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SyFy Announces Its Largest Original Lineup Ever (But Still No Firefly)

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | March 23, 2011 |

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | March 23, 2011 |

SyFy apparently has been stashing all the money it makes from professional wrastling since the network announced (I refuse to use the word “unveil,” it sounds ritualistic, creepy, and moist) its new lineup, consisting of more original content than they’ve ever hosted before. Well, they use the hyperbolic “in history” which I just don’t think should be used for a network that wouldn’t even be able to drink for another three years if it was a person. Let’s take a few choice bits from the press release and then flip through the new shows.

The press release starts with: “Continuing the sizzling momentum of the Syfy global brand evolution, which has sparked imagination-driven hit series and double-digit growth in younger, upscale audiences as well as diverse new business ventures…”

Can momentum really sizzle? I mean, strictly from a science point of view, momentum is the product of mass and velocity whereas sizzling really would be a side effect of heat. I suppose in conjunction with friction, momentum could produce heat, but … oh sorry we’re talking about syence not science.

It continues with:

Remarking on Syfy’s announced development slate, Mark Stern, President Original Content, Syfy, and Co-Head Original Content, Universal Cable Productions, said, “Our ambition in development is to push the boundaries of imagination, creativity, and story-telling. We want to transport our audience with high-quality, thought-provoking experiences that allow them to explore the un-explorable, to believe the unbelievable, and to truly… ‘Imagine Greater.’”

Really, he actually said an ellipses? I see someone learned actressing from David Caruso.

Is there good money in writing these press releases or do they just use a computer program to write them? Because they are all painful to read in exactly the same ways. They all read as if written by people for whom English is a second language but whose native tongue is Moron.

Alright, the first new series is called “Alphas,” which does not appear to be a Robotech inside joke:

Alphas — Premiering in July — Alphas follows a team of ordinary citizens whose brain anomalies imbue them with extraordinary mental and physical abilities. Taking the law into their own hands, the unlikely team, led by Dr. Leigh Rosen (Emmy Award-winner and Oscar nominee David Strathairn) investigates cases that suggest other Alpha activity to uncover what the CIA, FBI and Pentagon have not been able, or willing, to solve. These gifted individuals must balance their quirky personalities and disparate backgrounds with their not always visible powers as they work to solve crimes, stop the ticking time bomb and catch the enemy.

If this description sounds familiar, that’s because SyFy has premiered the exact same premise and then canceled it every year for the last decade.

Next up is the one we already knew about, “Battlestar Galactica: No Seriously, This Prequel has Space Combat”:

Battlestar: Blood & Chrome — Luke Pasqualino (Skins-UK) and Ben Cotton (Hellcats) star in Battlestar: Blood & Chrome, which takes place in the 10th year of the first Cylon war. As the battle between humans and their creation, a sentient robotic race, rages across the 12 colonial worlds, a brash rookie viper pilot enters the fray. Ensign William Adama (Pasqualino), barely in his 20’s and a recent Academy graduate, finds himself assigned to one of the most powerful ships in the Colonial fleet…the Galactica. The talented but hot-headed risk-taker soon finds himself leading a dangerous top secret mission that, if successful, will turn the tide of the decade-long war in favor of the desperate fleet. Executive producers: David Eick and Michael Taylor. Written by Michael Taylor from a story by David Eick, Taylor and Bradley Thompson and David Weddle. A production of Universal Cable Productions.

Huh, notice the conspicuous absence in that list of show runner sorts? No Ron Moore. That’s how you spell “diminishing expectations.”

And well, that does it for new drama, but they have three half hour comedies still listed as “in development” and they’ve indicated elsewhere that they’ll only pick up one of them.

This first one looks the best of the bunch and not just because it stars James Marsters:

Three Inches — In Three Inches, professional daydreamer and underachiever Walter Spackman is struck by lightning and develops a unique “super” power — the ability to move any object using just his mind… but only a distance of three inches. He’s soon immersed in a world of extraordinarily ordinary people like himself and learns that “super” is just a state of mind. The pilot is written by Harley Peyton (Twin Peaks), who also serves as executive producer. Fox Television Studios is producing with executive producer Robert Cooper, through his company Landscape Entertainment.

The next potential looks terrible, and the description would equally fit half of the reality shows that the network airs:

In the Dark — In the Dark follows a misfit group of third tier ghost hunters whose misguided efforts tend to highlight their incompetence rather than any paranormal activity. From Universal Cable Productions, In the Dark is executive produced by Dan Taberski through Idiot Box Productions, Michael Davidoff and Bill Rosenthal. Teleplay by Michael Davidoff & Bill Rosenthal.

This final one has a ten percent chance of being brilliantly ironic and getting canceled after three episodes and a ninety percent chance of being terrible an getting canned after six episodes:

Me and Lee — Me and Lee is about a down on his luck 20-something who goes in for back surgery, but the procedure doesn’t go well. Enter Lee Majors, who claims he has the perfect solution. He entices the young man into his ultra high-tech lab and makes him bionic. Majors becomes the unlikeliest of mentors helping the young man get his life back together. Jenji Kohan, the executive producer and creator of Weeds, serves as the executive producer of Me and Lee along with the writer Matthew Salzberg, Allan Loeb and Steven Pearl. Produced by Lionsgate.

They’ve also got three new reality series, all of which sound just as bad as the ones you already don’t watch on SyFy, so I’ll just sum them up (you can follow the link at the bottom of the page if you really want full descriptions):

“Haunted Collector” is “Ghost Hunters” except with inanimate objects instead of places.

“Legend Quest” is exactly the same except it pretends to be like Dan Brown too.

“Paranormal Witness” interviews people who claim to have experienced paranormal activity. Except they don’t use those exact words so they don’t get sued.

Next up is … wait there is no next one? How is this the most original series they’ve ever aired if they’re just launching two new dramas, a comedy, and three reality shows? Oh I see, there are an additional 10 reality series in development that haven’t been picked up yet. Ten? Come on, I know reality television is cheaper than just broadcasting the emergency broadcast signal, but have some damned standards. I’m not going to bother listing them here, but I’ll leave you with this extra special nugget: the first one on the list stars Tommy Lee.

Check back tomorrow for the rundown on SyFy’s planned specials and movies.

(source: Blastr)

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