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X-Files Meets Fringe at the White House?

By October 10, 2011

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Writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci.

Writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci.

© Kevin Winter/Getty Images

ABC has bought a new series that has fans of paranormal conspiracy series like The X-Files and Fringe salivating--though it's not clear at this early date exactly what shape the final show will take, or how paranormal-oriented it will be.

The premise involves a newly elected president's covert team of the country's brightest minds, tasked to deal with threats from "the strangest occurrences and conspiracy theory truths out there." Now, "strangest occurrences" could mean anything, and might be used to describe peculiar but nonfantastic developments (Picket Fences, to name one straight drama, had a lot of "strange occurrences").

But "truths out there" has to be a shout-out to X-Files fans (even as Chris Carter himself resurfaces for a new show that might compete for an X-Files-y audience), suggesting to many that this show may contain some elements of sci-fi, fantasy, or both, though, we're told, with everything "operating within the realm of possibility."

What's really attracted attention is the all-star creative team: Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (Fringe, Star Trek, Transformers), Michael Dougherty (Superman Returns, X2), Jon Favreau (who directed Orci and Kurtzman's script for Cowboys & Aliens), and Seth Green (Robot Chicken). Favreau is to direct.

There's some confusion about the title of the series: most reports called it Secret Cabinet, but other articles titled the series Ex-Comm (for "executive committee"). A few writers pointed out that the second moniker sounds a lot like X-COM, the PC-based video game franchise that involves a secret organization dedicated to fighting alien threats.

Whatever it's called, the new project has a put-pilot commitment from ABC, meaning the network is committed to ordering the series if it doesn't want to pay a stiff penalty. With these names behind it it's not surprising that the show is considered a shoo-in, but then, we mustn't forget the lesson of 17th Precinct--top-name producers are no guarantee of a great series.
Tags: secret cabinet, ex-comm, roberto orci, jon favreau, seth green
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