Rockne S. O’Bannon earned our eternal devotion by giving us Farscape, so we’ll pretty much follow him anywhere at this point. That being said, those journeys don’t always work out — sometimes they dead end in something like The CW’s troubled Cult or the frustrating Revolution. Nevertheless, I’m hugely stoked for his next TV project: an adaptation of Warren Ellis’ excellent Vertigo comic series Global Frequency. That enthusiasm is only dampened by the network involved: sigh, Fox.
Deadline reports that Warner Bros. TV and Jerry Bruckheimer are developing a Global Frequency pilot for Fox, with O’Bannon writing the script. If you’re not familiar with the comic, it’s one of those concepts that lends itself perfectly to the TV format. The story focuses on “a privately funded crime-fighting operation that uses worldwide crowd-sourcing to solve crimes the police cannot.” The group is headed by the enigmatic Miranda Zero and consists of 1,001 people around the world, each with unique skills and who can be activated via their phones. Sort of “crowdsourced crisis management,” if you will.
Like many of Ellis’ works, Global Frequency was a canny bit of extrapolation that imagined what the then-nascent nature of smart phones and social media might look like on the bleeding edge of the future. A Global Frequency TV series could blend the perfect mix of standalone stories and larger mythology as we dig into the mysterious organization at its core.
While I’m hoping Global Frequency will actually make it to air and, dare we hope, find success on Fox, this actually isn’t GF’s first time at bat. Screenwriter John Rogers developed a pilot for The WB back in 2005, with Battlestar Galactica’s Michelle Forbes as Miranda Zero. The pilot leaked online in June 2005 and generated lots of positive buzz, but The WB didn’t take it to series, and in fact Ellis suggested at the time that the network was so pissed about the leak that they killed the project out of spite. That’s sort of mind-boggling in this modern era where that sort of online attention for a new project would be considered an asset, not a hindrance. Hell, if Netflix had been a power player back then, it wouldn’t have surprised me to see them rescue the pilot. The CW also tried to get a version of Global Frequency up and running in 2009, but with no success.
Global Frequency is just the latest in DC’s full-court press on the small screen. Fox’s Gotham and The CW’s Flash are huge hits this season, while Constantine’s ultimate fate on NBC remains to be seen. iZombie, another Vertigo adaptation, is waiting in the wings mid-season on The CW, under the stewardship of Rob Thomas (Veronica Mars). There is also a Supergirl pilot in development at CBS and a Titans project at TNT. DC may be playing catch-up with Marvel when it comes to the movies, but they’re definitely not slacking in the TV world. Hopefully, for Global Frequency, the third time will prove to be the charm.