11 Sci-Fi Properties Which Need A Movie Right Now!
Before Hollywood announces yet another reboot of some already beloved science fiction movie franchise, let’s give them a few better ideas. Since we’re talking about the entertainment industry, we can’t expect anything to original. But it doesn’t have to be. There’s a wealth of science fiction out there, just waiting for some movie studio to pick it up and do something with it. No more waiting. Drop that Back to the Future remake Hollywood and do something with these already brilliant sci-fi properties instead:
The Pitch: A pizza delivery boy is accidentally frozen for a thousand years, and wakes up in the future. There he finds employment at the interplanetary delivery company, Planet Express, and struggles to fit in with the company’s strange assortment of employees. His best friend is an alcoholic robot, he’s in love with a smoking hot kung-fu Cyclops who finds him repulsive, and he’s employed by a mad scientist with an increasingly bad case of dementia. Hilarity ensues. Think Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy meets Encino Man.
The Pitch: A botched experiment sends Sam Becket leaping through time. But Sam can explain it better than I can. “It all started when a time travel experiment I was conducting went… “a little caca”. In the blink of a cosmic clock, I went from quantum physicist to Air Force test-pilot. Which could have been fun… if I knew how to fly. Fortunately, I had help – an observer from the project named Al. Unfortunately, Al’s a hologram, so all he can lend is moral support. Anyway, here I am, bouncing around in time, putting things right that once went wrong, a sort of time traveling Lone Ranger, with Al as my Tonto. And I don’t even need a mask… Oh Boy”
The Mote In God’s Eye
The Pitch: Popular science fiction usually ends up portraying aliens either as monsters or as something nearly human. Rarely is there a middle ground. Avatar’s Na’vi for instance, are barely alien at all. They’re more like some blue African tribe. Mote presents an intelligent alien species that is truly alien, not just in appearance but in the way they think, and then uses them as part of a gripping tale which asks this simple question: How can we possibly trust something so alien, let alone understand it? Maybe they lack the sex appeal of blue cat people (you’re unlikely to be aroused by a Mote’s gripping hand), but the story’s brilliantly written characters and massive, epic scope could turn the science fiction genre on its head if it ever made it up on screen.
The Pitch: It’s the story of Dave Lister the last man alive aboard the mining ship Red Dwarf. They’re three million years away from Earth, every human he’ll never know or meet is either dead or out of reach, and his only companions are a lifeform which evolved from the ship’s cat, Arnold Rimmer, a holographic recreation of one of the most annoying members of the ship’s crew, and the ship’s computer Holly (who claims to have an IQ of 6000 but rarely seems to use it). Later on in their voyage crew is supplemented by a guilt-ridden mechanoid named Kryten.
The Pitch: The show began every week with a monologue which, much better than I ever could, tells you all you need to know. Here’s how Babylon 5 described itself in Season 2: “ The Babylon Project was our last, best hope for peace. A self-contained world five miles long, located in neutral territory. A place of commerce and diplomacy for a quarter of a million humans and aliens. A shining beacon in space . . . all alone in the night. It was the dawn of the Third Age of Mankind – the year the Great War came upon us all. This is the story of the last of the Babylon stations. The year is 2259. The name of the place is Babylon 5.
The Hyperion Cantos
The Pitch: Hyperion tells the story of the pilgrims as they travel, and as the story spans multiple books it goes beyond them. It works brilliantly because it’s character-driven, scratch that it’s more than character-driven, it’s emotion driven. Simmons puts his characters through hell and takes us with them through every step of suffering, sadness, and pain which gradually comes together to form a larger picture. Hyperion is a story with something to say about the human condition, and it does it in an epic, potentially visually stunning, package. It’s science fiction’s Lord of the Rings, and done right, it’ll win just as many Oscars.
The Pitch: The series follows the adventures being known only as “The Doctor”. He’s the last of the Time Lords, an alien who travels through time and space in a blue box called the TARDIS which, incidentally, looks exactly like a 1950s police box. Don’t worry, it’s bigger on the inside. Sometimes he travels alone, most often he travels with a human companion lifted from Earth to accompany him on his journeys through the universe righting wrongs and setting things right. The show’s format allows them to explore literally anything, it’s an incredibly broad palette for science fiction storytelling which is, perhaps, why Doctor Who has endured as long as it has.
Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog
The Pitch: Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog turns the standard superhero story on its head, and then sings a song about it. Neil Patrick Harris stars as a sympathetic and somewhat ineffective supervillain trying to win the heart of the perfect girl (Felicia Day) while an asshole superhero (Nathan Fillion) plays the bully and generally makes Dr. Horrible’s life miserable. Horrible’s adventures in nerdy dysfunction turn out to be heart-wrenching, toe-tapping fun.
Battlestar Galactica – The Right Version
The Pitch: The right version of Battlestar Galactica is about a small group of survivors fleeing the destruction of their home worlds by an army of robotic entities of their own creation. Their tiny, rag-tag fleet is led by the only surviving fighter carrier, an aging battlestar known as Galactica. While struggling to survive Moore’s character driven show also tackles issues of spirituality, morality, and friendship as different personalities are pushed to the limit of human endurance, trapped together in space and on the run.
The Pitch: It’s set in a future where mankind is at war with a race of alien insects. To defeat them, humanity has combed its ranks to find brilliant children who can be turned into the tactical geniuses needed to win the war. Among them is Ender Wiggin who, along with other genius kids, is shipped off to a remote, orbiting battle school where they’re taught the ways of war and eventually used as a weapon to save humanity and eliminate the threat. As generic as that sounds, it’s the way Card develops it that’s makes Ender so absolutely perfect. Imagine watching the creation of a latter day Napoleon set in outer space, and you’ll get some inkling of what you’re in for.
The Pitch: It’s the story of modern day astronaut John Crichton, flung through a wormhole into a distant galaxy. There, he’s stuck on a living ship with a group of escaped prisoners who though at first his enemies, become his allies, and eventually his friends. It’s the classic tale of a stranger in a strange land mixed with piracy and full of deeply rooted, character drama. It’s romantic too, full of realistic relationships against a fantastic backdrop.