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SyFy Rundown: A Little Sci, Still Not Enough Fi

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | April 25, 2012 |

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | April 25, 2012 |

It’s beyond passé at this point to mock SyFy for all the non-SciFi they pipe onto the broadcast stream. It’s past passé. Passté? Last year around this time SyFy announced its largest original line up ever. It was easy to summarize: “Blood and Chrome” (which still hasn’t actually surfaced), “Alphas” (which goes to a second season this summer, “Three Inches” (which aired pilot and then disappeared), “In the Dark” (which I can’t find any information on at all), and “Me & Lee” (ditto). Then there were thirteen reality series that I can’t bothered to look up at all, because seriously, no one reading this cares.

Well, they’ve topped themselves this year. Now they’re up to 28 original series. Have they turned over a new leaf? Launched a half dozen new forays in space opera, time travel, and robotic rebellions? Have they picked up “Inspector Space Time”?

Ok, I was going to be really snarky here, but although 19 of those 28 series are reality crap, that does obscure the fact that they’ve got 9 real series on the list, compared to last year’s 4. Of course of those 4, only 1 actually made it to series form in the last year, so they had to up the count if those are going to be the odds.

Here’s what we’ve got, cut and pasted whole sale from the press release, with commentary in italics:

Defiance - 2013 - Defiance is in collaboration with Trion Worlds, with the Syfy series and Trion’s multi-platform shooter MMO poised to debut simultaneously. The series stars Grant Bowler, Julie Benz, Stephanie Leonidas, Tony Curran, Jaime Murray, Fionnula Flanagan, Mia Kirshner and Oscar-nominee Graham Greene. Set in the near future, Defiance introduces a completely transformed planet Earth, inhabited by the survivors of a universal war. Forced to co-habitate, the disparate group struggles to build a new society among the devastation. The dramatic tapestry of the series and the intense action of the game will exist in a single universe where their respective narratives will inform one another and evolve together into one overall story. Defiance is directed by Scott Stewart (Legion, Priest) and written/executive produced by Rockne O’Bannon (Farscape), Kevin Murphy (Desperate Housewives, Caprica, Hellcats) and Michael Taylor (Battlestar Galactica). Kevin Murphy serves as showrunner. Defiance is produced by Universal Cable Productions. (alien invasion with video game tie in that we looked at here. This actually has so much talent tied into it, that it just might be good.)

Rewind - Rewind revolves around a team of military field operatives and civilian scientists who must use untested technology to travel back in time to alter events and change the future—and avoid a devastating terrorist attack. Shane McRae stars as Sean Knox, ex-Special Forces who ranks as a field operative in a special division of the Department of Homeland Security. The pilot also stars Jennifer Ferrin, Academy Award nominee Keisha Castle-Hughes (Whale Rider), Robbie Jones and Keon Mohajeri, and is currently in production in Toronto. Jack Bender (Lost, Alphas) is directing the pilot, written by Justin Marks (Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li), who will also executive produce with Tom Spezialy, Gail Berman, Lloyd Braun and Gene Stein. A production of BermanBraun and Universal Cable Productions. (It’s Timecop, written by the same guy who wrote Street Fighter 2, how can this go wrong?)

The Adjustment Bureau - In this drama, based on the hit movie starring Matt Damon, guardian angel-type agents work to keep the world according to The Plan. They create everything from plane crashes to coffee spills in order to steer people to realize their true destiny. But there is one thing the operatives and their Chairman can’t control—free will. Writers: Todd Slavkin & Darren Swimmer (Melrose Place, Smallville). Executive producers: George Nolfi (The Adjustment Bureau, The Bourne Ultimatum), MRC, Slavkin and Swimmer. A production of Universal Cable Productions. (Low budget premise, based on a fantastic and different sci-fi film, this could actually work too.)

High Moon - Based on the novel, The Lotus Caves, by John Christopher, this imaginative, out-of-this-world series explores a world where the countries of Earth have established colonies to mine the Moon’s resources. When a new life form is discovered, chaos erupts as various factions race to uncover its powerful secrets. Executive producer: Bryan Fuller (Hannibal, Pushing Daisies). Co-executive producer: Jim Danger Gray (Pushing Daisies). Writers: Bryan Fuller and Jim Danger Gray. Executive producer: Granat Entertainment. A production of Universal Cable Productions. (Never heard of the novel, have any of you? Sounds like The Moon is a Harsh Mistress but with aliens too.)

Untitled Booster Gold Project - Based on the best-selling DC Entertainment Comic, this is the story of a washed-up athlete from the future who travels back to the present in hopes of becoming the greatest superhero of all time. But instead of chasing criminals, his main priority is chasing fame and money. Booster Gold discovers that being a hero takes more than just a megawatt smile. Writer: Andrew Kreisberg (Arrow, Warehouse 13). Executive producers: Greg Berlanti (Green Lantern, Arrow) and Andrew Kreisberg. Producers: Greg Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Horizon Television. The Booster Gold comic book series is published by DC Entertainment, which will also act as an executive producer. (I think they should keep the title Untitled Booster Gold Project. Anyone who’s read the comic want to chime in?)

Grave Sight - From the best-selling author of True Blood, this Charlaine Harris book series follows Harper Connelly—a young woman with a unique gift. After being struck by lightning as a teenager, Harper can sense the location and last memories of dead people. She teams up with her protective stepbrother, Tolliver Lang, to help find a missing teenage girl—only to uncover a network of lies and murders throughout a small town in the Ozarks. Writer: Kam Miller (Law and Order: SVU). A production of Universal Cable Productions. (So True Blood with no vampires or nudity, crossed with the Resurrection Glove from Torchwood?)

Seeing Things - Based on the comic Grey Legion from Platinum Studios, after a cop meets his violent demise, he returns as a ghost to close his last case. But the only person who can help him is a socially awkward man who is realizing for the first time that his hallucinations may not be all in his head. Writers: David Slack (Person of Interest, Lie To Me) and Gabrielle Stanton (Haven, The Vampire Diaries). Executive producers: David Slack, Robert Cort and Scott Mitchell Rosenberg. A production of Fox Television Studios. (No word on a Whoopi Goldberg cameo, but the clay scene is going to be really awkward.)

Defender - In the aftermath of an intergalactic war between humans and transhumans, the starship Defender, populated by a combustible mix of former enemies, is sent on a seemingly simple goodwill mission, which turns into a fight for their lives and for the safety of the Universe at large. Executive producer/writer: Robert Hewitt Wolfe (Alphas). A production of Universal Cable Productions. (Finally, a goddamned space ship. I give this show five stars in advance based simply on that fact.)

The Family - For generations, an alien family has hid amongst humans in plain sight using their advanced intellect to carve out a life for themselves as their family grew. But when the family patriarch that kept peace amongst the factions dies, a war begins to brew with some members believing the time has come to reveal themselves, and their superior power, to the inferior human race. Writer: Dan Harris (Superman Returns, X2). Executive producers: Neal Moritz (21 Jump Street, Total Recall), Mark Verheiden (Falling Skies, Battlestar Galactica). A production of Sony Pictures TV. (It’s like Dallas, except with aliens.)

Now remember, statistically speaking only two or three of these will ever make it to air anyway, so don’t get too excited. And if you do get too excited, they probably have a reality series that you can star on.

(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.