I’m really loving how barely a week can go by these days without needing to report on yet another sci-fi property getting picked up as either a TV pilot or a full-fledged series. Granted, much like films, there’s some crap-wading for networks to go through in order to get some enjoyable final products out there, but it’s always better to have too much to choose from than too little. For this latest round-up, we’re focusing on ABC, which is heading an adaptation of the YA clone-centered book series Beta, while BBC America is bringing a twist on the body-snatcher story with the thriller Intruders. Maybe it’s the lack of the name “Syfy” being used here, but I’ve got good feelings about both of these projects.
Beta, published in 2012, is the first of a four-novel series from Disney-Hyperion — so that’s why ABC is doing it — written by author Rachel Cohn, who also wrote the novel Nick & Nora’s Infinite Playlist. The mystery-laden story takes place in the near future where wealthy people are using clones as their work force. But one new “Beta” model manages to discover her super-secret origin story, as well as the mysterious background behind the Utopian island she is settled on, and its enslaving inhabitants.
Putting this project together will be Chris Weitz, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter behind About a Boy and The Golden Compass, and Marty Bowen, one of the mega-producers behind the Twilight franchise, as well as the upcoming YA adaptations of The Maze Runner and The Fault in Our Stars. The pilot’s screenwriter is Linsday Devlin, the Devil’s Due writer who is also tapped for the upcoming Reboot reboot. I think it’s safe to say ABC is putting quite a bit of elbow grease into this one, though Deadline was not specific on how big a commitment the series has just yet.
BBC America, meanwhile, is continuing to carve out a handhold for themselves in the original series department with Intruders, which was written by former X-Files and Space: Above and Beyond writer Glen Morgan, whose feature work consists of writing and directing Willard and Black Christmas. This guy just bleeds genre talent.
The Intruders, based on a 2007 novel by celebrated British sci-fi and fantasy author Michael Marshall, is centered on a secret society that devote themselves to a goal of immortality by transferring themselves into the bodies of other living people. An excellent premise for short-form drama, I say.
BBC America has ordered a full series of The Intruders, which will probably be from 6-10 episodes, and it will begin production in the spring next year. That’ll be right around the time the excellent clone drama Orphan Black returns for its second season. Though sadly, we won’t be seeing anymore of the network’s first original series Copper, which was recently cancelled after its own second season.
Which of these projects are you guys more interested in? Let us know in the poll below.