Things are about to get spacey over at FX. John Scalzi’s comedic sci-fi adventure Redshirts, last year’s Hugo Award winner for Best Novel, is being developed as a limited series for the acclaimed cable network.
Ken Kwapis, a veteran television (The Office, The Bernie Mac Show) and feature film (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, He’s Just Not That Into You) producer and director will oversee development of Redshirts alongside film producer Jon Shestack (Air Force One, Dan in Real Life) and his partner Alexandra Beattie, according to Deadline. The trio will serve as executive producers on the new series, with Kwapis lined up to direct the pilot episode. The project is currently out to writers to help adapt the novel for television. Kwapis and Beattie most recently developed the prospective Showtime series Happyish, but its future is in doubt following the unexpected death of its star Philip Seymour Hoffman on February 2, 2014.
Redshirts, according to Deadline, “follows the adventures of five new recruits on the Starship Intrepid who come to realize that the ship’s crewmembers are dying at an alarming rate.” They discover that their reality has been warped with that of a sci-fi TV show and are forced to follow that show’s narrative. Kwapis said of the novel’s concept, “If Jorge Luis Borges had been a staff writer on the original Star Trek, he would no doubt have concocted a story like Redshirts.”
Anyone remotely familiar with Star Trek lore knows the term “red shirts” refers to the anonymous and expendable crew members who are often the first – and only – to die in an episode. Redshirts has garnered much acclaim for author Scalzi and the concept brings to mind classic irreverent treatments of classic sci-fi as Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy franchise and the beloved British comedy series Red Dwarf. The names attached to this project thus far have solid track records in their chosen professions, so with the right cast and creative team, Redshirts could be a hilarious and loving mockery of a genre whose popularity continues to rise on both the big and small screens.
Thank goodness it won’t be on SyFy.