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I Don't Know About Them, But I've Gone To Heaven: "12 Monkeys" Television Series

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | July 23, 2013 |

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | July 23, 2013 |

12 Monkeys is one of the greatest time travel stories ever told. I sincerely hope that in ten years I will be able to say the same thing about “12 Monkeys”.

Welcome to Pajiba. Come for the Idris Elba pictures, stay for the orthographic cleverness.

SyFy, oh network of frustrated spellings, has ordered a 90 minute back door pilot for a series adaptation of that fantastic film. The idea is to go “Battlestar Galactica” on the project, blow everyone’s minds with the pilot and then spin it into a full fledged series.

The network is trying to stay strong on original programming, which is excellent news to anyone who likes actual science fiction and has little need for professional wrestling, reality television, or whatever the fuck “Ghost Hunters” is supposed to be. Says disposable SyFy executive Mark Stern:

We’re looking at short orders, maybe eight to 10 [episodes] as opposed to 13. Some may be [split runs of] 10 and 10. Our goal is to do five or six original scripted series a year and a big tentpole event miniseries that could also possibly serve as a backdoor pilot to a series as well, the way that Battlestar Galactica did. It’s an exciting time for us.”

Short orders are probably best, there seems to be a perfect sweet spot around a dozen that works well for shows. While I can appreciate that procedurals and sitcoms that just hit the reset button every week can certainly fill a couple dozen weeks, the deep dramatic shows have settled into that shorter run, keeping the story telling tighter. Or at least in the case of “True Blood”, making the pain end sooner.

In case you get too excited, please remember that SyFy also has a similar backdoor pilot plan with a series from M. Night Shyamalan. Maybe the twist ending will be him blowing up the SyFy network.

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Steven Lloyd Wilson is the sci-fi and history editor. You can email him here or follow him on Twitter.