March 5, 2014

More SFTV to watch in 2014/15

The Strain (FX)
In my last post I covered all of the science fiction, fantasy and horror TV shows that were at the pilot stage across the USA's main networks. There are, of course, also all of the cable channels - HBO, Starz, AMC, BBC America, et al - not to mention new direct video players such as Netflix and Amazon. These channels generally use different production models: they're a lot more likely to simply develop a series and commission a whole season at once. Some still use the pilot model, and I'll try to note that where applicable.
There's some interesting stuff coming over the horizon in the next 12-18 months from the cable networks, and I'm interested to see how a lot of these series turn out. A rundown of everything I've been able to find is under the cut.

After a global catastrophe all technology on Earth stops working. This potential series from Ridley Scott's Scott Free Productions sounds an awful lot like Revolution, which I must admit I haven't seen. Someone else can tell me if that's basically the premise of that show. Jason Cahill (The Sopranos, Fringe) is the lead executive producer and head writer. It's got a pilot pick-up, however there's no word if it's going to series.

BBC America
John Simm (Life on Mars) and Oscar-winner Mira Sorvino (Mighty Aphrodite) are headlining this prestige BBC America adaptation of Michael Marshall Smith's novel, in which a secret society attempt to find immortality by hiding inside the bodies of other people. X Files veteran Glen Morgan is acting as writer and executive producer.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Eddie Marsan (Sherlock Holmes, The Disappearance of Alice Creed) leads the cast of this seven-part adaptation of the popular Susannah Clarke novel about rival magicians in 19th century England. This is a co-production with the BBC proper, with the adaptation written by Wallander's Peter Harness and directed by Doctor Who's Toby Haynes.

The Strain
Guillermo Del Toro's vampires-as-virus novels are well ahead in terms of being adapted; I believe FX plan to have this on the air by July. David Bradley has replaced John Hurt in the lead role, opposite Sean Astin, Mia Maestro and Corey Stoll. Del Toro has directed the first episode himself, with Carlton Cuse (Lost) acting as executive producer.

Channel 4 in the UK already produced this six-part conspiracy thriller that was excellent, albeit ridiculously dark and confrontational in its violence. Torture, murder, school shootings, it was all in there. Even though Channel 4 is moving ahead with a second season, HBO is producing its own adaptation for American audiences. I'm not sure how I feel about that. I'm not averse to remakes per se, but this was only made a year ago and in English to boot. David Fincher is executive producer, and directs the pilot.

The Lottery
In a post-apocalyptic future, women must undertake a random selection process to be allowed to have children. I'm kind of thankful that's the series premise (by Timothy J. Sexton, who wrote the screenplay for Children of Men), because for a moment I thought they were trying to spin the Shirley Jackson short story out to 10 episodes. The series is produced and directed by Danny Cannon, who probably hopes he's remembered for The Young Americans and CSI, and not Judge Dredd and I Still Know What You Did Last Summer. Martin Donovan and Marley Sherlton star.

The Weinstein brothers executive produce this weekly TV series based on the 1990s movie franchise. I'm just guessing that this one is going to join the long line of failed TV shows based on horror movies, including previous adaptations of Friday the 13th, Poltergeist and A Nightmare on Elm Street. Dan Dworkin and Jay Beattie (Criminal Minds, Revenge) have written the pilot, and its already been picked up for a whole season.

Diana Gabaldon's novels of a modern-day woman through back in time to 18th century come to Starz courtesy of writer/showrunner Ron Moore (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Battlestar Galactica). Scottish actor Sam Heughan stars as Scotsman Jamie Frazer, named - as it happens - after Doctor Who actor Frazer Hines (who played Jamie McCrimmon opposite Patrick Troughton's Doctor).

The Almighty Johnsons
Just like HBO are taking popular UK series and adapting it for American audiences, Syfy have picked up the rights to the cult New Zealand series The Almighty Johnsons and are making their own version of it. It follows a group of young men who have inherited the powers of Norse gods.

I never saw Legion, the 2010 biblical thriller starring Paul Bettany. I'm not sure how many others did. I assume Syfy is hoping a lot of people saw it, because they've already commissioned a full series of Dominion, a spin-off set some 25 years later with an entirely new set of characters.

High Moon
Bryan Fuller (Hannibal, Dead Like Me) executive produces this adaptation of John Christopher's 1969 novel The Lotus Caves, in which two teenagers living on a lunar colony discover a network of tunnels underneath the Moon's surface - as well as alien creature living there. This has a pilot pick-up, no word on a full season.

12 Monkeys
Does Syfy have a single original idea? In addition to a remake of an existing TV show, a sequel to someone else's movie and a novel adaptation they're also adapting the popular 1995 sci-fi thriller 12 Monkeys for television. This too only has a pilot order at this stage, so if it goes further I wouldn't anticipate seeing it before 2015. To be honest I'll be surprised if we see it at all. Natalie Chaidez (In Plain Sight, Sarah Connor Chronicles) is showrunner.

The Last Ship
When a global catastrophe wipes out most of the Earth's population, the crew and families onboard an isolated US naval ship must work to find a way to save the human race. This series is based on the William Brinkley novel and is produced by Michael Bay. The pilot has been directed by Jonathan Mostow (U571, Breakdown, Terminator 3).

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