AMC Gets In On The Sci-Fi Act With Area 51

By Brent McKnight | Published

AMC already has zombies, unscrupulous 1960s advertising executives, a high school teacher turned meth kingpin, and rain-dampened Seattle cops (okay, less of that since The Killing just got the ax). Now it appears that the network (remember when they used to show classic movies?) will take a stab at science fiction, and is developing Area 51, based on the bestseller by Annie Jacobsen.

Ominous warning sign outside of Area 51

According to The Hollywood Reporter, The Walking Dead executive producer Gale Anne Hurd will serve the same function on Area 51, and Todd E. Kessler (The Good Wife, The Unit), will handle the scripting duties.

Jacobsen, who will also serve as a producer on the show, published her book this past May. The narrative surrounds the infamous military installation, which the government has never actually confirmed exists, and “explores the myths about the area and those who believe that region is home to aliens, underground tunnel systems, and nuclear facilities.” For the book, Jacobsen interviewed a variety of servicemen who worked at the base.

Area 51 is supposedly home to the alien remains from the supposed 1947 incident in Roswell, New Mexico, perhaps the most famous extraterrestrial encounter of all time. The action of the show will take place in the 1950s and 1960s, and will deal with the people who work at the facility, those people charged with protecting the populace from whatever secrets the installation contains.

The Walking Dead is going strong, and should continue in that vein for some time unless they screw it up, but both Breaking Bad and Mad Men are nearing their respective ends. With the demise of The Killing, AMC is about to be down three shows. The network has a ton of interesting shows in development, and it’s nice to see that they’re including some science fiction in that mix. They took a huge risk creating a show around undead cannibals, a leap of faith that has paid off hugely, and maybe this one will, too.