This Week in Sci Fi TV: Amazon Heads to Middle Earth for Lord of the Rings Prequel, Galaxy Quest TV Series Update, and More

By | November 17, 2017

Weekly rundown of the latest sci fi and fantasy television news. See a list of prior week columns at this link.

Amazon Shells Out a Significant Amount of Money to do a Lord of the Rings Prequel Series.

Following up on last week’s announcement that Amazon was considering a Lord of the Rings television series, the streaming service has now committed to journey to Middle Earth and has a multiple-year plan for a prequel series and also has the option to do a spin-off as well. There are no specifics as to what storyline that prequel series will follow, nor whether it will be considered a tie-in to the movies or keep its focus closer to the source material. Considering all the background material in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion as well as all the history of Middle Earth covered in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, there should be plenty of story ideas available for a prequel series. Amazon is making a significant investment with this project, paying $250 million just for the rights to the property, and then it will likely pay $100 to $150 million per season to produce the show. But like Showtime is certainly trying to do with The Kingkiller Chronicles, Amazon wants to fill the void that will be left by Game of Thrones when it wraps up. And a Lord of the Rings TV series will definitely draw many viewers worldwide to the streaming service. I expect this will require a fair amount of production time and it will likely debut at some point in 2019.

Amazon’s Galaxy Quest Series Will be a Sequel the Film

In more news from Amazon,‘s Ben Pearson talked to Paul Scheer who has written the pilot for the upcoming Galaxy Quest series. and the actor/writer has revealed some details about the direction of the show. It will be a sequel to the movie, but it will be following two different casts, an older one which would comprise the characters from the movie and a younger one that may be a Galaxy Quest: The Next Generation set of characters. There is no confirmation at this point that any of the original actors will return to the show, but it appears that Amazon will try to bring them onboard in recurring roles. As to when the show will have its debut, Scheer only commented that “it’s going to be so long before people get to see”. That may mean that the original 2018 target for its debut could be pushed to 2019.

Kevin Bacon Has Finished the Tremors Pilot but Already Has Another in the Works

The pilot for the Tremors revival that Syfy is working on with original star Kevin Bacon has completed filming and Syfy Wire claims that a series pickup could come as soon as December. But interestingly enough, Bacon is now attached to another pilot in the works over at Showtime, the crime drama City on a Hill. Of course, it is not uncommon for a star to work on multiple pilots because there is no guarantee which one will get picked up. But the Showtime pilot looks like more of a high-end deal with Ben Affleck and Matt Damon attached as executive producers. It is also possible to do more than one show at a time since cable entries typically only go ten to thirteen episodes per season these days. But that would still be a pretty heavy workload for the actor. I wouldn’t count out the Tremors series at this point, but Bacon may be faced with a decision if Syfy elects to pick that up before Showtime makes a decision on their upcoming project.

The Chiller Network Will be Going on Ice at the End of the Year

Peak TV is starting to take its toll as NBC/Universal has announced that their horror-centric cable channel Chiller will be closing its doors at the end of the year. That channel is known for airing horror films and reruns of TV shows that appeal to that audience such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Tales From the Crypt, and Being Human. It also ran its first original scripted series last year, the psycho-killer-themed Slasher, but the second season shifted over to Netflix this Fall. Chiller reached 40 million homes but ran into problems while trying to negotiate carriage deals this year and NBC/Universal decided to shut it down. As Peak TV continues to fracture the viewing audience and as the streaming services continue to steal away cord-cutters, expect more of these smaller cable channels to start faltering.

Marvel’s Runaways Has Its Debuts on Hulu, Syfy Gets Happy!

Thanksgiving week will bring plenty of preemptions as viewership is expected to drop during that holiday week. But Hulu apparently hopes some people will be taking advantage of the time off and will check out their new series Marvel’s Runaways. That one debuts on Tuesday, and the first three episodes will be available for viewing with a new episode released each week on subsequent Tuesdays. Also next week, Syfy will be running a preview of their upcoming comic book-based series Happy! after Z Nation on Friday. That will include a behind the scenes look at the show that is set to debut on December 6th. As for next week’s preemptions, I have a rundown of those along with the full listings on the Sci Fi TV Listings Page.

News Bites: Titans TV Series Could Introduce the Doom Patrol, and More

There are rumors that the upcoming live-action Titans series that will run on DC’s new streaming service will introduce the Doom Patrol.

FOX has set Wednesday January 3rd as the return date for The X-Files, and The CW has set Tuesday January 16th as the premiere date for its new superhero series Black Lightning. Stay tuned to this site for a preview of the Mid-Season schedule which should be posted in the next week or so.

Jenna Elfman has been cast as a series regular in the upcoming fourth season of Fear the Walking Dead. There is no additional information on her character at this time, though.

You can see the latest trailers for Agents of SHIELD, Bright, Marvel’s Runaways, and More at this link

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