According to Variety.com, Sci Fi is developing a new take on Alien Nation, the 1988 feature that previously spawned a spinoff series on Fox.
Tim Minear – a veteran of sci-fi TV, having worked on The X-Files, Firefly and Strange World – is developing the pilot and series bible for the series, which is built upon the relationship that develops between a human cop and one from the ranks of the alien “Newcomers” whose ship crashed on Earth twenty years earlier.
Sci-Fi Premiere’s the Book of Beasts this Saturday at 9PM. The movie stars Battlestar Galactica’s James “Baltar” Callis. More than twenty years after the death of King Arthur, an evil wizard uses a magical book to take control of the Kingdom of Camelot. Arthur’s daughter teams up with the sons of the Knights of the Roundtable to lure the legendary Merlin out of exile so he can help them fight the evil wizard. Premiere’s Saturday, May 30th at 9pm.
The fine folks at the SyFy Network (I really can’t type that without laughing because I keep thinking Sifee) are trumpeting the ratings numbers for the series finale.
Battlestar Galactica’s epic series finale, airing from 9-11pm on Friday, March 20, added to its phenomenal ratings with the inclusion of Live + 7 DVR data. Overall, the episode averaged a 2.2 Household rating, 3.1 million total viewers, 2.1 millon Adults 25-54 and 2 million Adults 18-49. This was the best performance for Battlestar Galactica in total viewers, Adults 25-54 and Adults 18-49 since the February 4, 2005 episode.In addition, among all SCI FI original series telecasts in the network’s 16 year history, this is the #5 most-watched original series performance in Adults 25-54 and the best performance for any original series on this measure since 2005, and is the #4 most-watched telecast in Adults 18-49. A limited-edition, uncut version of the highly-anticipated pilot of Caprica, the new drama series from the producers of Battlestar Galactica, will premiere on DVD from Universal Home Entertainment on Tuesday, April 21, 2009.
I’m not sure what SyFy (Lol) gains from releasing the DVD before Caprica airs on the channel. Ah, I guess this is truly it, the final Battlestar Galactica Post and it’s about the ratings. I can’t imagine there’s much more news about the show other than Caprica – which I’m counting as a totally different thing. But then again, I am scheduled to speak with David Eick sometime in the next few days. Anyhoo
There have been a lot of responses to the rebranding of the SCI FI Channel to Syfy, which takes effect on July 7, 2009. Most of those responses [as is usual on the good ole Interweb] have been negative – and there’s been a question of whether SCI FI appropriated the name from a popular website that had existed for ten years before a sudden name change. SCI FI honcho, Dave Howe said of that situation, “Once we settled on Syfy it became apparent to us that, you know, the Syfy Portal existed.” Of course, he said a lot more than as he attempted to give us a better understanding of the process of rebranding and its ramifications for the channel’s future.
(Fearless leader note – Do I deliver or what? I told you last week I’d try and get Dave to spill his guts about this stupid name change, unfortunately I was in the middle of moving to Florida so couldn’t sit in. But our fellow Sci-Fi Digital Press folks put his Dave’s feet to the fire. Great job Ken! Participants in this teleconference call included: Ken Gold [Media Boulevard], Meredith Woerner [i09.com], and Kelly West [cinemablend.com].Continue reading HOLLYWOOD INSIDER: Sci-Fi President Dave Howe Speaks!! Why Syfy? Why!!!???→
The SCI FI Channel announced today that they have, along with long-time creative partners RHI Entertainment, begun work on a series of three four-hour movie events: Philip Jose Farmer’s renowned Riverworld; Lee Falk’s The Phantom [the first costumed avenger, created a full year before Superman], and Lewis Carroll’s Alice.
Riverworld is a two-night, four-hour movie event based on the popular award-winning series of novels by Philip Jose Farmer. It’s the adventure of Matt, a combat photojournalist, killed along with his fiancée by a suicide bomber, who awakens in a mysterious world where everyone who has ever previously lived on Earth, has been “reborn” along the banks of a seemingly endless river. Determined to locate his lost love Jessica, Matt joins forces, a 13th century female samurai warrior named Tomoe and American novelist Mark Twain. Together they sail upriver in search of its source, and to discover where they are and who put them there. Riverworld is produced by Reunion Pictures (Airdate 2010).
The classic comic book character The Phantom has been re-imagined and transported to present day in a live-action, four-hour movie from writers Dan Knauf (Carnivale) and Charles Knauf. A favorite costumed hero for more than six decades, The Phantom relies on his wits, physical strength and skill with weapons over superhuman powers. Production is slated to begin in April in Montreal with Director Paolo Barzman (The Last Templar) at the helm. The Phantom is produced by Muse Entertainment (Airdate 2010).
Alice is a modern-day reinterpretation of Lewis Carroll’s classic novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The four-hour movie event is written and directed by Nick Willing; director of SCI FI and RHI’s 2007 record-breaking, Emmy-nominated miniseries, Tin Man. Production on Alice is expected to begin in May in Vancouver. Alice is produced by Reunion Pictures (Airdate: Late 2009).
In one of the dumbest rebranding moves ever, one of my favorite networks Sci-Fi Channel is rebranding itself to become the SyFy network. There must be some reason beyond the explanation they give for this change. Their stated reason is they have grown beyond the “generic” Sci-Fi moniker and wanted a new name to reflect that. But really, is SyFy not going to make people think Sci-Fi? No, my conspiracy radar is up. What’s going on here? Since Eclipse is part of Sci-Fi’s “Digital Network,” I’m going to see if I can get some email or phone time with Sci-Fi President Dave Howe later this week to see what the dillio is with this. At the very least I’m sure there will be a conference call in a few weeks. I’m sure I won’t get more than what’s in the press release, but I’ll give it the old college try. My characteristic, tactful response to the PR folks who sent the press release “What? This is a stupid idea.” Read the full press release after the break.
Following the big reveal – Ellen Tigh as the final Cylon – I was privileged to take part in a teleconference with Ronald D. Moore and Ellen Tigh, herself, Kate Vernon. The conversation on touched many things, including why Dualla, and a shocking new theory was submitted by one of the panel of journalists. In short, it was a blast.
The BBC today announced the identity of the eleventh actor to carry on as Doctor Who’s title character, The Doctor. Their choice, made public by Who Executive Producer Piers Wenger, is the twenty-six year old Matt Smith.
Smith has appeared in the two Sally Lockhart mysteries The Ruby in the Smoke and The Shadow in the North, which starred former Who companion Billy Piper in the title role. He got the role of The Doctor because, as Wenger puts it, “It was abundantly clear that he had that ‘Doctor-ness’ about him. You are either the Doctor or you are not.”
Smith begins shooting for the next season of Doctor Who later this spring. The final special being shot with David Tennant is expected to air in early 2010 – to be followed later in the year by Smith’s debut in the role.
With the announcement that Sanctuary [Sci-Fi, Fridays, 10/9C] has been renewed for a second season, perhaps those who those who don’t like to commit to a new series for fear it’ll be cancelled will now give TV’s first green screen series a chance. Two upcoming episodes are good examples of the kind of quirky quality that series is developing.
Quick refresher courser: Dr. Helen Magnus [Amanda Tapping], a one hundred fifty-seven-year old scientist has established Sanctuary – a home for “abnormals” [creatures benign and otherwise that are not of the perceived normalcy – mermaids, a missing link, children with unusual fear reflexes]. She provides homes – or cages if necessary – for these beings. She is aided by her daughter, Ashley [Emilie Ullerup], forensic psychiatrist, Dr. Will Zimmerman [Robin Dunne] and tech wizard, Henry Foss [Ryan Robins] .
In this week’s ep, The Five, Magnus’ lecture to an underground group in Rome, on abnormals, leads to a meeting with Nikola Tesla [Jonathon Young] who warns her of an impending assassination attempt. Tesla has a few secrets, himself – the only one I can telegraph is that he sleeps during the day.
The episode is fast paced and smart, but has its moments of emotional truth that support the action. We get to see Magnus’ ability to improvise – and the rest of her team show initiative in the way they aid her from their home base. The CG sets and effects are improving and now have much more weight than early on. Even Tapping’s wobbly English accent is much more consistent.
On December 5th, Drs. Magnus and Zimmerman take a mini-sub to investigate the slaughter of a clan of mer-people and find an abnormal unlike any they’ve ever seen. Requiem is a bottle show – a one-set episode – and as such, relies on tour de force acting by Tapping and Zimmerman. Both actors are called on to run through a gamut of emotions in a situation where an unseen menace seems to be influencing their behavior.
Based on these two episodes, Sanctuary is deserving of its renewal and an even larger audience.
With Cha$e [Tuesdays, 10/9C], The Sci Fi Channel adapts a highly successful Japanese game show format for American audiences. The rules are simple enough: ten runners must avoid capture by five hunters on a specified game zone for one hour – while finding devices to help avoid, misdirect or otherwise thwart the runners. Even the map of the zone is acquired through a test. Host Trey Farley explains the rules and gives the runners updates on various challenges – and the surprising nature of the fifth hunter – before eventually revealing the mystery exit point. Although runners must work together at times, only one can win – the prize is twenty-five thousand dollars.
There will be CG effects touches to make the show more closely emulate the feel of a video game. There are graphics that show the locations of the runners and the hunters; the hunters will be CG-enhanced figures [instead of just the already creepy men in black with designer sunglasses that appear on the screener]. Runners are shown in electronic “cards” each of which flashes their basic stats, and the equivalent of power gauging bars appear on the bottom third of the screen to show what devices the various runners have/have used/have failed to obtain. The actual gameplay is not especially exciting, though I expect that when all the CG effects are laid in, that will be an improvement.
What is interesting, though, is the way the runners think before, during and after gameplay. One losing runner says, “I thought I wouldn’t care, but I do” – another is quite expressly angry about having failed. Others are more philosophical.
In fairness, I should probably point out that – while Cha$e is based on the aforementioned successful Japanese game show format – the game should really carry an “inspired by” credit for the late Robert Sheckley, whose short story, The Seventh Victim, was adapted into the hit movie, The 10th Victim. With the exception that Sheckley’s hunters and hunted were a stand-in for large scale war – and the principles of his much more violent game [including being televised] are pretty much present here. Sheckley was right, too. The game makes for intriguing – if not brilliant – television.
As Bill O’Reilly would say, “We’ll do it live, we’ll do it live!” My boys Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson, Sci-Fi’s The Ghost Hunters, will actually be in my neck of the woods this weekend doing a live 7 Hour Halloween Hunt at the historical Fort Delaware. This special event will be hosted by Destination Truth’s Josh Gates & Steve Valentine with special guest hunter Amanda Tapping. I’m not quite sure what’s going on with this, Sci-Fi is promoting this as a live event, but I’m pretty sure it’s being taped Wed night (tonight). Because they aren’t letting press attend – not even little ol me. I was invited to lunch, unfortunately my day job keeps me from going. Either way, I love the Ghost Hunters, the show and the guys, after going on a hunt with them and Amanda a few weeks ago, I’m a believer in all ghostly things. Even ghost farts.
Who knew that I lived an hour and half away from one of the most haunted places in the country Fort Delaware, commonly referred to as the “Black Hole,” Fort Delaware was used during the Civil War as a POW camp that housed over 33,000 Confederate soldiers. Ravaged by epidemics and torture nearly 2,400 failed to escape and died on the island. The restless spirits have never left. Join the exclusive seven-hour hunt from home with access to thermal imaging camera feeds and live Q&A with TAPS team members and host Josh Gates. Watch carefully for anything out of the ordinary — you’ll be able to send instant alerts of any sightings you make straight to the Ghost Hunters! Brace yourself this Halloween when TAPS takes you on the ultimate ghost hunt. The team returns to the Fort Delaware scene of this season’s most jolting and revealing episode.