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Cinemax Drops Sci-Fi Drama; Will Science Rescue It?

By September 5, 2011

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Aaron and Matthew Benay.

Aaron and Matthew Benay.

© DreamWorks SKG

With Ridley Scott in the news for having agreed to revisit the Blade Runner franchise, there's an unexpected development in the project that might have got him thinking about it again in the first place.

Back in April, Cinemax announced it was ordering a pilot for The Sector, an action-crime series described as in the vein of Blade Runner and District 9 focusing on the commander of a paramilitary unit pursuing a dangerous new race of genetically-enhanced humans.

The project was being developed at the production house run by Tony and Ridley Scott, Scott Free Productions (get it?), with Aaron and Matthew Benay (the writers on Brad Bird's next Pixar film, 1906, and the Dreamworks adaptation of Wicked) as co-creators. The show was part of Cinemax's new thrust into scripted series, along with The Transporter and Alan Ball's Banshee, in the cable service's bid to stand alongside big brothers Showtime and HBO in the attention-garnering field of original drama.

But now Cinemax, perhaps deciding to streamline its programming surge, has unceremoniously dropped The Sector, and Scott Free is reportedly looking for a script doctor to reshape the Benays' pilot teleplay for a new buyer. Many eyebrows were raised when Deadline Hollywood reported that one potential white knight for the title might be Science, one of the Discovery channels and a recent arrival on the sci-fi fan's peripheral vision for having picked up Firefly.

Science's browsing the scripted sci-fi series aisle could signal an interest in broadening its focus beyond the documentary, and in so doing boosting its overall presence in the same way that Reelz did when it picked up another abandoned project, The Kennedys.

Of course, it may just be that the script wasn't as good as Cinemax thought it would be; or maybe the revisions are probably more in the nature of revising the material to suit new suits at new networks. Either way the premise holds a lot of promise, and I'm always in favor of new sci-fi making it onto the air--the greater the population of shows, the greater the potential seen for those thinking of developing the next big milestone in the genre. So here's hoping there's good news for The Sector in its future.
Tags: The Sector, Aaron and Matthew Benay, Ridley Scott
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