With seemingly little disregard for a potential overload, Syfy has been busy the last couple of months attempting to rebuild their brand with a new outlook towards legitimate science-fiction programming. President Dave Howe has lined up project after project in the network’s deep development slate, and the latest addition to their list is one of the more exciting new comic series on the market. With a formal announcement pending, Syfy will try to turn the Oni Press mystery thriller Letter 44 into a full series, making this yet another space-based piece of fiction for the network. Maybe my thousands of angry letters to Syfy’s creative teams over the years finally got through.
To bring this tale of political sci-fi to audiences, the network has tapped genre filmmaker Jonathan Mostow to take the multi-hypenate job as writer-director-executive producer, the latter of which is a duty he’ll share with Closed on Monday‘s Eric Glitter and Peter Schwerin (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) and Rene Echevarria (Terra Nova). Mostow’s last few projects have been in our genre of course, as he directed 2003’s Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and 2009’s so-so graphic novel adaptation Surrogates. His last writing gig was the story for Mark Tonderai’s derivative thriller House at the End of the Street, and he directed at least one episode of Syfy’s upcoming adaptation of The Last Ship. Obviously he isn’t the most standout of filmmakers, but his source material is damn near flawless this time around.
First published last October, Letter 44 is written by Charles Soule and illustrated by Alberto Alburquerque. It takes place in a world where the newly sworn-in President Stephen Blades is given a letter written to him by the previous president that reveals a secret NASA mission has confirmed the existence of an alien construction project near an asteroid belt. While his troubles over this important discovery are grounded on Earth, the team of astronauts on the actual mission have it a bit worse as they figure out what to do about the gigantic piece of alien tech in their midst. The comic can be a little plodding and dialogue-heavy at times, but it’s ripe for TV drama, and it’s now my most anticipated project that Syfy has ordered.
I mean seriously, if 12 Monkeys can be a series, this one can earn a greenlight with no problem, right?
Syfy is also attempting to turn Frank Miller’s classic limited series Ronin into a modern day-set miniseries, featuring a reborn samurai chasing an ancient demon in New York City. Should they become legitimate series, Letter 44 and Ronin would join the in-development space opera miniseries Ascension, the space drama The Expanse, the mythological drama Olympus, the zombie thriller Z Nation, and Dominion, the angels vs. everything else drama serving as a sequel to the film Legion. Not to mention currently ongoing series such as Defiance, Helix and Lost Girl. Oh, it’ll finally be good to be a Syfy viewer again.
We’ll definitely have more on Letter 44 for you as it happens, even if the government tries to step in and keep us quiet.