The CW went in on pilot orders in bulk last night, formally picking up four new projects and confirming two previously reported ones. The highest profile pilot order was for the “Archie Comics” adaptation Riverdale, which comes from Greg Berlanti, the producer behind the network’s Arrow, The Flash, and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow series, and his Warner Bros. Television-set Berlanti Productions. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Carrie, Supergirl) wrote the pilot and will also exec produce, along with Berlanti, Sarah Schechter and Archie Comics CEO Jon Goldwater.
Riverdale is based on the characters from Archie Comics, but set in present day, offering “a surprising and subversive take on Archie, Betty, Veronica and their friends, exploring the surrealism of small town life — the darkness and weirdness bubbling beneath Riverdale’s wholesome façade.” During the TCA earlier this year, The CW president Mark Pedowitz commented on the darker focus on the normally light-hearted characters:
“The darker take was when you have Roberto and Greg and they want to take a run at something, you give them that leeway. They deserve it. They’ve earned it. That’s why we went with a darker take.”
We’ll see how audiences respond to The CW’s Dark Archie in due time, but for now, let’s take a look at the other pilot orders the network confirmed yesterday.
Transylvania – Set in 1880, the series follows an ambitious but stubborn young woman on a journey from New York City to Transylvania in search of her missing father. Once there, she teams up with a Scotland Yard Detective who’s been wrongfully disgraced, and together they encounter the origins of some the most famous monsters and villains in history. The project comes from Fringe alums and CBS’ Zoo team of Jeff Pinkner, Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec and Scott Rosenberg, and was written and executive produced by Hugh Sterbakov (Hell and Back). CBS TV Studios and Midnight Radio, which also recently landed a series order at History for the Jeremy Renner-produced period drama Knightfall, will produce.
Untitled Mars Colony Series – Previously titled Colony, the story centers on a team of explorers who travel to Mars in order to join the planet’s first human colony, but when they arrive there, they find that the colonists have all vanished. The team, led by a woman whose husband is one of the missing colonists, change their mission from one of exploration and colonization to investigation and survival. They must map out the hostile planet and battle their own personal demons if they are to have any hope of locating the missing team.
This futuristic twist on the 16th century Roanoke Colony mystery was written by Doris Egan (Reign, House, Tru Calling), who will executive produce the CBS Television Studios drama alongside Kennedy/Marshall Co.’s Robert Zotnowski and Frank Marshall.
No Tomorrow – This hourlong comedy, which is in itself an unusual format, is based on an International Emmy-nominated Brazilian series titled How to Enjoy the End of the World. Following a cautious and by-the-book woman who manages procurements at an Amazon-like distribution center, No Tomorrow sees her fall in love with a freewheeling man who lives life to the fullest because he believes the apocalypse is coming soon. This ticking clock – 8 months and 12 days, to be precise – provides the backdrop to their comedic yet poignant quest together to fulfill their individual bucket lists.
Written by Jane the Virgin’s Corinne Brinkerhoff, Scott McCabe and Tory Stanton, who will all executive produce along with Ben Silverman, No Tomorrow is being eyed for The CW’s Monday comedy block to potentially provide the “quirky family material” to go along with critically acclaimed shows Jane the Virgin and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.
Kevin Williamson Project – This drama is about a young woman seeking help from a parapsychologist after she starts experiencing paranormal phenomena. Williamson’s script has David Nutter attached to direct; both will also act as executive producers with Lauren Wagner acting as a producer. The untitled project comes from Warner Bros. TV and Williamson’s Outerbanks Entertainment.
Frequency – A TV re-imagining of writer Toby Emmerich’s script for the 2000 film directed by Gregory Hoblit, Frequency finds a modern-day female police detective who discovers she is able to speak via with her estranged, deceased, detective father over a ham radio. They forge a new relationship across time and space while working together on a homicide cold case, but the butterfly effect wreaks havoc in the present day.
Originally developed at NBC last season, Frequency was written by Supernatural showrunner Jeremy Carver who will also executive produce along with Emmerich, President and COO, New Line Cinema; John Rickard, and Lin Pictures’ Dan Lin and Jennifer Gwartz.