Tim Minear from ‘Firefly’ fame will be in charge of the new series
Twenty years after Fox tried to bring the feature film to television and became one of the network’s first major genre casualties, the former SciFi Channel says they are going to give “Alien Nation” a second chance and bring it back as a series.
Tim Minear, late of shows such as “The X-Files” and “Firefly,” will take over the project and prep it for a potential 2010 release on the network that is rebranding to “Syfy” come Tuesday.
NBC Universal, which would broadcast the show on Syfy through Twentieth Century Fox Television, said they hope to continue the success they have had with recreating past franchises like the critically-acclaimed “Battlestar Galactica.” However, what Syfy failed to mention is that other attempts to recreate old franchises, most recently “Flash Gordon” on SciFi as well as both “Bionic Woman” and “Knight Rider” made for NBC — the former being produced by David Eick from “Battlestar Galactica” — crashed and burned.
Fox Television head Chris Carlisle, however, said that the timing to recreate the 1989 Fox series (and 1988 movie) into a grounded sci-fi show that can double as a police procedural is perfect.
SciFi Channel is “looking for more grounded sci-fi and close-ended episodes, and at the heart of ‘Alien Nation,’ it’s a cop movie,” Carlisle told Variety. “And it has a tremendous amount of dramatic possibilities and humor.”
“It’s genre mixed with procedural mixed with funny and mixed with big, giant scary,” Minear said. “I love serialized stuff, but this is also a cop franchise. That Starsky and Hutch/Lethal Weapon buddy cop comedy is absent from TV right now.”
The original movie starred Mandy Patinkin as George Francisco and James Caan as Matthew Sykes. In the 1989 series, the roles were played by Eric Pierpoint and Gary Graham. Pierpoint later became a character actor, and guested in five episodes of “Star Trek: Enterprise,” a series Graham was involved in as a Vulcan ambassador.
The original idea focused on a group of adaptable aliens with spotted bald heads who crash landed on Earth and then integrated into society. The new show will move across the country into the Pacific Northwest about 30 years later, this time around 2020, and the “newcomers” have become a group of more than 3.5 million.
“You can take it [the original concept] a step forward and really do a show that encompasses the clash of civilizations, and the idea of a ghettoized minority,” Minear said. “You can touch on racism, terrorism, assimilation, immigration. And there’s room for satire.”
Don’t hold your breath on this concept until scenes actually start filming. SciFi Channel has announced franchise revivals in the past without following through. Anyone remember the idea of doing a new “Quantum Leap”?