It’s a long weekend here, so here’s a few more tidbits:
In a conversation with Deadline, BBC America president and GM Sarah Barnett tiptoed around the discussion of who might be the new Doctor to replace Peter Capaldi, but did mention that the Doctor Who spinoff Class, which takes place at the Coal Hill School where there first moments of it’s parent program took place, will debut in the U.S. on April 15th.
On renewals/cancellations, it seems several freshman shows will not survive. Spies have been whispering to us since January that Aftermath will not see a second season and Syfy and SPACE have silently killed the show. Star James Tupper also tweeted, “So sad to report #Aftermath will not be getting a second season. #sobummed”. We were hoping for a renewal and though the ratings and the partnership between Syfy and SPACE would help. No formal pronouncement still, but sadly it seems unlikely.
Also on the bubble are the CW’s Frequency and NBC’s Timeless. Frequency did not have an option to pick up more episodes, leaving the first season at 13, and they did essentially conclude the first season storyline. However, the show is on Netflix now, where it might pick up eyes, but we’re thinking it likely will not return. The Timeless season finale airs tonight, and it’s teetering on the edge. It may depend on what NBC decides on other shows and how many slots are available.
Syfy is still looking for a formula to bring cosplay into the limelight, and it will try again with Cosplay Melee, hosted by self-described “super fangirl” Yvette Nicole Brown. Each week, four world class cosplayers compete to create not only intricate full-body costumes – but fully-formed characters that they must bring to life through their own realistic performance. Guiding and critiquing them are a panel of judges including world class cosplayer LeeAnna Vamp, and A-list costume creator, Christian Beckman (The Hunger Games, TRON: Legacy). At the end of every episode, the winner will walk away with $10,000 … and the right to claim cosplay supremacy.
“As a huge fan of the creativity cosplayers bring to their craft, nothing makes me happier than having a front row seat for the amazing creations set to hit the Cosplay Melee runway,” said host Brown. “These talented artists are going to shine!”
Syfy has announced the addition of three cast members for the upcoming pilot The Machine.
Bridger Zadina (Terri, Kill or Be Killed) will play the role of Santiago, an agoraphobic young hacker who — after uncovering the dangerous truth behind those he believed to be his allies — is cast out into the world he desperately fears. Through his harrowing fight for survival, Santiago begins to emerge as one of humanity’s last great hopes in the coming war against rising Artificial Intelligence.
Malachi Kirby (Roots) will portray Aaron, a lonely and out of place young man who created an A.I. as his best friend – benevolent, brilliant, supportive, and in many ways, his equal. Then recruited by the CIA for his creation, Aaron was placed in their cyber warfare division.
Olly Rix (Of Kings and Prophets) will play James, the principal test subject of a secret Ministry of Defense Artificial Intelligence program. A soldier, his badly injured mind and body have been rebuilt using cutting-edge prosthetics and implanted artificial intelligence, elevating him far beyond the limits of normal human capabilities.
Announced last week was Annet Mahendru (The Americans), in the role of Yana, a brilliant but troubled programmer who has created the world’s first super intelligent Artificial Intelligence. With an IQ 500 times greater than Einstein, this S.A.I. is capable of conquering the world’s most complex problems, such as disease, poverty, and environmental devastation.
The Machine, based on the 2013 UK cult film, explores humanity through artificial intelligence when a sentient AI is created, but the military wants to use it for war. Caradog James, who directed the film, is an executive producer with Red & Black Films and John Giwa-Amu, the film’s producer.
Syfy and Universal Cable Productions (UCP) today announced a pick-up of two more installments of the critically acclaimed horror anthology series, Channel Zero. In addition, UCP has signed an overall deal with the series’ executive producer, Nick Antosca (Hannibal, Teen Wolf). Under the agreement, Antosca will develop and produce scripted programming with UCP for the NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment portfolio and for external networks and streaming services.
Each installment of the Channel Zero anthology is based on a “creepypasta” (user-generated horror stories published online). The first installment in the anthology series, the six-part ‘Candle Cove’, landed on several “Best TV of 2016” lists and centered on Kris Straub’s unnerving story of one man’s obsessive recollection of a mysterious children’s television program from the 1980s. ‘No-End House’, the second six-hour installment, is set to premiere on Syfy in October 2017. It follows Brian Russell’s story of Margot (Amy Forsyth, The Path), a young woman who, along with her friends, visits the No-End House – a bizarre house of horrors consisting of a series of increasingly disturbing rooms.
“Channel Zero certainly hit a nerve with ‘Candle Cove’,” said Chris McCumber, President, USA and Syfy. “We look forward to creeping everyone out again this fall with ‘No-End House’ – and can’t wait to see what nightmares Nick has in store for the future.”
“Nick delivered a truly haunting and unpredictable first installment of Channel Zero and was embraced by fans and critics alike,” said Jeff Wachtel, President, Chief Content Officer, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment. “He is a fresh, passionate talent with a unique vision — precisely what we strive to cultivate here at UCP. We’re fortunate to have him in the family and look forward to developing new projects together.”
“Making Channel Zero’s ‘Candle Cove’ and ‘No-End House’ has been a terrific experience,” said Nick Antosca. “Universal Cable Productions and Syfy gave us a unique space to adapt weird cult horror stories and showcase some of the most talented independent directors out there. I’m so excited to bring more of these stories to the screen.”
Novelist, screenwriter and TV writer Antosca (Hannibal, Teen Wolf) returns as executive producer, showrunner and writer for both newly ordered installments alongside executive producer Max Landis (Chronicle, American Ultra), with Universal Cable Productions as the studio. Before Channel Zero, Antosca was a writer and producer on “Hannibal.” He has written five books including The Girlfriend Game, Fires and Midnight Picnic, which won a Shirley Jackson Award. He is from New Orleans, Louisiana and currently lives in California. Antosca is represented by WME, Writ Large and attorney Lev Ginsburg.
Antosca joins UCP’s roster of overall deals with A-list and top-notch emerging talent, including Sam Esmail, who is at work on Season 3 of the Golden Globe and Emmy-award winning Mr. Robot; James Frey’s Full Fathom Five, who are currently producing the supernatural horror-drama pilot The Haunted for Syfy; and Doug Liman’s Hypnotic, who recently produced the teleportation drama pilot Impulse with UCP for YouTube Red.
Sharknados do not respect borders…
Syfy and The Asylum announced today that Ian Ziering and Tara Reid will again star in Sharknado 5 (working title – expect a punny subtitle later…), reprising their roles as shark-fighting heroes Fin Shepard and April Wexler. Principal photography commenced today, February 2, in Bulgaria. The latest film in the hit global franchise, Sharknado 5 features the return of original cast member Cassie Scerbo as Nova, a bartender turned badass Sharknado fighter.
Sharknado 5, which sees the deadly weather phenomenon of shark-infested storms bombard cities around the world, will film in more than 5 countries, including the UK and Australia. Anthony C. Ferrante, who directed the first four films, is back to helm this latest installment, based on a script by Scotty Mullen.
The original 2013 Sharknado film, which introduced a cyclone depositing man-eating sharks on the citizens of Los Angeles, became a worldwide phenomenon and spawned a pop culture franchise. In Sharknado2: The Second One, New York City was the target of the disaster, and in Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!, a mega-sharknado made its way down the “Feast Coast” from Washington, D.C. to Florida. In the most recent installment, Sharknado: The 4th Awakens, the shark-infested storms went national. The film ended with the Eiffel Tower ripping away from Paris and crashing down on Niagara Falls – a chilling indication that no one in the world is safe!
Now, in Sharknado 5, with much of North America lying in ruins, the rest of the world braces for the inevitable – a global sharknado. Fin Shepard and his family must put a stop to this disaster before Earth is completely obliterated.
Still no sign of a musical version though…
Season 2 begins with with the possible destruction of all magic, and Quentin (Jason Ralph), Alice (Olivia Taylor Dudley), Eliot (Hale Appleman), Margo (Summer Bishil) and Penny (Arjun Gupta) are in Fillory to save it. Fillory, which Quentin thought was just a place from a series of storybooks called “Fillory and Further”, is not only real but is the source of all magic. And to save it, it may mean fulfilling the story and becoming the kings and queens of Fillory. Meanwhile, Julia (Stella Maeve), having become a hedge witch since she was rejected as a student at Brakebills, is teaming up with the Beast (Charles Mesure) in order to get revenge on the trickster Reynard the Fox, and her friendship with Quentin won’t stop her.
I don’t think it is a surprise that the students survived the attack by the Beast, although we were left wondering at the end of Season 1 – and it is “resolved” rather quickly. However, this isn’t just a push of a reset button after a cliffhanger – their survival won’t be without issues and consequences that will last through Season 2. So while the show still keeps its whimsical side, it will continue with exploring deep issues, such as Julia’s need for revenge after the being a victim of Reynard’s sexual assaults.
It is interesting that the parallels with C.S. Lewis’ world of Narnia continues as well, with Eliot not only having to become High King, but his fellow students also becoming Kings and Queens – two of each, just like the Pevensies in Narnia. This seems to add to the intrigue of the story, however – it is like seeing someone else’s take on the story, being familiar yet different. And we’ll see a deeper side of Eliot while he is in Fillory with new responsibilities.
I can’t wait to see more of this show…
The Magicians, based on the books by Lev Grossman, follows the 20-something students at Brakebills University for Magical Pedagogy, where they discover that magic is hard and the world of fantasy is real.
Syfy Films is pleased to announce the release of the anticipated sci-fi thriller Atomica, in theaters on March 17, 2017 and on VOD and Digital HD on March 21, 2017. The film is directed by Dagen Merrill (Beneath, Broken Hill, Murder in the Dark) and written by Kevin Burke (Ultimate Spider-Man, Marvel’s Avengers Assemble, Beneath), Fred Fernandez-Armesto and Adam Gyngell. The cast includes Dominic Monaghan (the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Pet), Tom Sizemore (Saving Private Ryan, Black Hawk Down) and Sarah Habel (Hostel: Part III, USA Network’s Rush).
In Atomica, when communications go offline at a remote nuclear power plant isolated in the desert, a young safety inspector, Abby Dixon, is forced to fly out to bring them back online. Once inside the facility, mysterious clues and strange behavior cause Abby to have doubts about the sanity and, perhaps, identities of the two employees onsite.
Atomica is produced by Jaime Burke (The Pact, The Possession of Michael King) and Vahan Paretchan (The Millionaire Tour) and executive produced by Simon Chen, Kieth Merrill (Broken Hill, The 12 Dogs of Christmas), Shawn Sackman, Barry G. Walker (Solara, Finding Harmony) and Dominic Monaghan.
Ahead of its second season premiere, Syfy is taking a deep dive into the world of The Expanse, the series that’s been called “the best science fiction show in a decade” by NPR. An original half-hour special titled The Expanse: Expanded and an immersive 360-degree set tour — both hosted by Adam Savage, editor in chief of Tested.com and former co-host of MythBusters – is now online at Syfy.com, and the video is also show below. The special will also air on Syfy on Wednesday, December 28 @ 11/10c.
The Expanse: Expanded features exclusive interviews with the series’ cast, crew and creators, who share behind-the-scenes secrets and never-before-seen content from the acclaimed first season – lifting the curtain and revealing what it takes to build the mesmerizing worlds of Earth, Mars and the Asteroid Belt. Joining them are scientists, astronauts, journalists and loyal viewers, who explain why The Expanse is one of the most realistic and compelling visions of the future seen on television today. Additionally, when The Expanse: Expanded makes its broadcast debut on January 28, it will feature an exclusive sneak peek from the series’ highly anticipated second season.
“I’m a superfan of The Expanse, so I was very excited to spend time on set to see how the show is made and to talk to the people responsible for creating its immersive world: the costumes, the props, the sets, the special effects,” says Savage. “The series’ attention to detail is just extraordinary. I can’t wait to share with viewers everything I learned.”
Additionally, a full 360-degree tour of the set — led by Savage and producer and “The Expanse” book series co-author Daniel Abraham — will allow fans to virtually experience the rich world of the series. Debuting in tandem with the special today on Syfy.com, the tour includes the spectacular multi-level Rocinante ship and its accompanying stages.
The Expanse unfolds across a colonized galaxy 200 years in the future, when two strangers — hardened detective Joe Miller (Thomas Jane) and rogue captain James Holden (Steven Strait) — become unwittingly swept up in a vast conspiracy. Based on the New York Times bestselling book series collectively known as “The Expanse,” written by Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck (under the pen name James S. A. Corey), The Expanse also stars Shohreh Aghdashloo, Dominique Tipper, Cas Anvar, Wes Chatham and Frankie Adams.
Season 2 of The Expanse is set to premiere Wednesday, February 1 on Syfy. Season 1 is available now via on demand and on Syfy.com, and on Amazon Prime (starting December 21).
Syfy has given a 13-episode direct-to-series order to Superstition, a supernatural genre series produced by XLrator Media and Mario Van Peebles’ newly launched TV production company MVPTV, which is set to begin production in early 2017 and air on Syfy later in the year.
XLrator Media’s Barry Gordon and MVPTV’s Mario Van Peebles will produce, and Van Peebles (Roots, Bloodline, Hand of God, Empire, Lost) will also write, direct and star in some of the episodes. Joel Anderson Thompson (Battlestar Galactica, Boomtown, House M.D.) has been tapped as showrunner and Laurence Andries (Alias, Six Feet Under, Supernatural, The Pacific) will executive produce. The dynamic writing team of Brusta Brown and John Mitchell Todd (Defiance, Mech-X4) have also boarded the series. XLrator Media holds international distribution and sales rights.
The series centers around the Mosley family, owners of the only funeral home in a fictitious town on the outskirts of New Orleans and keepers of the town’s dark secrets and history. Known for its haunted houses, elevated graveyards, odd townsfolk, and rich history of unusual phenomena, the town is also a “landing patch” for the world’s darkest manifestations of fear, guided into the world by an ancient, mysterious malefactor named The Dredge.
“Superstition is an intelligent, boundary-pushing genre series rich in supernatural lore and myths, featuring an eccentric family who have an unusual connection to an otherworldly plane, and the dark force that unleashes the demons, creatures and monsters that haunt our nightmares. There is a voracious global audience always seeking the next well-crafted genre series as evidenced by the success of American Horror Story, Stranger Things, Supernatural, True Blood, Six Feet Under and others. Superstition is being produced and created by people who love and appreciate genre content. XLrator is proud to partner with Syfy and Mario Van Peebles on our first network television series,” said XLrator Media CEO Barry Gordon.
“The incredible things we used to do in independent film, we can now do in television. This is truly a golden era for exciting, provocative television.” said Mario Van Peebles.
“A town where all superstitions, myths and legends are true offers a rich cultural, atmospheric and macabre playground for Mario Van Peebles, Barry Gordon, Joel Anderson Thompson and Laurence Andries to explore. We are excited to work with this terrific team and look forward to bringing this unique story to Syfy,” said Chris Regina, Senior Vice President, Syfy Programming.
Andries is repped by UTA, and Thompson, Brown and Todd are repped by The Cartel.
Tonight is the premiere of Syfy’s Incorporated (10/9c), an ambitious drama from creators David and Alex Pastor (Carriers) and produced by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, and starring Sean Teale, Julia Ormand, Dennis Haysbert, Allison Miller and Eddie Ramos.
The setting is cut from the same cloth as it seems all futuristic shows and movies these days – a near-future dystopian world. In this case global warming has caused the oceans to rise significantly, with both coasts of the US now under water, and governments were unprepared. Corporations now control the world as they now control the food. And the remaining land is divided into “Green Zones” and “Red Zones”.
Green Zones are where the corporations are, and the people who work for them. Lush, clean, green, almost utopian but in a 1984-ish way. Corporate employees live in the Green Zone, and regularly line up in long security lines to get into work. They do their work and they leave, while trying to edge up the corporate ladder. Everyone else lives in the Red Zone – the slums – where they scratch out an existence while just out of sight of those in the Green Zone – well hidden by walls and holograms, so the Green Zone inhabitants can be blissfully unaware of what lurks outside.
Ben Larson (Teale) came from the Red Zone, but he has managed to work his way up at Spiga Corporation. He’s married the Laura, the daughter of Spiga’s head of US operations (Elziabeth Krauss, played by Julia Ormond) who has grown up with privilege, and they are looking to have a child naturally, which is very unusual when you can pick the genetic makeup of a child like choosing the options of a car. He has another purpose though – he’s looking for his former girl from the Red Zone who may be part of the corporate machine now. In the meantime head of Spiga security and former military officer Julian Morse (Dennis Haysbert) is trying to track down a mole at Spiga.
Nothing so far seems very original, and has been done a number of times before. But they do have a decent framework that should allow the characters, story and intrigue to develop. The potential is all there. Visually it is there. It will take some time to develop, but hopefully they get there quickly enough. Stick it out and see if this escapes the dystopian hole.
Quick editorial note – apologies for the broken links on social media…I had to switch methods due to API changes, and unbeknownst to be a combinations of plugins produced bad social media links. That’s all fixed now. I’m also getting my head above water again after being involved in a local theater production and attending Rhode Island Comic Con last weekend…
Deadpool 2 now has a new director in David Leitch, the former stuntman who directed 2014’s John Wick. He’s currently working on The Coldest City, starring Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, John Goodman and Sofia Boutella. Original directory Tim Miller left the project after creative differences with star Ryan Reynolds.
The CW has elected not to pick up back-end orders for its two freshman shows Frequency and No Tomorrow. This is unusual as the CW has generally given back end orders to nearly all of its new series. While they aren’t necessarily dead yet, hopes are very minimal as the ratings were extremely low. However, under the deal with Netflix, the shows will be on the streaming provider 8 days after the finale ends, so if it does well there, there could be enough impetus to pick them up.
Syfy, with Paramount Television and Universal Cable Productions, is developing a series based on Robert Heinlein’s Stranger In A Strange Land, about a man born and raised on Mars who comes to Earth.