US TV Fantasy and SF Pilots

Anyone worried that US TV bosses might be falling out of favour with SF and fantasy needn't worry. Just check out the following list for proof. These are the pilots (and, indeed, in some cases full series) that have already been ordered by the major networks.

Captain Cook's Extraordinary Atlas
STUDIO: Warner Brothers
SYNOPSIS: Harry Potter meets Pan's Labyrinth – a young girl who finds a magical atlas that reveals a secret world underneath our world.
COMMENTS: Bet this one is whimsical attempt to recapture the success of Pushing Daisies.

Section 8
STUDIO: ABC Studios/BermanBraun
SYNOPSIS: Everyday people with exceptional neurological abilities recruited to work for a secret branch of a government agency
COMMENTS: There are some big names behind this one, including Zak Penn (scripter on X-Men III and The Incredible Hulk) and Gail Berman (previously a producer on Buffy and Angel). Six episodes have been commissioned.

Life on Mars
STUDIO: David E Kelley Productions/20th Century Fox TV/Kudos
SYNOPSIS: US adaptation of the BBC hit about a modern day cop transported back to the '70s,CAST: Jason O'Mara, Colm Meaney
COMMENTS: David E Kelly, the mastermind behind Ali McBeal and Boston Legal, is handling the trans-Atlantic translation.

Mythological Ex
STUDIO: 20th Century Fox TV
SYNOPSIS: After learning from a psychic that she already has dated the man she's supposed to marry, a woman revisits all her past relationships in the hopes of finding him.
CAST: Rachel Boston
COMMENT: Not too sure how fantasy this will be. Maybe not at all. Can’t honestly say it sounds the most thrilling concept. It’s based on an Israeli format, apparently.

The Meant to Be's
STUDIO: CBS Paramount Network TV
SYNOPSIS: Romantic drama about a woman who dies, but in order to "pass over," she must return to Earth and help people improve their lives.
CAST: Amy Smart
COMMENTS: Again, the concept sounds far from thrilling, but the showrunner is the legendary Glenn Gordon Caron (Moonlighting, Medium) who has a habit of quirking up seemingly unoriginal ideas.

Eleventh Hour
STUDIO: Jerry Bruckheimer Television/Warner Bros./Granada
Channel: CBS
SYNOPSIS: A special science adviser to the government saves people from the worst abuses of science.
COMMENTS: Another one that ultimately may or may not fall into SFX territory, depending on how far they develop it from the orignal ITV mini series (which wasn’t quite SF enough for SFX's tastes).

STUDIO: CTV/Avmar Entertainment/Pink Sky Entertainment
Channel: CBS
SYNOPSIS: A struggling artist is recruited by a secret agency to fight comic book-type villains.
CAST: Rufus Sewell, Marley Shelton
COMMENTS: A co-production with Canadian TV, this has already been given a series order.

Harper's Island
STUDIO: CBS Paramount Network TV
SYNOPSIS: A horror story unfolds over the course of a season as a group of friends meet on an island off the Seattle coast for a wedding.
COMMENTS: Another one that may or may not be SFX territory. Jon (National Treasure/Jericho) Turteltaub is among the producers, though, so it could hover on the borders of telefantasy.

The Oaks
STUDIO: 20th Century Fox
SYNOPSIS: Three families, in different time periods, all occupy the same house haunted by a restless spirit.
CAST: Sienna Guillory, Matt Lanter, Shannon Lucio, Romy Rosemont, Michael Rispoli
COMMENTS: Sounds expensive. Has already been commissioned for a series.

STUDIO: Warner Brothers TV/Bad Robot
SYNOPSIS: A tough FBI agent is forced to confront the spread of unexplained phenomena.
CAST: Anna Torv, John Noble, Joshua Jackson
COMMENTS: Is JJ Abrams giving us an X-Files for the noughties? Has already been commissioned for a series.

STUDIO: 20th Century Fox TV
SYNOPSIS: A group of men and women – dolls - are imprinted with different personalities for different assignments, but forget all about their adventures when they return to the Dollhouse.
CAST: Eliza Dushku, Tahmoh Penikett, Fran Kranz, Dichen Lachman, Enver Gjokaj
COMMENTS: Whedon has returned. Already been commissioned for a series.

STUDIO: ABC Television Studios
SYNOPSIS: A modern-day Jekyll and Hyde tale about a partially paralyzed forensic psychiatrist with a split personality whose alter ego is a charismatic criminal.
CAST: Toby Stephens
COMMENTS: The latest stab at telefantasy from Invasion and American Gothic creator Shaun Cassidy.

Knight Rider
STUDIO: Universal Media Studios/Cullen Bros./Dutch Oven Productions
SYNOPSIS: An updated version of the 1980's television series.
CAST: Sydney Tamiia Poitier, Justin Bruening, Val Kilmer
COMMENTS: It’s just been announced that Gary Scott Thompson of Las Vegas (the show, not the place) fame will be showrunner.