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Astronaut Chris Hadfield’s Memoir Is Being Turned Into An ABC Comedy Pilot

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astronaut's guideWith America’s newfound attention to conquering space still in its relative infancy, it’ll be a few more years before a new class of astronauts implants their names and achievements in our minds. (Not that I’m trying to downplay the hardworking astronauts of today, but society at large is slow on the upkeep.) But one space-goer, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, made quite a name for himself last year by turning the International Space Station into a social media hub. His life and times are about to meet a much larger audience as his memoir An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth has been given a pilot commitment by ABC. The Astronaut Broadcasting Company?

The 2013 memoir, with a full title of An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything, was at the center of a heated bidding war between networks, with ABC coming out on top. They’ve only given the project a pilot order, with no guarantee for the future, but I guess if anyone knows what questionable futures are like, astronauts do.

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ABC’s Alien Drama The Visitors Beams Up Milo Ventimiglia And Barry Sloane

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visitorsHere’s a novel idea. A show about aliens threatening the Earth’s population. But it needs a really catchy title…something that’s never been used before. I’ve got it: The Visitors! And let’s put somebody behind it who’s never worked on an alien project before, like maybe Steven Spielberg. All of this unfunny sarcasm adds up to ABC’s upcoming drama from Amblin Entertainment, with Spielberg as executive producer. Announced a couple of weeks ago, the show has attracted a few cast members, including Heroes alum Milo Ventimiglia and Revenge star Barry Sloane, both of whom join the sci-fi friendly actor Derek Webster (Stargate). At least they didn’t just import the entire cast of the 2009 reboot of V, though that in and of itself is kind of an original idea.

The Visitors is ostensibly about aliens who want to destroy the planet, using children as their weapon, but that kind of plot probably can’t hold steam from week to week. Ventimiglia will play a man named Drew Brannigan, only he doesn’t realize that’s his name. He wakes up on the streets of Washington D.C. without his memory. He finds a series of tattoos on his body that lead him to his name, but that’s it. It turns out he has a wife named Claire, and he must fight to “regain his memory or cross over to the enemy’s side.” I’m not sure exactly who the enemy is here, unless they’re talking about the aliens, who are almost certainly behind his memory loss. Sloane plays a D.O.D. investigator who stumbles upon some huge discovery. There’s no word on whom Webster will be playing.

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The Astronaut Wives Club Gets Full Series Order From ABC

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astronaut wives clubYou know the easiest way to measure just how big the current space race resurgence has become? I mean, sure, you can actually pay attention to the news and all that, but it’s quicker to note all of the TV series being developed that aren’t just about outer space, but about the astronauts that make it up there. The latest show to focus (at least partly) on NASA’s elite is ABC Studios’ The Astronaut Wives Club. ABC has given the show a 10-episode order straight to series order, skipping all that pesky pilot business. It’s a tactic usually used for shows that have a strong hook and the potential to draw big ratings. Is that what we have here?

The show is based on Lily Koppel’s The Astronaut Wives Club: A True Story, published in June of last year. It chronicles the troublesome time the wives of the Mercury Seven astronauts as their lives went from quiet and respectable to front page news. Annie Glenn and Trudy Cooper, along with their compatriots, formed the titular club and met on a regular basis to provide support and friendship to each other. (They probably had a couple hundred Mercur-itas over the years as well.) Fifty years later, these women have survived through tragedy and heartache, and still remain friends.

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ABC Adapting Clone Novel Beta, While BBC America Orders Secret Society Thriller Intruders

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betaI’m really loving how barely a week can go by these days without needing to report on yet another sci-fi property getting picked up as either a TV pilot or a full-fledged series. Granted, much like films, there’s some crap-wading for networks to go through in order to get some enjoyable final products out there, but it’s always better to have too much to choose from than too little. For this latest round-up, we’re focusing on ABC, which is heading an adaptation of the YA clone-centered book series Beta, while BBC America is bringing a twist on the body-snatcher story with the thriller Intruders. Maybe it’s the lack of the name “Syfy” being used here, but I’ve got good feelings about both of these projects.

Beta, published in 2012, is the first of a four-novel series from Disney-Hyperion — so that’s why ABC is doing it — written by author Rachel Cohn, who also wrote the novel Nick & Nora’s Infinite Playlist. The mystery-laden story takes place in the near future where wealthy people are using clones as their work force. But one new “Beta” model manages to discover her super-secret origin story, as well as the mysterious background behind the Utopian island she is settled on, and its enslaving inhabitants.

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Roland Emmerich’s New ABC Pilot Will Involve A Hero Astrophysicist And A Nazi

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Back in January, ABC announced that it had ordered a pilot from Roland Emmerich, creator of science fiction and disaster properties including Stargate, Independence Day, and The Day After Tomorrow. The untitled drama set in New York City during the 2012 presidential election sounded vaguely science fiction-esque, following a young astrophysicist who “learns his destiny lies not in science but somewhere between heaven and hell.” The project is still untitled, but we now have a little more information about some of the characters and the actors signed on to bring them to life.

First up, the central character of the young astrophysicist chosen to battle the forces of evil is named Carter and will be played by Max Thierot. Theirot was previously seen in Jumper and My Soul to Take, and will also star in House at the End of the Street later this year. The really exciting casting news comes in the form of the supporting character Mr. Armin, “a blind former World War II German soldier who is the executor of Carter’s father’s will and Carter’s only true friend.” Mr. Armin will be played by Martin Landau, highly talented and well-respected actor of film and television. Landau has appeared in everything from small screen gems like Space 1999, The Twilight Zone, and The Outer Limits to films like The Fall of the House of Usher, Ed Wood, and Crimes and Misdemeanors.

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Seth Green, Roberto Orci, John Favreau And Michael Dougherty Combine Geek Powers For New TV Series

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Any of the following people working on a project would pique TV lovers’ interest. Jon Favreau, Seth Green, Roberto Orci, and Michael Dougherty have teamed up to put together a new series. The concept and team is strong enough that ABC has already given them a pilot commitment for Ex-Comm, a sci-fi series that’ll be sprinkled with humor.

This is an incredibly talented coming together of sci-fi minds, along with extreme hilarious geek cred. Seth Green has gone from being one of the best young character actors in Hollywood to building a mini-empire with Robot Chicken. Roberto Orci works with his writing partner Alex Kurtzman in making some of the greatest modern sci-fi stories: Fringe, Star Trek, Lost. Favreau is most known for directing Iron Man, but is also behind the greatest Christmas movie of our time in Elf. Dougherty worked with Brian Singer on X2 and Superman Returns.