Science and science fiction have and will always have a place on TV, since there are now more channels than the human mind can possibly comprehend. Maybe it’s just blind optimism or skewed sense of time, but it seems like we’ve recently been writing about a plethora of decent-sounding genre shows getting picked up, so maybe we’re entering something of a renaissance. Or maybe they’ll all get cancelled in three weeks. The three most recent pick-ups include a second Mars-based CW drama called Colony and two NBC time travel dramas called Lighthouse and Timeless. I think that both networks doubling down on shows with similar subject matter reinforces the odds that failure is imminent for at least one or two of these.
First up, Colony is being developed from CBS TV Studios and Kennedy/Marshall Co., with a pilot written by Ian Goldberg, a producer and writer for such shows as Once Upon a Time and FlashForward. This series will be a mystery thriller involving a group of brave and selfless explorers aiming to colonize Mars, and the “terrifying reality they discover.” Colony is said to be directly inspired by the Lost Colony at Roanoke Island in North Carolina, the unexplained disappearance of an entire population. Croatan!
To me, this sounds more interesting than The CW’s Red, which is more of a neo-western that follows the inhabitants of a Mars colony that’s already been established. It doesn’t seem possible that both of these shows could air on the same network in the same season. But stranger things have happened.
Quantum Leap was full of strange things. That series’ former writer and executive producer, Deborah Pratt, developed Universal TV’s Timeless, recently picked up by NBC. It will follow a woman named Alexandra King who travels between present day and the future, soon finding herself in a love triangle with two men she loves who live in different time frames. As you can imagine, there are “secrets that could destroy them all.”
“Timeless is about provoking thought,” says Pratt, “and asking the proverbial question ‘What if?…The availability of visual effects and great human storytelling happening in TV opens the medium to a whole new set of dimensions.” Pratt left TV and film for a few years and wrote a couple of novels, but her return will be welcome, assuming Timeless is truly intriguing and not just a bunch of melodrama.
NBC is also setting up Lighthouse, which will be written and executive produced by Josh Friendman, who created Terminator: The Sarah Connon Chronicles, as well as co-writing screenplays for Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds and James Cameron’s upcoming Avatar 2.
There is less info about Lighthouse than the others, and it’s only described as “an ensemble drama set in a mysterious hotel for wayward time travelers.” Granted, that’s still a thought-provoking logline, and I’m interested in meeting the guests at this hotel.
Which of these three shows sounds the most interesting to you guys? Maybe after they air, some of you can go back in time and tell us in the comments which of them were actually worth it.