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Syfy's Expanded 2012 Pipeline

A wide array of scripted series in the works at Syfy

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At its 2012 upfronts, Syfy announced a string of new projects, scripted and unscripted, many of which we've reported on previously. Only one -- Defiance -- is firmly on the schedule, with a debut slated for Spring 2013; the rest are categorized as in development. The channel heralded the expansion as resulting in the largest phalanx of original programming in its history, but the best news is the involvement of some confidence-building talent behind the cameras.

Defiance (2013)

Grant Bowler
ABC

Defiance is being touted as an innovation in hybrid TV/gaming content generation, which raises the stakes considerably: the show has to be engaging both to the passive audience of television drama and the active audience of gamers, and develop a world convincing enough that both scriptwriters and game players can wander freely. And because of its pseudo-frontier, mixed-species premise it's already being compared to Firefly and Farscape (a previous Syfy series from co-creator Rockne S. O'Bannon) -- a tough standard to measure up to.
Starring: Grant Bowler (pictured), Julie Benz, Stephanie Leonidas, Tony Curran, Jaime Murray, Fionnula Flanagan, Mia Kirshner, Graham Greene.
The story: Set in the near future, Defiance introduces a completely transformed planet Earth, inhabited by the survivors of a universal war. Forced to co-habitate, the disparate group struggles to build a new society among the devastation. The dramatic tapestry of the series and the intense action of the game will exist in a single universe where their respective narratives will inform one another and evolve together into one overall story. Defiance is in collaboration with Trion Worlds, with the Syfy series and Trion’s multi-platform shooter MMO poised to debut simultaneously.
Directed by: Scott Stewart (Legion, Priest).
Written/executive produced by: Rockne O’Bannon (Farscape), Kevin Murphy (Desperate Housewives, Caprica, Hellcats) and Michael Taylor (Battlestar Galactica).
Showrunner: Kevin Murphy.
Produced by: Universal Cable Productions.

Rewind

Shane McRae

This is the show with the storyline reminiscent of Source Code and Seven Days, but that's not necessarily a bad thing -- it's a premise with a lot of potential for dealing with both weekly disaters, brewing powerplays for control of the team, and the toll taken by such missions on individual characters.
The story: Rewind revolves around a team of military field operatives and civilian scientists who must use untested technology to travel back in time to alter events and change the future -- and avoid a devastating terrorist attack.
Starring: Shane McRae (pictured) stars as Sean Knox, ex-Special Forces who ranks as a field operative in a special division of the Department of Homeland Security. The pilot also stars Jennifer Ferrin, Academy Award nominee Keisha Castle-Hughes (Whale Rider), Robbie Jones and Keon Mohajeri, and is currently in production in Toronto.
Directed by: Jack Bender (Lost, Alphas).
Written by: Justin Marks (Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li).
Executive producers: Marks, Tom Spezialy, Gail Berman, Lloyd Braun and Gene Stein.
Production of: BermanBraun and Universal Cable Productions.

The Adjustment Bureau

Darren Swimmer and Todd Slavkin
Sophia Quach / PR Photos

One of my favorite Asimov stories has always been The End of Eternity, which involves operatives making small alterations in events in order to skew the timeline into new realities. This brings up the central problem of a series like The Adjustment Bureau: what is the ultimate motivation of the Plan, and how is it affected by the reality alterations it makes? Who, ultimately, is in control?
The story: In this drama, based on the hit movie starring Matt Damon, guardian angel-type agents work to keep the world according to The Plan. They create everything from plane crashes to coffee spills in order to steer people to realize their true destiny. But there is one thing the operatives and their Chairman can't control -- free will.
Writers: Todd Slavkin and Darren Swimmer, pictured (Melrose Place, Smallville).
Executive producers: George Nolfi (The Adjustment Bureau, The Bourne Ultimatum), MRC, Slavkin and Swimmer.
A production of: Universal Cable Productions.

Untitled Booster Gold Project

Greg Berlanti

I've discussed some of the considerations involved in making a Booster Gold series in the attached essay; with his personality flaws and overcompensating drives Booster has all the makings of a fascinating and fun character, but this one will depend heavily on the casting (which we don't know) and the writing (we can expect good things from Greg Berlanti and his team).
The story: Based on the best-selling DC Entertainment Comic, this is the story of a washed-up athlete from the future who travels back to the present in hopes of becoming the greatest superhero of all time. But instead of chasing criminals, his main priority is chasing fame and money. Booster Gold discovers that being a hero takes more than just a megawatt smile.
Writer: Andrew Kreisberg (Arrow, Warehouse 13).
Executive producers: Greg Berlanti, pictured (Green Lantern, Arrow) and Andrew Kreisberg.
Producers: Greg Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Horizon Television. The Booster Gold comic book series is published by DC Entertainment, which will also act as an executive producer.

High Moon

Bryan Fuller has his hands full, adapting The Munsters as Mockingbird Lane for NBC even as he also works up this book adaptation that, among other things, will get Syfy back out in space again.
The story: Based on the novel The Lotus Caves by John Christopher, this imaginative, out-of-this-world series explores a world where the countries of Earth have established colonies to mine the Moon's resources. When a new life form is discovered, chaos erupts as various factions race to uncover its powerful secrets.
Executive producer: Bryan Fuller, pictured (Hannibal, Pushing Daisies).
Co-executive producer: Jim Danger Gray (Pushing Daisies).
Writers: Bryan Fuller and Jim Danger Gray.
Executive producer: Granat Entertainment.
A production of: Universal Cable Productions.

Grave Sight

While adapting another series derived from the works of Charlaine Harris (pictured) seems like coattail riding, Grave Sight has a lot more in common with Medium and Ghost Whisperer -- both of which are now gone and fondly remembered, and with no direct replacements. That bodes well for this series, which thanks to a small cast and tight premise should also be inexpensive compared to Syfy's other projects.
The story: From the best-selling author of True Blood, this Charlaine Harris book series follows Harper Connelly -– a young woman with a unique gift. After being struck by lightning as a teenager, Harper can sense the location and last memories of dead people. She teams up with her protective stepbrother, Tolliver Lang, to help find a missing teenage girl -- only to uncover a network of lies and murders throughout a small town in the Ozarks.
Writer: Kam Miller (Law and Order: SVU).
A production of: Universal Cable Productions.

Defender

Another spacefaring series, calling to mind Andromeda and (in terms of the crew of former enemies) what Voyager was supposed to be.
The story: In the aftermath of an intergalactic war between humans and transhumans, the starship Defender, populated by a combustible mix of former enemies, is sent on a seemingly simple goodwill mission, which turns into a fight for their lives and for the safety of the Universe at large.
Executive producer/writer: Robert Hewitt Wolfe, pictured (Alphas).
A production of: Universal Cable Productions.

Seeing Things

A great storyline, this one will also hinge on the how the casting meets the writing. Will it tend toward dark humor, or sober existential suspense? The two writers are from slightly different traditions, so it'll be interesting to see how it plays out.
The story: Based on the comic Grey Legion from Platinum Studios, after a cop meets his violent demise, he returns as a ghost to close his last case. But the only person who can help him is a socially awkward man who is realizing for the first time that his hallucinations may not be all in his head.
Writers: David Slack (Person of Interest, Lie To Me) and Gabrielle Stanton (Haven, The Vampire Diaries).
Executive producers: David Slack, Robert Cort and Scott Mitchell Rosenberg.
A production of: Fox Television Studios.

The Family

This could skew a lot of ways -- Dynasty meets Dark Shadows, or something a lot darker like Battlestar, with a lot of room for scene-stealing supporting cast.
The story: For generations, an alien family has hid amongst humans in plain sight using their advanced intellect to carve out a life for themselves as their family grew. But when the family patriarch that kept peace amongst the factions dies, a war begins to brew with some members believing the time has come to reveal themselves, and their superior power, to the inferior human race.
Writer: Dan Harris (Superman Returns, X2).
Executive producers: Neal Moritz (21 Jump Street, Total Recall), Mark Verheiden (Falling Skies, Battlestar Galactica).
A production of: Sony Pictures TV.

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