For every campy creature feature like Sharknado that Syfy churns out, they also have a handful of quality shows that get much less attention. Longtime fans of the network (and their title genre) are already familiar with the current slate of shows, but now a host of new projects are on the way. They include adaptations of Frank Miller’s comic series, Ronin; Robert Kirkman’s graphic novel, Clone; and Oni Press’ political space drama, Letter 44. Plus, fans of Battlestar Galactica’s Tricia Helfer will be happy to hear she’s found herself a lead role on the new six-part space opera, Ascension. Hit the jump for all of this and more.
News of Syfy’s ambitious new production plans come courtesy of Syfy:
- Frank Miller’s Ronin – Syfy is producing the six-series adaptation as a potential miniseries. The early 80s story centers on the title character, “a dishonored, masterless 13th century samurai, who is mystically given a second chance to avenge his master’s death. He finds himself suddenly reborn in a futuristic and corrupt 21st century New York where he must defeat ancient demon Agat, the reincarnation of his master’s killer.” Here’s Syfy’s version: “Eight centuries after a Japanese Ronin samurai failed to protect his master from a demon, he awakens in a futuristic, nihilistic New York in the body of Billy, a medical experiment. Now Billy/Ronin is chasing the demon, which has reawakened. Both parties want control of a sword with magical properties and will stop at nothing to get it back.” The search is on for a writer.
- Letter 44 – Based on Charles Soule‘s ongoing monthly series and penned by Jonathan Mostow (who will also direct the eventual pilot should it move ahead), the story revolves around Stephen Blades, the new president of the U.S. who learns, via a letter from his predecessor, that seven years earlier, NASA discovered an alien construction project in the asteroid belt. A crew of heroic astronauts was sent to investigate and they’re nearing the conclusion of their epic journey.”
- Robert Kirkman and David Alpert’s Clone – The series “centers on a retired soldier who investigates a break-in at his house, only to discover that the burglar is a clone of himself.” David Schulner will write and executive produce along with Kirkman and Alpert.
- Lev Grossman’s The Magicians – The series “follows a group of twenty-somethings in New York who study magic and discover that the magical fantasy world they read about as children is real and poses a grave danger to Earth.” Sera Gamble and John McNamara will write and executive produce along with Michael London.
- Matthew Federman and Stephen Scaia’s Pax Romana – Developed as a miniseries, it “centers on a Special Forces team that travels back in time on the eve of World War III to “fix” the future by altering the past.”
- Town of the Living Dead, “a comedic docu-series that follows an Alabama town trying to complete their own independent zombie movie, which has been six years in the making.” The True Entertainment series debuts Tuesday, Oct. 7 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
Here’s more official wordage from Syfy themselves:
NEW YORK – April 30, 2014 – Syfy today announced that it will develop as longform programming Pax Romana, Jonathan Hickman’s graphic novel about a time traveling clash of ages and arms, and Ronin, based on Frank Miller’s (300) comic book series, about an avenging samurai.
Pax Romana is about a Special Forces team that travels back in time on the eve of World War III to “fix” the future by altering the past. Their destination: Ancient Rome. Roman legions battle modern day attack helicopters, tanks and soldiers, while thought-provoking themes are explored as the leaders of the expedition fight over their vision for civilization. Writers: Matthew Federman & Stephen Scaia (Jericho, Warehouse 13, Human Target). Co-executive producer: Jonathan Hickman. Executive producers: David Alpert of Circle of Confusion (The Walking Dead), Federman and Scaia. A production of Universal Cable Productions.
In Ronin, published by DC Entertainment, eight centuries after a Japanese Ronin samurai failed to protect his master from a demon, he awakens in a futuristic, nihilistic New York in the body of Billy, a medical experiment. Now Billy/Ronin is chasing the demon, which has reawakened. Both parties want control of a sword with magical properties and will stop at nothing to get it back. Studio: Warner Horizon.
NEW YORK – April 30, 2014 – Building on the momentum of Syfy’s growing slate of cutting edge, provocative original programming, Syfy today announced it was developing adaptations of the graphic novels Clone, from Robert Kirkman and David Alpert (The Walking Dead) and Letter 44, from Jonathan Mostow (Terminator 3), as well as the popular novels The Magicians, based on the book series by Lev Grossman.
NEW SCRIPTED SERIES DEVELOPMENT
Clone – Based on the best-selling graphic novel. When retired soldier Luke Taylor investigates a break-in at his house, he never expected who the burglar would be: A clone of himself. Drawn into a vast government conspiracy when his wife is kidnapped, Luke must use all his combat skills and network of military contacts to get to the bottom of the secret biotech program that is responsible and the hidden agenda that goes all the way to the top levels of power. Writer/Executive Producer: David Schulner (Dracula, Ironside). Executive Producers: Robert Kirkman of Skybound Entertainment (Creator, EP, Writer of The Walking Dead) and David Alpert of Circle of Confusion (The Walking Dead). Studio: Universal Television.
Letter 44 – Based on the graphic novels of the same name. It is tradition for the preceding President to leave a letter for the newly elected President on the desk of the Oval Office. In this letter, new President Stephen Blades learns this stunning secret: seven years earlier, NASA discovered an alien construction project in the asteroid belt. A crew of heroic astronauts was sent to investigate and they’re nearing the conclusion of their epic journey.
Executive Producer/Writer/Director: Jonathan Mostow (Terminator 3). Executive Producers: Eric Gitter (Scott Pilgrim vs the World) and Peter Schwerin (The Flock, Scary Movie 2) from Closed on Mondays. Executive Producer: Renee Echevarria (4400, Terra Nova). Studio: A co-production of Universal Television and Universal Cable Productions.
Magicians – Based on the book series, The Magicians, by Lev Grossman, the one-hour drama follows a group of 20-somethings in New York who study magic and discover that the magical fantasy world they read about as children is real and poses a grave danger to Earth.
Executive Producers/Writers: Sera Gamble (Supernatural) and John McNamara (Common Law, In Plain Sight). Executive Producer: Michael London (Lola Versus, Milk). Studio: Universal Cable Productions.
SYFY ANNOUNCES DIVERSE NEW UNSCRIPTED REALITY SLATE
DOCUSERIES ABOUT BILLIONAIRES, HORROR HOUSES, PYROTECHNICS AND CONFRONTING THE APOCALYPSE
NEW YORK – April 30, 2014 – Syfy today announced a compelling and bold new unscripted development slate of seven projects featuring docuseries about family run horror houses and a special effects pyrotechnics company, Silicon Valley billionaires, fascinating men and women confronting the apocalypse, to the geek pub quiz phenomenon and surviving a disaster – alone.
NEW SYFY UNSCRIPTED SERIES DEVELOPMENT
Adam + Eve (WT) – Adam + Eve follows three individual and uniquely-paired couples – all meeting one another for the first time – to experience isolation in separate remote locations over the course of 90 days without any other human contact. As their psyches and bodies are tested by the need to survive, the social experiment will examine the dynamic between two people who have only each other for comfort.
Production Company: Studio Lambert/All3Media America (Undercover Boss, The Million Second Quiz). Executive producers: Stephen Lambert, Greg Goldman, Eli Holzman.
Alive and Alone (WT) – Alive and Alone is a first-person POV survival show where, each episode, the “lone survivor” of a remote disaster must use wits, along with whatever can be carried from the wreckage, to make it out alive over the course of nine days. The survivor will self-document the journey while also wearing the latest in biofeedback technology which will capture how the mind and body copes with the grueling experience.
Production Company: BASE Productions (Haunted Highway, Man vs Cheetah).
Executive Producers: John Brenkus, Mickey Stern.
Billion Dollar Club (WT) – What if the odds were 2% massive success and 98% complete failure? Would you take that bet? Set in the belly of the beast – Silicon Valley, Billion Dollar Club is a high-adrenaline, high-stakes docu-series that immerses viewers in the brilliant and cutthroat world of today’s most interesting and forward thinking innovators. The series follows two of the world’s most aggressive accelerator programs: the software concentrated, 500 Startups, led by the relentless drill sergeant Dave McClure; and the hardware focused, Highway 1, headed by quirky genius Brady Forrest, as they guide, challenge, inspire and push a select group of startup companies on a quest to get their innovative ideas off the ground. Who is sitting on the next big thing? A billionaire may be born – launched or sent home!
Produced by Zero Point Zero Production, Inc. (Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown, The Getaway, The Hunt). Executive producers: Lydia Tenaglia, Christopher Collins.
Family Affects (WT) – A comedic workplace docuseries following the misadventures of a fiery family-run special effects pyrotechnics company in Hollywood. The show centers around Tom Ceglia, his five kids and their crazy uncle Al as Tom prepares the next generation for his retirement and decides who will take the reins of the business. Will it be his clever-yet-unmotivated son or his outspoken-and-underprepared daughter? In an industry strangled by big digital effects, this family survives and thrives on controlling deadly forces of nature — but can they survive each other? These loud characters blow things up for popular TV shows, commercials, music videos, and live events, all while managing the quirky antics that will solidify their place as America’s most explosive family.
Production Company: Angel Valley Media. Executive Producers: Matt Lewis and Aaron Sherry
Fantasy Makers (WT) – Fantasy Makers is a family docuseries following the loud, energetic and colorful cast of characters who own and operate one of New York City’s premiere haunted attractions, Blood Manor. When they’re not scaring up city dwellers, the cast is out planning wild-themed events for clients, allowing their most extreme and imaginative fantasies to come to life. Production Company: Vidiots. Executive Producers: Michael Amoia, Anthony Amoia.
Geeks Who Drink – This game show centers around the geek pub quiz phenomenon, in which three quizmasters challenge teams in a live geek trivia battle.
Production Company: Condé Nast Entertainment (The Fashion Fund, Vanity Fair Confidential), Kinetic Content (Digfellas, Betty White’s Off Their Rockers, The Taste).
Executive Producers: Chris Coelen, Dawn Ostroff, Joe LaBracio, Emma Conway. Supervising Producer: John Dicker.
The End is Near (WT) – This anthology docuseries profiles fascinating men and women who truly believe humanity is on the verge of a sci-fi-like apocalyptic scenario. Whether it’s a robot revolution, unknown super virus or close encounter of the fifth kind, each episode will follow the stories of the brave families or groups of people who have united to take a stand.
Production Company: Hot Snakes Media (Amish Mafia, Breaking Amish)
Executive Producers: Eric Evangelista, Shannon Evangelista.
Twins (WT) – Twins is a house reality social experiment testing fraternal twins who claim to have twin ESP. Through a series of twin telepathy challenges and specifically designed house rules, a big twist will reveal a shocking surprise!
Production company: Electus (King of the Nerds, The Hero). Executive producers: Ben Silverman, Chris Grant, Corie Henson, Jessica Sebastian.