual crossover of the four main shows (Black Lightning has not been brought into the Arrow-verse yet), and apparently the network is considering a series focused on the character for their 2019 schedule. Vampire Diaries executive producer Caroline Dries will join Greg Berlanti in the development of the show. Following is the description of the project given by Deadline Hollywood:
Armed with a passion for social justice and a flair for speaking her mind, Kate Kane soars onto the streets of Gotham as Batwoman, an out lesbian and highly trained street fighter primed to snuff out the failing city’s criminal resurgence. But don’t call her a hero yet. In a city desperate for a savior, Kate must overcome her own demons before embracing the call to be Gotham’s symbol of hope.
The network could try to get this one in place by mid-season, but with a crowded schedule, expect Fall 2019 as a more likely timeframe.
Stargirl Will be Streaming to Televisions in 2019
Yet another DC super-heroine will be getting her own series as the new DC Universe service is planning a live-action Stargirl series which will be available for streaming next year. Geoff Johns, who created the character, will be writing the series, and the ever-present Greg Berlanti will be onboard as well. Following is the brief description of the series given by Deadline Hollywood: “high school student Whitmore bands together with the Justice Society of America to fight villains, past and present.” Stargirl joins Titans and Doom Patrol as the third live-action series planned for DC Universe. Three animated series are in the works as well: Harley Quinn, Swamp Thing, and a revival of Young Justice. Titans is set to debut this Fall while the others are planned for next year.
HBO Picks up The Nevers from Josh Whedon
Joss Whedon–creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly–will be returning to television with the sci fi series titled The Nevers. HBO has given a straight-to-series order for the show which is described as “a sci-fi epic about a gang of Victorian women who find themselves with unusual abilities, relentless enemies, and a mission that might change the world”. Whedon had this to say about HBO picking up the show:
The Nevers is maybe the most ambitious narrative I’ve created, and I can’t imagine a better home for it than HBO. Not only are they the masters of cinematic long-form, but their instant understanding of my odd, intimate epic was as emotional as it was incisive. It’s been too long since I created an entirely new fictional world, and the HBO team offer not just scope and experience, not just ‘prestige,’ but a passionate collaboration. I could go on, but — I’m impatiently grateful to say — I have work to do.
The premium cable channel will likely give Whedon plenty of creative freedom to work on this series, something he did not have on the last show he created for television, Dollhouse. FOX execs interfered behind the scenes with that one and clamped down on some of the more adult themes Whedon wanted to explore. But that should not be a problem with The Nevers on HBO. Expect to the series to arrive on the premium cabler at some point in late 2019.
Mark Millar is Bringing Jupiter’s Legacy, Sharkey the Bounty Hunter, and More to Netflix
Last year, Mark Millar signed a deal to develop projects based on his Millarworld imprint for Netflix, and now the first slate of productions has been announced. The streaming service will do series based on Jupiter’s Legacy and American Jesus as well as movies based on Sharkey the Bounty Hunter, Empress, and Huck. Hollywood Reporter gives the following description for each project:
Jupiter’s Legacy: The series is a multigenerational drama that follows the world’s first generation of superheroes, who received their powers in the 1930s. In the present day, they’re the revered elder guard, but their superpowered children struggle to live up to the legendary feats of their parents.
American Jesus: The series follows a 12-year-old boy who suddenly discovers he has returned as Jesus Christ and can turn water into wine and perhaps even raise the dead. The drama explores how he will deal with the destiny to lead the world in a conflict thousands of years in the making.
Sharkey the Bounty Hunter is set in a new sci-fi universe and revolves around a blue-collar bounty hunter who tracks criminals across his galaxy in his converted, rocket-powered ice cream truck. Aided by his 10-year-old partner, he’s out for the biggest bounty of his career.
Huck: Millar’s 2016 riff on Superman featuring a small-town man who secretly does good deeds with his superpowers.
Empress: About the wife of a galactic dictator who dares to escape her husband with her children in tow. An interplanetary chase ensues.
Expect these projects to start popping up on the steaming service throughout 2019.
Amazon Orders Tales from the Loop Series Based on a Painting
There have been plenty of television shows that have been based on comics, books, movies, even games, but now we are getting one based on a set of paintings. Amazon has placed an eight-episode order for a series based on the art of Simon Stalenhag. Hollywood Reporter gives the following description of the project:
Amazon’s Tales From the Loop explores the town of people who live above “The Loop,” a machine built to unlock and explore the mysteries of the universe, making things possible that were previously relegated to science fiction. In the fantastical, mysterious town, poignant human tales are told that bare universal emotional experiences while drawing on the intrigue of storytelling.
Amazon’s co-head of television development Albert Cheng had this to say about the series: “Simon Stalenhag’s paintings are renowned for their vision of a not-too-distant, futuristic landscape. We are looking forward to bringing that to life and sharing it with our Prime Video audience”.
This series will likely be targeting a 2019 debut date.
Netflix Picks Up Zombie Series from Z-Nation Co-Creator
Netflix has given an eight-episode order to the zombie series Black Summer which comes from Karl Schaefer, co-creator of Syfy’s Z Nation, and John Hyams, who executive produces that series. Jaime King has been set in the lead role. Deadline Hollywood gives the following description for the series:
Black Summer stars King as a mother, torn from her daughter, who embarks upon a harrowing journey, stopping at nothing to find her. Thrust alongside a small group of American refugees, she must brave a hostile new world and make brutal decisions during the most deadly summer of a zombie apocalypse.
This one will likely join Netflix’s other originals at some point in 2019.
Aftershock Comics The Lost City Explorers and The Normals Head to Television
A television adaptation of the AfterShock comic The Lost City Explorers, created by Zack Kaplan, is in the works. Deadline Hollywood gives the following description for the project:
The Lost City Explorers is focused on a group of teens who become underground urban explorers after a mysterious expedition leads to the disappearance of one of their fathers. Following his tracks on a coming-of-age journey through subterranean tunnels, they ultimately find the holy grail of lost cities, Atlantis, buried right under New York City.
No network is attached at this point, but Universal Television is producing the series and will likely want to keep it in house at one of the NBC networks. Another Aftershock comic The Normals, based on the Adam Glass series, is also being developed for television, this one by FOX 21. Following is the description for that one:
The Normals is centered around one man who finds out his perfect life and family may all be an illusion, setting him on a crusade to save what he believes is real and loves with all his being, while having to save the world in the process as forces seek to destroy him.
That one will likely target a 2019 debut date.
First Trailer for YouTube’s Upcoming Space Series Origin
The first trailer for the upcoming space-based series Origin was unveiled at Comic-Con. Following is the official description of the series:
In Origin, a chilling new original series from the producers of The Crown & Lost, we meet a group of troubled passengers as they wake up on a damaged spaceship abandoned in deep space. Each having left behind a dark past in search of a fresh start on a newly colonised planet, they’re desperate to survive at all costs. But as their terrifying situation spirals into paranoia, they come to realize that the greatest threat to their dream of starting over – and indeed their lives – might actually be within their midst…
That one debuts on YouTube Premium later this Fall.
First Look at Syfy’s Upcoming Nightflyers
The first trailer for Syfy’s upcoming Nightflyers was released at Comic-Con. That one is based on a George R.R. Martin story and follows a team of scientists in search of alien life aboard the Nightflyer who come in contact with something much more terrifying that they expected. It is scheduled to debut on the cable network later this Fall. A feature film adaptation of the story was released in 1987.
History Channel Gives a First Look at Upcoming Project Blue Book Series
The History Channel has teamed with Robert Zemeckis’ ImageMovers to produce the UFO-investigation series Project Blue Book and has released the first trailer for that. The series follows the real-life U.S. Air Force-sponsored investigations from the 50’s and 60’s. According to Deadline Hollywood: “Each episode draws from the actual files, blending UFO theories with authentic historical events from one of the most mysterious eras in United States history.” A similar series titled Project: UFO aired on ABC for two short seasons from 1978-79 and it shared some surface-level similarities to The X-Files.
More Sci Fi TV News
The French pay-channel Canal+ is working on a television adaptation of War of the Worlds in conjunction with FOX Europe and Africa. It will be set in modern times and will run as an eight-part drama.
Hulu has picked up The Vampire Chronicles TV series which is being developed by Anne Rice and her son Christopher. No debut date has been announced yet, but expect it to arrive at some point in 2019.
Hulu has set September 15th as the debut date for its upcoming mission-to-Mars series The First which will star Sean Penn.