If you’d ask a random sampling of the population, “What’s your favorite sci-fi show on cable right now?” you’re bound to end up with more jaws slacked open in genuine thought than answers at the ready. American Horror Story has aliens in it, among other things, but is clearly more horror than sci-fi. Haven has enough weird shit going on, but lacks a “wow” factor. And Blood & Chrome didn’t make it to network. So it pretty much has to come down to The Walking Dead, despite it also having all 10 toes in the horror genre.
USA, a network best known for wisecracking dramadies with two central male characters and their spouses/friends, is getting back into the speculative fiction game with Horizon, an hour-long genre mashup being executive produced by The Walking Dead‘s Gale Anne Hurd, whose company, Valhalla Entertainment, is spearheading the project. The network has greenlit a cast-contingent pilot, so I’m guessing it’s bound to have someone from an early 1990s network comedy on it. Step by Step‘s Angela Watson, come on down!
In the press release, USA Network co-presidents Jeff Wachtel and Chris McCumber say, “Horizon is our first genre piece since The 4400 and the first ever period drama for the network. This signals the next step in the evolution of our programming brand.” I guess nobody told him USA hasn’t really evolved since Rhonda Shear started showing movies.
The plotline involves an FBI secretary who suspects her husband may have been killed in the South Pacific after battling with a spaceship. And it’s set during WWII. As sarcastic as I am about the state of USA’s creative force, this actually sounds like it could be solid television if it’s handled with any amount of subtlety and texture. The network has gotten comfortable with non-procedural-looking procedurals that very slowly parcel out data informing larger story arcs that rarely demand urgency. But this could be a game changer, especially with Hurd behind the scenes. Maybe they’d like to get Frank Darabont onboard for three episodes as well.