SCI FI Wire reported yesterday on who is involved with the new ABC anthology Masters of Science Fiction (I wonder if the name got expanded at Harlan Ellison’s request), but a few of the details were wrong, and rumors about how much J. Michael Straczynski was involved. JMS clarified it a bit in a UseNet post (not on JMS News yet). Read More for more details.
Per the article, MoSF will focus more on the writers, whereas their previous series, Masters of Horror, really focused on the directors. Hopefully this means the visions and intent of the original stories are preserved.
Per JMS, there were two halfs to this – the original short story, written by the likes of Bradbury, Asimov, etc., and then the screen writers – some of the best who can turn those stories into a teleplay. JMS fits into the latter category, adapting Robert Sheckle’s “Watchbird” (Sheckle wasn’t mentioned in the article). The article incorrectly stated that it was co-adapted with Michael Cassutt (Dead Zone, Andromeda), which was incorrect (and apparently miffed Cassutt and being corrected). Cassutt adapted a different story: John Varley’s “Persistence of Vision”.
When the announcement came out, a number of people remembered previous JMS posts about being offered show-runner positions for a number of projects. While yes, he was offered the position for MoSF (and may have even conditionally accepted), he was unable to when then the production schedule slipped and would conflict with his own project for Touchstone (no details other than the development begins in May), so he had to pass. His only involvement at this point is the one script, to be produced first.
Given the errors and omissions in the article, I don’t know if this is true but it also mentions that ABC has given the green light to 13 episodes, whereas previous news stated it was only 4, but the producers were going to pipeline 13 anyways.
In other JMS news, he’s finishing a radio series for the CBC, he’s got a major director looking to pitch another JMS series project to the networks, and he’s finishing up a historical drama screenplay. All on top of his comics. The man is a robot. 🙂