The Sci Fi (SyFy? If we all refuse to acknowledge that, will they change it back?) channel has already far and away proven that they can take an old TV series, completely restructure it, and create one of the best shows of all time. Now that Battlestar Galactica has come and gone, Sci Fi is developing a new potential series based on Alien Nation with fanboy favorite Tim Minear writing.
Alien Nation first started as a movie starring James Caan and Mandy P in 1988 that turned into a 1989 TV series on Fox. The show was canceled after one season, but has seen five new TV movies made since then, as well. The show is basically a social observation using a fictional setting and aliens known as “Newcomers” who were at first made to live away from humans, but now have been allowed to reside among us; of course this doesn’t stop racism from continuing. The original movie for which this new project is being based followed an L.A. cop (Caan) whose partner is killed while investigating the Newcomers. When the first alien police officer comes to his department, he volunteers to join up with him in order to sneakily try and investigate the death of his former partner.
Tim Minear is beloved in geek circles as a man who has worked as a writer on shows like The X-Files, as well as written and produced episodes of Angel, Firefly, and Dollhouse. He’s currently developing an outline for the script as well as planning out the show’s main storyline.
Here’s Minear’s take on the new project:
It’s genre mixed with procedural mixed with funny and mixed with big, giant scary. I love serialized stuff, but this is also a cop franchise. That ‘Starsky and Hutch’/’Lethal Weapon’ buddy cop comedy is absent from TV right now.
You can take (the original ‘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.
The concept seems to be a popular one these days. District 9, a movie being released later this summer that’s produced by Peter Jackson, has the similar premise of an alien race being quarantined by humans.
No word on whether they will go right into a show or if, like Battlestar Galactica, it will start with a mini-series and see how that works out.