Is there some bad blood between BBC Worldwide and Syfy for the American cabler's refusal to pick up shows like "Doctor Who" and "Torchwood"? Or is BBC just smelling opportunity?
Syfy could soon be gaining some serious competition in the genre as BBC American and Clerkenwell Films have put together a pair of science-fiction projects that might help establish the American cousin of the government-run British broadcaster as a true creator of original programming.
BBCA says it has pushed forward development of "Wired," a robot-style series from Stephen Volk, as well as "The Dead Beat" from John Jackson.
"Wired," according to TG Daily, is set in an alternate universe of Earth that is inhabited not by people, but by Syns, short for "synthetic organisms," that are exact replicas of human beings. Volk is a British writer who has penned a number of television projects over the last 25 years, including the 2005 Andrew Lincoln series "Afterlife."
BBCA says "Wired" will explore human dependence on technology. However, it might be hard not to draw comparisons between this project and "Surrogates," a 2009 Bruce Willis movie based on the graphic novel from Robert Venditti and Brett Weldele that featured wealthy humans entering the world using human replica robots they controlled from the comfort and safety of their home.
"The Dead Beat" is described as a paranormal crime series where you get the most unique team of reluctant investigative partners -- two cops, one who is alive, and the other who is dead. They will use the insight from the dead to help capture killers.
Jackson is an up-and-coming writer who has penned episodes of "Robin Hood," "Lip Service" and the British version of "Being Human."
Both projects are still in the early announcement stage, and have not moved beyond a pilot order just yet. However, this is not the first time BBCA has worked on its own series. Productions of shows like "Jekyll" and "The State Within" were carried under the BBCA banner in the past, but were joint productions with British outfits.
BBCA is launching its first fully commissioned series "Copper" later this year, a period crime procedural in New York City just after the American Civil War.
With its inclusion of popular BBC genre shows like "Doctor Who" and "Torchwood," BBCA has moved to provide other classic genre shows as well. That includes "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (which featured Brits Patrick Stewart and Marina Sirtis), "The X-Files" (with American-born but British-raised Gillian Anderson), and even Syfy's "Battlestar Galactica," which had its own popular British ensemble including Jamie Bamber and James Callis.
Those shows have done very well for BBCA, despite being available through other means like Netflix Streaming, and has pushed BBCA to looking at some of its own content.
Plus, British audiences like some of the genre programming that Americans may shy away from in the mainstream, and programs like "Wired" and "The Dead Beat" could be broadcast there as well.
About the Author