Friday, January 13, 2006

Is It Me?

Cynthia Turner's email update arrived in my box this morning and lo and behold there's the new slate of projects that the Sci-Fi Channel is developing. I take one look at this and wretch.

Taken: Nine Lives represents another collaboration with Steven Spielberg for this 20-hour miniseries, currently set for 2007. It's the story of what happens after you die, and how people deal with death.

Guys - this is the Sci-Fi Channel, not the Medium-Supernatural Channel. We want science fiction, fantasy and horror - not quasi religious claptrap.

Who Wants to be a Superhero? is from Nash Entertainment and comic book creator Stan Lee, A 60m reality series that will challenge its 11 participants to create a superhero over the course of six episodes, under the direction and guidance of Lee. The winner's design/character will become a new comic book created by Stan Lee.

This could be fun. This could also be a trainwreck with nuclear waste on board.

Medium at Large is from Krasnow Prods and FreemantleMedia N.A., and stars psychic Char Margolis in her own 6-episode, 30m reality series where she will do impromptu readings on the street, home visits, and helping viewers hone their own psychic abilities.

No matter how thin you slice it - it's still baloney. Let's have a show where magicians and scientists debunk this crap so we can drive a stake into the heart of James Von Prague and his ilk. It's okay to see this stuff in a dramatic context - but it's not real!

The Gift is from producers Tony Krantz and Victoria Holt, and is a 6-episode reality series that dives into the world of psychic phenomena. Eight participants who have some perhaps undeveloped psychic abilities, will go thru a so-called boot came for intuitives. There they will either be systematically eliminated as they compete with one another psychic-ly, with just one remaining as the true Gifted one in the group.

Let's get a bunch of idiots together in the same house and convince them they have psychic abilities so we can make fun of them. Oh, and they're not "gifted" they're "special". That's why they get to ride the short school bus.

The Bridge from Hazy Mills Prods is a scripted series in which a group of cynical, flawed souls are trapped in purgatory and must affect positive changes on the living in order to earn their way out.

Dead Eye for the Live Guy? "Affect positive changes" - You going to redecorate the living room?

The Butterfly Effect, based on the 2004 film, is from NBC Universal Studio, FilmEngine and Benderspink, and is about a man who can go back in time and thereby effect the future.

Finally, something that has some dramatic teeth to it. There's potential in this premise. Please, please, please, no Ashton.

Warehouse 13 comes from producer/writer Ronald Moore. Warehouse 13 is where federal employees are banished when they tick off their higher-ups. There they are sentenced to spending their days cataloging thousands of artifacts, relics and oddities, tho they soon learn each relic has its own story and often its tied to the supernatural. NBC Universal Television is producing.

Wow! An anthology? Is this too much to hope for? (probably)
--But --
It's from the guy who gave us Carnivale and the new Battlestar Galactica. I'm on board for three episodes to see what's up.

SCI FI Investigates (working title), is a real-life X-Files, exploring the mysterious, wondrous and unexplained. Capitalizing on the experience and resources of NBC News Productions, the series and its team of investigators will seek to uncover new evidence by using the latest forensic technology to reveal new perspectives on world-renowned mysteries.

NBC News - a division of the company that doesn't have enough to do in the real world and loses money for us every year - is now being tasked with getting us ratings, even if it is only on the Sci-Fi Channel.

I look at this slate and wonder - "What are you guys thinking?" In an era where Doctor Who goes untouched on American shores all you offer up as an alternative is crap like this (with two exceptions)? Do you know who your audience is anymore?

*** Edit -- No sooner do I rant about Sci-Fi NOT picking up the good Doctor, this comes to light.


Philip Morton said...

I pitched a show to Sci-Fi last March with nbc/universal execs in the room (and championing me) and I pitched a hard science, guy and his robot story, which was very secret agent team, very dramatic, very action, with cool reveals and reversals about the robot and the hero (who were linked via a psychic connection). Sci Fi passed, in part, because we were told they were thinking of themselseves in a new way, not just hard sciFi anymore, but fantasy too, and opening up to more posssibilities. My idea was too "sciFi" This new slate shows how that screwed up sensibility has taken them off the deep end and away from what their audience who really wants sciFi and into the land of the independent voter as they desperately try anything to fish for ratings. Such a great idea for a channel and they're turning it into crap.

CD said...

I have to say the Gift sounds kinda interesting...if it weren't a reality show.

And as far as Taken goes. Didn't Taken (the UFO thing by Spielberg) pull in Sci-Fi channel's highest-ever ratings? (That might have changed since Battlestart Galactica.) So, I imagine if Spielberg wanted to do a 20-hour miniseries about the lives of demolition derby on the Sci-Fi channel I'm sure they'd say "sure thing Mr. Spielberg."

And as far as all the medium-oriented shows, with Medium and Ghost Whisperer pulling in some decent ratings -- I'm not surprised.

Like the sound of Warehouse 13 though.

James Moran said...

Is this the Sci-Fi Channel, or the Crossing Over Channel? I'll be giving all of these shows a miss, with the possible exception of The Butterfly Effect, because I'm a sucker for time travel. The purgatory thing sounds like My Name Is Earl, but with the jokes removed.

cd: Hey, I'd totally watch a Spielberg-produced demolition derby show - sold!

Bill Cunningham said...

I would watch Steven Spielberg presents Roger Corman's Death race 2000.

(Especially if Dakota Fanning were strapped to the hood of one of the cars.)

Scott the Reader said...

Penn and Teller's "Bullshit!" did an episode where they tore apart TV psychics and their tricks pretty well, though it would be nice if a wider audience could see how ridiculous it all is.

Bill Cunningham said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Me said...

reality shows are cheap, so I guess that answers all the possible questions as why are they made in the first place. So: budget, budget, budget (again).

And whatever got the "Spielberg" surname attached, can be better promoted than "the best idea ever by an unknown (ore realtively unknown) writer". Am I wrong about this?



max said...

Too "scifi"!? Not so good, looks like Sci-Fi needs a revival.
... somewhere...
But I'd look at Butterfly Effect and Warehouse 13.
Butterfly was actually a real downer, everytime he tried a change his nose was pushed into the mud until he had no nose.

I'm not familiar with what successes Sic-fi Channel financed.

I just read ,BrainWave, 1958 again, that would be cool seeing all the animals get smart, I liked the farm story thread, seems they could do that better now with all the CGI.
I heard , The Stars My Destination, almost made it to film but I can't find where I read that, maybe someone else knows the story about that.

Kelly J. Compeau said...

Even though these shows are airing on the American Sci-Fi channel (don't get it in Canada), I hope one day SPACE will acquire the broadcasting rights to The Butterfly Effect, Warehouse 13, and The Bridge. They look pretty decent.

max said...

Ah yes,up here in the True Secondhand North.