Geek icon Ronald D. Moore’s recent comments on the state of science fiction have polarized genre fans. Moore called a majority of modern sci-fi too “popcorn,” while movies and TV shows are too obsessed with entertainment rather than exploring more adult themes and ideas. Whether or not he’s correct, there are a ton of new sci-fi shows and movies are in the works, and it’s up to critics and audiences to find value in them. With that said, cable network FX is working on an episodic adaptation of John Scalzi’s 2012 novel Redshirts.
According to Deadline, the FX is working with feature film producer Jon Shestack, director Ken Kwapis, and his producing partner Alexandra Beattie to develop a limited series based on the Hugo Award-winning novel. The team is currently looking for writers to adapt the book. Kwapis is in place to direct the series’ first episode, and Shestack and Beattie will serve as executive producers.
If you’re not familiar with Redshirts, the story is set in the 25th Century and follows the “adventures of five new recruits on the Starship Intrepid.” The new additions soon realize that the other crewmembers are dying at an alarming rate. When they start to investigate the occurrence, they discover that a science fiction TV show, produced during the 21st Century, has managed to “disrupt and twist” their reality. It seems that a show’s writers and producers are manipulating the Intrepid’s crew without their control or consent.
This sounds like a mix between the film Stranger Than Fiction and Galaxy Quest.
Considering the cable networks past offerings, such as It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, The League, and Archer, it also sounds like Redshirts has the potential to be something really funny and broad. “Redshirts is a madcap, hyper-meta tale,” producer Shestack said. Kwapis added, “If Jorge Luis Borges had been a staff writer on the original Star Trek, he would no doubt have concocted a story like Redshirts.”
Kwapis and Beattie recently produced the comedy series Happyish for Showtime, which is now on hold due to star Philip Seymour Hoffman’s unexpected death. Kwapis and Beattie also produced the short-lived Outsourced for NBC in 2010, under their In Cahoots Production banner. Shestack produced the films Air Force One, Dan in Real Life, and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.
Scalzi is the former president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. He is best known for his Old Man’s War series. He won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and Hugo Award for Best Novel. He was also a Prometheus Award nominee in 2007. Scalzi also served as a creative consultant for Stargate Universe.
It’s unclear when Redshirts will premiere on FX, but it’s expected sometime later in 2014 or early 2015. In the meantime, read Josh’s review of the book.