The US Syfy channel had a busy evening of announcements yesterday at the channel’s annual upfront presentation in New York. So take a deep breath… here we go:
• Being Human USA has been renewed for a fourth season of 13 episodes. “ Being Human really hit its stride creatively this year,” enthused Syfy’s president of original content Mark Stern. “This show has become a signature series for Syfy and we are thrilled to have it return in 2014.” (You can read our interviews with Being Human stars Sam Witwer and Meaghan Rath ).
• No Place is a new series based on the Top Cow comic book The Test , which boasts Back To The Future director Robert Zemeckis among its exec producers and John Brancato and Michael Ferris ( Terminator Salvation , The Game ) as writer. Residents of a high-tech gated community suddenly find themselves alone and cut off from the rest of reality: nothing exists beyond the community's walls. Only one man has contact with the powers responsible for what is known as "The Rift," and he must lead his fellow residents beyond the void to discover the truth. "We are very excited to be in business with this amazing A-list team," said Stern. "We look forward to them bringing their high-quality feature-level sensibility to this taut sci-fi drama."
• High Moon is the new name for Pushing Daisies creator Bryan Fuller long-in-gestation adaptation of the classic John Christopher novel The Lotus Caves . It’s about the discovery of a new form of life found in the mines of Earth’s moon. “Chaos erupts in a genuinely emotional, humorously thrilling and always unexpected fashion as the people of the Moon race to uncover this life form's powerful secrets,” says the press release. Stern adds: "In the hands of visionary Bryan Fuller and this outstanding production team, High Moon will be an imaginative, groundbreaking story featuring complex characters in a high-stakes drama. This represents our commitment to quality programming that redefines the genre and we're excited to begin production."
• Helix is the new show from new Battlestar Galactica guru Ron Moore. It will follow a team of scientists who investigate a possible disease outbreak in an Arctic research facility and find themselves trying to protect the world from annihilation ( The Thing with knobs on, then?).
• There’s an as-yet-untitled horror anthology series on the way from actor Jamie Foxx’s production company. Said to be in the vein of shows like Tales From The Crypt and The Twilight Zone , this contemporary half-hour series will tell creepy morality tales and will debut during Syfy's annual 31 Days Of Halloween programming marathon this October. Said Foxx, "This is a project that I've wanted to do for a long time and I'm so happy to see it come to life. Get ready to lose it when some special friends and I bring the scares this October, and who knows... maybe I'll make a guest appearance or two along the way!”
• Two classic sci-fi novels are set to be made into (probably competent, but fairly bland mini-series): Larry Niven’s Ringworld and Arthur C Clarke’s Childhood’s End .
• Dominion is the new working title for the small screen version of avenging angels movie Legion. It comes courtesy of writer Vaun Wilmott ( Sons of Anarchy) and director Scott Stewart ( Defiance ).
• Orion sounds like Tomb Raider meets Star Wars. Set amidst an intergalactic war pitting humans against a terrifying alien race, Orion is about the eponymous female relic hunter who’s also trying to piece together her past.
• Sojourn (they’re going to change that title, surely? It’s really dull) is about the first detective in space, who has to investigate a murder on a starship that’s heading to a planet earmarked for colonisation. Instead he becomes embroiled in a vast conspiracy involving a mysterious terrible crime dating back to the original launch of the ship 50 years ago.
• Clandestine – After a clan of bandits is nearly destroyed and left for dead by coalition forces, they take refuge in the nearest safe haven, a derelict coalition starship floating in space. Once onboard, they masquerade as coalition officers while continuing their criminal ways… until they stumble upon a shocking secret about the nature of the coalition (the two leaders are dimwits?). Writers: Todd Stashwick & Dennis Calero. Executive producers: Gale Anne Hurd ( The Walking Dead ) and John Shiban ( Hell On Wheels ).
• Infinity – When an alien armada is spotted near Pluto, the Earth government turns to a young billionaire industrialist – who has the only ship ready for interstellar travel – to greet the aliens and avoid a catastrophe. Powered by secret alien technology discovered on Earth in the ’60s, the ship engages in a firefight that sends them spinning through a wormhole into an uncharted region of space. Lost in the universe, the team struggles to survive as they encounter new planets and alien species, searching for a way back home. This may sound like something we’ve seen a billion times before, but since it’s from writer Javier Grillo-Marxuach – the genius behind the serious warped The Middleman , we suspect there’s more to it than that synopsis suggests.
• Silver Shields – When his father is slain by assassins connected to the government of the large nearby city of Pont Royal, farm boy Caymer journeys there to continue his father's legacy as a member of the local police force, and to solve the mystery of his father's death. He discovers that his simple country view on life is at odds with the big city, filled with orcs and other magical creatures. Executive producer/writer: Robert Hewitt Wolfe ( Alphas , Andromeda ).
• Shelter – A massive meteorite is heading towards Earth, forcing 30,000 hand-picked humans to live underground in a government funded shelter in order to start a new society. What begins as a Utopia quickly succumbs to the old human faults and jealousies as certain members of society create alliances to gain favor and power. Meanwhile things on the surface are not what they seem. Humans slowly realise that this event may have been fated and the survivors meant for a greater purpose in rebooting life on Earth. Perhaps not coincidentally, the executive producer/writer is Deep Impact ’s Bruce Joel Rubin.