Archive for August, 2016
Universal Cable Productions (UCP) and Syfy today announced they have signed Grant Morrison (Batman, The Invisibles) and Brian Taylor (Crank, Gamer) to adapt Aldous Huxley’s novel Brave New World for Syfy with Amblin Television. Morrison and Taylor will also serve as executive producers, along with Amblin Television Co-Presidents Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey (The Americans, All The Way).
Considered one of the most influential genre classics of all time and named fifth among the 100 best English-language novels of the 20thCentury by Modern Library, the 1931 novel looks 632 years into the future and anticipates new developments in reproductive technology, sleep-learning, psychological manipulation and classical conditioning that combine to profoundly change society.
UCP is also developing Happy! for Syfy, an adaptation of a graphic novel originally written by Morrison and co-created with artist Darick Robertson. Morrison and Taylor are set as executive producers and co-wrote the pilot; Taylor is attached to direct. This grimy crime black comedy features Nick Sax, a corrupt, intoxicated, ex-cop turned hit-man adrift in a twilight world of casual murder, soulless sex and betrayal. After a hit goes wrong, Nick finds a bullet in his side, the cops and the mob on his tail and a monstrous killer in a Santa suit on the loose. But his world is about to be changed forever by Happy, a tiny (imaginary) blue winged horse with a relentlessly positive attitude.
This appears to be a second attempt at the adaptation for Amblin and Syfy – way back in May 2015 we reported on the adaptation with some of the same names, except Les Bohem was tied to it as the writer at the time.
So as I left on my trip, Variety dropped a bomb on the Divergent Series – that the final movie, Ascendant, which was split off from the final Allegiant novel, will instead be turned by Lionsgate into a TV movie which will lead into a spinoff TV series. No specific outlet for the movie or series was named. The move was likely spurred by the disappointing box office on Allegiant after two successful films.
This has put everything into question for the conclusion of the franchise, however. We understand that negotiations are underway, but it appears that the cast was caught by surprise by the news, with several under the assumption that they will not be involved further or even knowing anything about it beyond the Variety report.
We don’t know the specifics of the existing cast contracts, but they may not allow for a TV movie and certainly not a series. Thus every cast member they wish to retain would need to be renegotiated. This could get expensive since the actors would be in the driving seat in negotiations unless Lionsgate is willing to recast – and that could lose audience even further. Plus, a TV movie’s budget is likely going to be much more restricted, and if used as a backdoor pilot for the series, would likely have to hand the reigns over to the series cast.
This appears to show the risks involved with studios wanting franchises instead of standalone tentpole movies. After the massive successes of Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit, Harry Potter, The Humger Games and all Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the resurgence of Star Wars and Star Trek, studios are looking for the Next Big Thing and making extended plans for unproven adaptations. Divergent and The Maze Runner come immediately to mind, and Warner Bros has struggled with the DC Comics universe.
At the recent TCAs, ABC entertainment president Channing Dungey said that talks are still ongoing between the network and Lucasfilm, two divisions of corporate parent Disney, for live action prime time series based on Star Wars. “We have had conversations, and we will continue to have conversations with Lucasfilm. It would be wonderful to extend the franchise.”
This comes as no surprise as Disney has been going full-Death Star with the franchise since acquiring Lucasfilm in 2012. A second animated series, Rebels airs on Disney XD, Episode VII was released last year, the first anthology film, Rogue One releases this December, Episode VIII is in production, and Disney’s theme parks are greatly expanding the presence of Star Wars in the parks.
In addition, Disney has already brought two of its other acquired properties, Marvel and the Muppets, to ABC although the latter had trouble finding an audience, not helped by creative issues with the production.
But what will the possible series entail? It could be anything – they may be discussing the possibility of the setting as part of the negotiations. But we are reminded of how five years ago George Lucas was hot on a live action series so much that they wrote as many as 50 multiple draft scripts for a series set between Episodes III and IV, which may still be available. At the time it was too expensive to actually produce. However, this is the same time period already covered by Rebels as well as the upcoming Rogue One and the second anthology movie about Han Solo, making it a crowded space – and it is possible that some of the plots were re-tuned for the other projects.
Personally, with the expanded timeline that the Star Wars universe already has, I’d like to see them explore a completely different time period, perhaps dealing with the initial reformation of the Sith and the early Republic, whether they use the former Expanded Universe as the basis or not.
Syfy sets fall premiere dates for Z Nation, Van Helsing, Channel Zero: Candle Cove, Incorporated, Aftermath
Syfy has announced the fall premiere dates for scripted shows…in all one returning and 4 new programs.
Z Nation – Special 2-hour premiere 8/7c Friday, September 16th, will air regularly at 9/8c the following Friday.
Van Helsing – NEW – Friday, September 23th, 10/9c – Van Helsing reimagines the timeless Dracula brand with the resurrection of Vanessa Helsing, a descendent of the Van Helsing lineage of warriors who now must lead mankind against a world controlled by vampires in the post-Rising landscape. Starring Kelly Overton (True Blood), Jonathan Scarfe (Hell on Wheels), Christopher Heyerdahl (Sanctuary, True Blood), Paul Johansson (One Tree Hill), David Cubbit (Medium), Vincent Gale (Bates Motel) and Tim Guinee (Homeland)
Channel Zero: Candle Cove – NEW – Tuesday, September 27th, 9/8c – Channel Zero is an anthology series where each set of episodes relates to to a single story. The first six-episode run, called Candle Cove, is based on the “creepypasta” (a viral story copy and pasted around the net) story of the same name written by Kris Staub that takes the form of a forum discussion about remembering a short-lived children’s TV show.
Aftermath – NEW – Tuesday, September 27th, 10/9c – The show centers on couple Karen and Joshua Copeland, and their children Dana, Brianna and Matt, who must battle for survival after civilization comes to an apocalyptic end, triggered by massive storms, meteor strikes, earthquakes and plague – and the rise of supernatural creatures. Anne Heche and James Tupper play the parents and Julie Sarah Stone (The Killing) and Levi Meaden (The Killing, Olympus), and Taylor Hickson (Deadpool) play the three Copeland children.
Incorporated – NEW – Wednesday November 30th, 10/9c – Set in a near future where corporations have unlimited power, Incorporated centers around Ben Larson (Sean Teale, Reign), a young executive who conceals his true identity to infiltrate a very dangerous corporate world to save the woman he loves. But he’ll soon learn that he’s not the only one whose secrets may have deadly consequences. From Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s Pearl Street Films, it also stars Eddie Ramos (Teen Wolf), Golden Globe nominee Dennis Haysbert (24), and Emmy Award winner Julia Ormond (Mad Men). In addition, Denyse Tontz (The Fosters) was recently announced for the regular role of Elena, the love of Ben’s life, who is forced to sell herself into servitude to pay off her family’s debts.
Tidbits: Prototype not going at Syfy; Frequency and The 100 cast adds; Powers fail on PSN; Fantastic Beasts sequel date; Game Of Thrones to end after 8 seasons
Some tidbits as I get caught up:
The Prototype series developed for Syfy is not moving forward at the network, but might be shopped elsewhere. The pilot starred Jack Davenport (Smash) and Cote de Pablo (NCIS), and followed Edward “Eddy” Conway (Davenport), an aging playboy and former Silicon Valley wunderkind who has retreated from the tech world to return to UCLA as a physics professor. Eddy’s lack of self-control, be it with coeds or sports cars, has made him familiar with some unsavory characters, but his latest project might prove to be his most dangerous endeavor to date.
The CW announced that Alexandra Metz (Chicago Fire) will join the upcoming Frequency series, based on the 2000 film, as Maya, a college student desperate to prevent herself from becoming a victim of a violent crime. In addition Chai Romruen (Mako Mermaids) will join The 100 as the recurring character Ilan, a Grounder haunted by the horrors he committed while under Alie’s control.
Co-creator Brian Michael Bendis tweeted that the second season of Powers on Playstation Network – for now. But it seems the second season premiere episode was available for free not just on PSN but other outlets like YouTube – and YouTube recorded over 4.6 million views and counting. So maybe it could find life elsewhere…and the comic will continue.
No surprise that a sequel to the upcoming Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is being worked on, but it already has a release date – November 16th, 2018, almost 2 years after the first.
And in case you haven’t heard (I did, but was on vacation at the time…) HBO’s Game Of Thrones will definitely end with the conclusion of Season 8. HBO would like to do more according to programming chief Casey Bloys, but the decision was from series creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. It’s not suprising as they overtake the source material from George R.R. Martin. Also, Season 7 won’t air until Summer of 2017, as they need to take advantage of some colder weather for shooting the upcoming season and thus are delaying production.