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Syfy’s Bounty-Hunters-In-Space Series Killjoys Casts Its Three Leads

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Aaron AshmoreSyfy is getting back into producing original genre content in a big way coming up. We’ve been hearing story details, casting announcement and other news, and even getting our first glimpses of some footage from a few the nine new shows the network is developing. One of the new projects we haven’t heard too much about is their deep space mercenary drama Killjoys, but there has been some movement on that front, as they have now added a trio of actors to the cast.

TV Line reports that Killjoys has cast a face that will be familiar to Syfy viewers, adding Warehouse 13 alum Aaron Ashmore. They’ve also signed up Luke Macfarlane (Brothers & Sisters) and British actress Hannah John-Kaman (The Hour). Basically, the core cast is made up almost entirely of pretty young folks running around outer space.

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12 Monkeys’ Full Trailer Offers A Familiar But Different Look At A Plague-Riddled Future

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Syfy is making a big push to get back into the original content game, or at least the semi-original content game. Either way, it’s nice to see them actually turning out new genre shows. Much of what their producing and developing are based on preexisting properties, including The Expanse, based on James S.A. Corey’s Leviathan novels, the Robert Kirkman-produced adaptation of the comic book Clone, and their series interpretation of Terry Gilliam’s 1995 time travel drama 12 Monkeys. The network has now dropped a full trailer for the show, which will premiere early in 2015, and the results are a rather mixed bag.

Yesterday we talked about the various ways that producers promise that their series will differ from the source material, which in turn differs greatly from short film it is based on, La Jetee. In this two-minute preview, you get to see a lot of that—similar but different is a good way to think about it—and it is both good and bad.

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12 Monkeys Producers Promise Their Show Is More Than A Rehash Of Terry Gilliam’s Film

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12 monkeysAdapting a feature length movie into a continuing television series is a tricky proposition, and many of us are curious to see how Syfy is going to translate Terry Gilliam’s time travel drama 12 Monkeys to the small screen. If you to expect to see the same story, however, you shouldn’t, as producers promise that the show will be a completely different take on the story.

Talking to reporters yesterday at the Television Critics Association on the summer press tour, co-executive producer Terry Matalas called the series a “complete reimagining.” He went on to say, “We were all big fans of the original film and had a deep love and respect for the material. We didn’t want to just redo what the movie does.”

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Syfy Reveals Brief Glimpse At 12 Monkeys Series In New Trailer

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We’ve talked a lot about how Syfy seems to making a serious effort to turn itself around and become a serious player in the realm of scripted genre entertainment, as opposed to primarily a peddler of original B-movies and so-called “reality” programming that doesn’t pass the sniff test. As hopeful as we are about upcoming Syfy projects such as Ascension and The Expanse, there’s one that still has us very dubious: their series adaptation of Terry Gilliam’s time-travel classic 12 Monkeys. Now Syfy has revealed a very brief look at their version of 12 Monkeys, courtesy of the preview video above.

Syfy typically puts together this sort of “coming soon” montage for their upcoming lineups, and with Defiance and Dominion both having just kicked off their new seasons, the network dropped the above trailer to help hype both of those shows, as well as the upcoming returns of Helix and Haven, and their fall “event series” Ascension. You can see a few 12 Monkeys moments we’ve heard described before beginning around the 30-second mark.

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Ascension’s Crew Grows By Three For Syfy’s Space Opera Miniseries

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ascensionA barely noticeable eye twitch begins every time I speak positively about an upcoming Syfy project, and their upcoming miniseries Ascension is one of the most promising sci-fi shows of the year. (And no, I’m not winking when I say that. It’s the twitch.) In any case, a mankind-saving spaceship is only as good as its crew, and three more able bodies have signed up for the voyage. Brandon P. Bell (Hollywood Heights), Tiffany Lonsdale (The Golden Veil), and newcomer Jacqueline Byers join the previously announced Brian Van Holt (Cougar Town) and Battlestar Galactica‘s Tricia Helfer.

The six-episode Ascension will hopefully be a return to form for Syfy, as it will tell a story that is nearly larger than life itself. The titular vessel is a starship that was secretly launched into space in the early 1960s, just as America was getting into the Space Race. The mission is simple and difficult all at once: a 100-year journey into the complete unknown, with a goal of finding a new planet to populate and extend humanity’s footprint on the universe. But things rarely go as planned in sci-fi, and halfway through the mission, a young girl’s murder on board the Ascension throws everyone and everything into question.

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Syfy’s About-Face: Nine Shows That Might Help The Network Redeem Itself

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AscensionAscension
Earlier this year, Bill McGoldrick, Syfy’s executive vice president of original programming, made the bold claim that the network was headed in a new direction, and that they wanted top notch scripted programming that could compete with well-respected cable entities such as AMC and HBO. Ascension was one of the first projects announced that suggested Syfy might really be trying to reform after years of cheesy TV movies, paranormal “reality” shows, and inexplicable wrestling.

A six-hour space opera “event series,” Ascension imagines an alternate history where, in the heat of the 1960s space race, the U.S. launched the titular starship on a top secret mission of colonization. Fifty years later, the vessel is still en route to its distant destination, loaded with hundreds of men, women, and children hoping to make a new home on another world. But when a young woman is murdered, the inhabitants begin to wonder about the true nature of their mission.

The first trailer, which you can see below, is a moody and effective teaser, imagining how a small, contained society might have developed over five decades, with traces of 1960s culture mixed with more futuristic trappings (check out that flag!). Mysteries often make a good mix with science fiction (see: Leviathan Wakes), helping ground the fantastic elements with the uglier elements of human nature. Whether Ascension will blend those disparate parts into a satisfying treat remains to be seen, but hiring Battlestar Galactica‘s Tricia Helfer is a nice start. Ascension was created and written by Philip Levens, who previously wrote for Smallville and the 2008 Knight Rider reboot. Those credits suggest this could go either way, but we’re cautiously optimistic. – David

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