“Virtuality” didn’t make it past the pilot stage, but former “Battlestar Galactica” executive producer Ronald D. Moore is hoping for a different outcome in a new series for NBC other news outlets are simply calling an “adult Harry Potter.”
Sony Television, where Moore signed a development deal last spring, received a $2 million commitment from NBC to develop a pilot, described as a police procedural that heavily involves the use of magic. No name for the project was released, or the origin of the story. In the past, Moore has created based on existing properties, so it’s not clear if this new project is based on a book series, or if he’s working with another creator to bring the story to life.
The new series seems to have elements not just of Harry Potter, but also of the short-lived Syfy series “The Dresden Files,” based on the books from Jim Butcher, that focused on a private detective who used magic to help solve cases, even advertising himself as a wizard.
“Dresden Files” received somewhat decent ratings, but had the plug pulled after a single season. One of the complaints — at least from reviewers from Airlock Alpha — were that magic was not utilized enough in solving the crimes, and that the show depended on subtle magic rather than taking more dramatic steps as used in the Harry Potter series, for example.
NBC is most interested in the Moore pilot at this point, and is the network that will take a look at it, potentially for the 2011-12 season. After the cancellation of “Heroes” last season, the network doesn’t seem willing to shy away from the genre quite yet. However, the fate of shows such as “The Cape” at midseason and “The Event” in the fall could play a role in the overall fate of Moore’s new series.
In the meantime, Moore and crew are still awaiting word on if the “Battlestar” spinoff “Caprica” will receive a second season. Actor contracts were set to expire in August, but were extended at the 11th hour until the winter time, possibly waiting to see how the show’s first 10 episodes fare on the DVD aisle before making a final decision.
Syfy has been back and forth on whether to pick up the show. It received strong reviews from critics — although not at the same level as its BSG predecessor — however, ratings did not finish where the cable channel had hoped. A strong DVD market, however, could make up for those shortcomings, and it now appears Syfy is waiting to see what happens there before making a final decision on “Caprica,” meaning it could be after Halloween before the show’s fate is sealed.
Work on this new series would not affect “Caprica” either way. Moore did not take on showrunner reins for “Caprica,” responsibilities that first went to popular genre writer Jane Espenson, and later to Kevin Murphy, whose influence will be seen first-hand on the show when it returns in January on Syfy.
Moore also is working on a sequel to “I, Robot,” the 2004 film starring Will Smith based on the Isaac Asimov novels.