Monday, March 23, 2009

What has Sci-Fi got in mind after BattleStar Galactica?

So just what is it that the Sci Fi ummm SyFy channel have in mind since Galactica took the big dive into Sol? Well according to James Hibbert's The Live Feed blog, some pretty interesting stuff.

From the blog:
  • ...SyFy has greenlighted a trio of miniseries fantasy projects, including two that will serve as potential series pilots, and two of which are based on well-known classic titles.
  • a retelling of "Alice in Wonderland"
  • a fresh take on the comic-book hero "The Phantom"
  • and "Riverworld," from a series of fantasy books by Philip Jose Farmer
Well that grouping sounds "interesting" if not a bit uneasy.

Alice is from the same person who did Sci Fi's highly rated "Wizard of Oz" revamp "Tin Man - Nick Willing, who will be writting and directing the four hour epic.

Phantom will be aimed at fans who apreciate a super hero without super powers - more in the grounded vein of Iron Man and Batman. "It's not a guy in purple tights," says Sci Fi Channel's executive vp of original programming, Mark Stern.

The one that worries me the most though is one of my all time favorite series - Riverworld by Philip Jose Farmer. For those of you not familiar with the series - Riverworld is bisected by a huge river. Bounding that river is unscaleable mountains. On the banks are all whoever lived on Earth. Everyone has been resurrected on Riverworld, seemingly never die as they are resurrected after death again somewhere else on the river. Everyone is fed by mysterious mushroom shaped edifices along the river which dispenses food daily and there is no hint as to why or how everyone came to be in this world, or what is expected of them.

How SyFy plans to bring Riverworld to light in just 4 hours is beyond me, let along develop a plot. Though some of Farmer's sub plots like Sam Clemens riverboat is an amazing plotline all to itself. Maybe that is where they will start much as Farmer did.

All of these have the potential of being a series....the only one with scale enough would be Riverworld, maybe Phantom, Alice would be my guess for 4 and out. I mean, we know pretty much how that plays out, much as we did with Tin Man... Should be interesting.

Read James Hibbert's article by clicking on the article title.

26 comments:

Bosco said...

BSG was perhaps the most boring, confusing, uninteresting, sf series of all time.
The "reimagining" of The Wiz was highly acclaimed?!! haha by who? The people who made it?
Really all the upcoming shows sound like losers.
I'm so critical because I really like SF and the SF-channel has the best material in the world to work with but still manages to turn out crap movies, crap series, etc. Example: SG:A set in the "Pegasus" Galaxy! Not to surprisingly it goes down from there.

Beam Me Up said...

Yeah, I quoted it, but you talk about confusing....Tin Man left me cold. So you can understand that when they are given some REAL classic what trash might arise.

There were times that BSG did bore and confuse, and I know I was jumping ship when it looked like a big soap opera. The final season is where I am glad I stuck it out though. I really think the final episode will be marked as science fiction TV history.

Many said the same thing about BladeRunner to the point we were finally forced to watch the pablum that made it to the theaters. (I didn't realize just how badly that movie had been raped until I saw the first directors cut) But in the end we still have Science Fiction movie history. Yeah not everything was answered, omg we have to think!,

I honestly am going to hold out for Riverworld....it has the potential to be great science fiction but then we have seen how Sci-Fi handles classics...Dune anyone?

Clayton said...

Sci-Fi already released one Riverworld pic based on the Clemens riverboat storyline. It was abysmal!! Riverworld deserves the treatment that someone like Peter Jackson could give it.

As for their other movie efforts, well now we have an outlet for all those B-pictures that once used to go to drive-in theatres.

The exceptions have been Taken and the Lost Room. Both of those were better than expected, but as my father once said, even a blind hog can turn up an acorn every once in a while.

I knew Sci-Fi was in trouble when they started broadcasting wrestling...just shoot me!

Beam Me Up said...

Oh clayton how many times I have said the same thing on the podcast! Even if they dressed them up as rockem sockum robots it wouldn't be science fiction it would still be wrasslin. You said that Sci-fi already did a riverworld? my god it must have be doa because I don't remember it! DETAILS!!?? The lost room was brilliant and inventive! when they do it they can do it very well, just there are so many duds... My dad said you can't shine a turd. With the passing of BSG they have changed the buffer and I am already smelling bullshit.

Clayton said...

Here is a link to the IMDB entry for it. Hopefully this comes across okay....
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0310952/

I'm a huge Riverworld fan. I've also liked Farmer's World of Tiers series as well.

What I would really like to see is a proper treatment of Nine Princes in Amber by Roger Zelazny. If you haven't read that it's worth your time.

Now that computer effects have come so far, a decent treatment of the Dragonriders of Pern would also be in order.

Anonymous said...

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0310952/
Riverworld

Ron said...

clayton,

100% in agreement with the Dragonriders of Pern comment. It would be a shame however if it wasn't given the respect and quality it desrves. It has been tried before, but died before it made it to air.

Anonymous said...

Oh no! We need another good Space based project. Maybe they would consider Brick Starbender?! HaHaa!

http://www.youtube.com/user/BrickStarbender

Dennis said...

You forgot the items they are advertising right now:
Caprica - A mildly sci fi series set in the capital city of the colonies. Looks like two fathers who lose their daughters replace them with cylon copies. Can't tell if this is origin story, cautionary tale, or just a make a quick buck soap opera.
Stargate Universe - Desparate for a return to profit? All I can say for this one is think Stargate: Lost in Space.
Both look relatively cheap to shoot, with a few key (and easily reusable) visual effects in each episode.

Anonymous said...

So is their "reworking" of Alice in Wonderland going to be anything like The Looking Glass Wars?

Beam Me Up said...

Clayton! How did I miss this!??? Probably good thing I did from what I hear. But as far as the original Farmer series, just the scope and mystery were powerful. And what a concept! I read every Riverworld book I could get my hands on, but none after "To your scattered bodies go" really measured up. When he started mixing in the political intrigue...it seemed to take some of the fun out of it. I found the last volume fairly disappointing. I don't know what I was expecting, but it wasn't that.

I wonder if the reason I was never really interested in Farmer's World of Tiers is that I was already vested in Zelazny's Amber series (I started with the SFBC's Amber Chronicles) and it seemed something along the same vein, and hence have never read the series from Farmer. But a movie or series on Amber? That could be interesting. Looking back, I can see Amber was a way for Zelazny to play with the Many Worlds quantum universe, but when I first started reading, shadow Earths were a pretty strange concept which felt more like fantasy than anything. It would be interesting to see what direction a director would go with the concept of Amber....

And where to start if a Dragon Rider series were greenlighted? Would you start with The Dragon Riders / White Dragon about mid way through - or where the first settlers come to the system...hum

its is an interesting concept though....interesting.

Beam Me Up said...

I checked out the address and I still can't believe it! Yes it seems that Sci-Fi DID do a pilot in 2003 for Riverworld. I just honestly do not remember it. I know I watched quite a few of the series running at that time but as far as this series....nope. I wonder if it is like a really bad trauma. So bad in fact that your brain refuses to remember the incident. I wish it had done that for me with the Dune remakes...

Beam Me Up said...

Dennis, I don't hold any hope and even less interest in Caprica. Its a back fill of information that has already been hammered into our heads since the start of BSG. The only real loose end might have been the one that was tied up in the last episode and that was how did they gain access to the defense grid. Just when you thought the good doctor had some redeeming features we see that even at the start he was dealing from the bottom of the deck. So, Caprica is low on my "must watch" list.

Star Gate Universe, I am still willing to give that a try. Stargate unlike BSG has a much simplier plot line. Taking the major players and installing them in a slightly different milieu - is not something I really find troubling. Maybe its the simplistic plot that makes the transition easier. Star Gate doesn't deal in gray areas much, the good guys always win in the end and so on. Pretty harmless entertainment. With BSG, everything was painted in shades of gray. One can say that yes it was good tv but I am not sure I am ready to dive into the deep end wallow again.

Clayton said...

I enjoyed all of the books of Riverworld, except the last one did seem a bit lacking. I have a fondness for the Clemens Fabulous Riverboat storyline because I read it serialized in Analog many years ago and it was my introduction to the ideas. I later read the entire thing via SFBC. [Humorous aside: in reading To Your Scattered Bodies as an adolescent I thought the Richard Burton they were referring to was the actor!]

I don't have much interest in Caprica...it smells too much of "we're only in it for the money".

Instead of Stargate: Lost in Space, I would much rather see a treatment of Gateway by Frederick Pohl.

As for Dragonriders, I would start with the story of Lessa being found on the Search and then follow along pretty much in the order of the telling. One of the more enjoyable aspects for me was the discovery of Avias and the filling in of the backstory. I'm also fond of the story of Jaxom and Ruth.

Beam Me Up said...

Clayton, ahhhhhh you predate me by a fraction I think. My first exposure to Riverworld was in the SFBC volume. Oh and don't feel like the lone ranger with the Burton mistake... I wised up fairly quickly, but I can remember my first thoughts being...what? He was an explorer? when? lol

I am about dead on with you for Dragon riders. Jaxom and Ruth played such a strong role in ending the thread fall that it would be hard not to have that as part, but starting with Lessa....hummm that works, but its one hell of a jump to Avias....where would you put Moreta? She kind of post and pre dates Lessa when you consider it. No, I know, not fair but it does get one thinking when it comes to the whole series.... and please no we will NOT consider Todd's work...ok? I appreciate that she left a legacy but why couldn't he have settled for residuals? God its like asking a kid to paint a Rolls with finger paint....

Clayton said...

Moreta's Ride could be told as story within story...Master Robinton could tell the tale perhaps during one of the festivals. I always envisioned the British actor Torin Thatcher in that role, although he has long since passed.

We could get from Lessa to Aivas over an arc of movies much like the Potter series. Hell, for that matter look how long James Bond has been around...or that other British guy...Dr. Who? ;-)

Beam Me Up said...

Clayton
Ok, I see where you are going - I just could not see Lessa to Aivas in one movie, but if your going to place them on a story arc as anchors, then I am all over that. But you know I can see the Potter reference but Bond? Franchise - man
lol but now, I am stuck on who would play Robinton - tell me you can't see Peter O'Toole there? But you know who would have been great? Peter Ustinov. Huh? yeah?

Stevenodd said...

What ever happened to the idea of bringing Kim Stanley Robinson's
Mars Trilogy to TV?

Beam Me Up said...

Steve
Now there is a 20 dollar question. I had forgotten all about that! Anyone?

Clayton said...

Peter O'Toole as Robinton. Seriously I had not considered that but now that you mention it he would be a great choice. He's a treasure. When I first read your post though my mind flashed to My Favorite Year. I can just see him in robes weaving astride a dragon muttering "What is our estimated time of arrival?"

Peter Ustinov...another excellent choice. Of course we might go for the Jewish spin with Topol. A Dragon on the Roof...tradition!

Beam Me Up said...

bedebeedebum! Stop! I think I broke a rib! On both counts. Oh "My Favorite year" was a brilliant movie! He was so nasty but with a back story. That scene in the woman's bathroom is a quintecential O'Toole moment. "....so is this mum! but every now and then I have to run some water through it!" and the flying crane shots...."Magic!"
I am 100% behind the idea of Topol, oh that is so dead on but then that begs the consideration of John Rhys-Davies. huh? huh? No "Indy!" jokes!

Stevenodd said...

Apparently AMC is looking to serialize KSR's Red Mars.

http://www.tvsquad.com/2008/10/05/amc-develping-robinsons-red-mars-for-series/

Beam Me Up said...

I really don't know what to say Steve. In the six months since that story came out I have heard nothing, not even a whisper. That being said, AMC does have some pretty big project in the making so it might just have been pushed back. I am with you though...I would like to see that whole story arc done. Thanks for the info. Great article. Matter of fact, you should post it in the main blog area. if you want posting privs let me know... That goes for the rest of you clowns too.

Anonymous said...

I know of one I would love to see. David Weber's "Empire from the Ashes" or one other I think it might have been Norton, not real sure, but it was "A boy and his Tank"

Beam Me Up said...

A boy and his Tank was by Leo Frankowski and I seem to remember it - wasn't the tank slightly feminine in nature, or am I confusing it with The Ship Who Sang?

Anonymous said...

Yea that's it, i knew i could not remember the authors name. yea depending on the person in the tank, the tank took on the opposite sex.