We’ve been going gaga over Syfy’s renewed commitment to developing actual science fiction shows, including adaptations of John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War books and James S.A. Corey’s The Expanse series. The network is embracing not just science fiction, but space-based science fiction, something we haven’t seen much of since end of Stargate Universe and Battlestar Galactica. We’re hoping that movie might encourage other networks to take a chance on sci-fi, and now one major broadcast network is doing just that. But here’s the bad news: it’s Fox.
So, what is the almost-certain-to-be-canceled Fox science fiction series? The show hasn’t actually revealed a title yet, but Deadline reports that Len Wiseman (Sleepy Hollow, Underworld) and Scott Rosenbaum (Gang Related, The Shield) are developing the pilot for 20th Century Fox TV. The sci-fi series is being described as “the Dirty Dozen in deep space.” Here are the few details we know at this point:
…the untitled drama is set in a foreseeable future, where companies have begun to colonize sections of our known galaxy. A mercenary search and rescue team is dispatched to investigate a distress signal from a prison transport that has crashed on an uncharted planet. This unlikely group of heroes will now have to work together when they encounter a much greater challenge on this mysterious planet than they could have anticipated.
It’s definitely an interesting starting point, but it’s also a concept that could go just about anywhere, so it’s hard to know what to expect in the long run. Then again, this is Fox we’re talking about, so there’s a damn good chance the show won’t get a long run. Which is sad, because I’m always rooting for any new science fiction show to be good and to succeed. I’d love for Fox to prove me wrong and give it time to find an audience if it’s not a huge hit right out of the gate, but I’m not going to be holding my breath.
If you’re not familiar with The Dirty Dozen, the story involved a WWII officer recruiting a team of ex-soldier convicts for a suicide mission against a chateau filled with German officers. It’s since become shorthand for tons of stories involving a motley team of ne’er do wells rounded up for a mission with slim odds of survival, including Mass Effect 2 and DC’s upcoming Suicide Squad movie, just to name a couple.
The good news is that Fox has given the show a put pilot commitment, which means if they don’t air the pilot, they’ll owe the studio a hefty chunk of cash. This makes it somewhat more likely that the pilot will go to series, but that doesn’t mean it’ll survive past one season, and frankly I’m still pretty broken up about Almost Human so I don’t really want to think about it too much.