Alien Nation Rises Again

The trend begun by Battlestar Galactica, Bionic Woman and Knight Rider, and continuing with V next US TV season seems to have no sign of abating. The latest SF TV classic to be exhumed and dusted down is Alien Nation. Okay, it was originally a film 1988 film (written by Farscape creator Rockne S O’Bannon) but most of us have fond memories of the spin-off series from 1989.

Sci Fi (hang on – when do we start referring them as SyFy?) is developing the remake, with Tim (Angel, X-Files, Firefly) as showrunner, reports Variety . The format is cop buddy procedural show, the twist being that one of the cops is an alien. In the show’”s universe, y'see, humans and aliens live side-by-side in the near future.

Fox 21, the alternative production arm of 20th Century Fox TV, will produce. Fox 21 bigwig Chris Carlisle said he believed Alien Nation could be Sci Fi’s next Battlestar Galactica, reworking the format for today's audiences. "It's absolute perfect timing for this type of show," Carlisle says. "They're looking for more grounded sci-fi and close-ended episodes, and at the heart of Alien Nation, it's a cop movie. It's grounded. And it has a tremendous amount of dramatic possibilities and humour." Being set on Earth, it’s also cheap, he didn’t add.

Minear reassures fans of the original series that its social conscience will still be intact in the new version: “You can take Alien Nation a step forward and really do a show that encompasses the clash of civilizations, and the idea of a ghettoized minority. You can touch on racism, terrorism, assimilation, immigration. And there's room for satire."

Minear, who’s currently outlining the Alien Nation script and mapping out the new show’s mythology, reveals that the action will likely take place in the Pacific Northwest, about 20 years after the first ship of aliens - who have been banished as slaves - crash lands into Earth.

It can only be a matter of time before someone decides that updating Holmes and Yo-Yo is a good idea...