Feb 14, 2011

Events on the Horizon

There are some interesting new Sci-Fi and mystery shows in production, so I thought I’d give a recap of what you can see, will see and might see on television if you’re a fan of the genre.
Bar KarmaPremiering this week (and being BAR-KARMArepeated often) on Current TV (yes, the one owned by Al Gore) is an interesting show called Bar Karma.  The show takes place in a mysterious bar located somewhere beyond the edge of time and space. The show has a sort of Twilight Zone vibe, but with some philosophy and quantum mechanics (and maybe a little Quantum Leap) thrown in.  There’s a lot of talk of timelines and branching events.

The bar is run by James, a mysterious old bartender, played by the always entertaining William Sanderson (Newhart, Deadwood), and Dayna, a exceedingly attractive young waitress, played by newcomer Cassie Howarth.  In thebarkarma1221x-large premiere, the deed to the bar was just won in a poker game by Doug, an Internet millionaire who doesn't know how he got to the bar. Doug is portrayed by Matthew Humphries (Big Love, Burn Notice).  James and Dayna make statements that indicate they are very old and have lived outside the normal timeline for quite some time. The purpose of the bar, they say, is to help people who are at a junction of branching points to make the right decision. 
Bar Karma is a quirky dramedy that looks like it will have interesting stories to tell. What makes it very interesting is that it is the first so-called “first community developed program” in that anyone can go to Current.com and contribute story ideas and elements that may be incorporated into the series. No writers are listed for the show, but dozens of screen names are listed under “Developed by”. Current members provide everything from the graffiti on the bathroom walls to the plots of the episodes.  Based on the first episode, this works out remarkably well. I’m interested to see how this develops. And if I don’t like it, apparently I have the ability to fix it. 

Bar Karma, Fridays, 10/9C on Current TV (DirecTV Channel 358)

Falling Skies
Coming in June to TNT is a show that looks like it might be very cool.  Noah Falling_SkiesWyle (ER) stars in Falling Skies.  The show starts six months into the aftermath of an alien invasion that has left the world we know in ruins. Wyle’s Tom Mason is a history professor who is one of the survivors trying to fight back.  Mason’s wife was killed in the invasion and one of his three sons has been captured.  He uses his knowledge of military history to guide a division of the resistance movement.
Falling Skies has a pretty good pedigree, having been conceived by Steven Spielberg, who also serves asfalling-skies_web_scene Executive Producer, and written by Robert Rodat, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter of "Saving Private Ryan".  Based upon this trailer, the production values appear to be outstanding. To help you get ready for the show, the producers have created a web comic that gives some of the back story.  This could be the best show of the summer, especially with SyFy having given up on intelligent fare like Caprica and Stargate Universe in favor of wrasslin’.

Falling Skies premieres in June, 2011 on TNT.

Terra Nova
terra-img4Also executive produced by Steven Spielberg is Fox’s upcoming series Terra Nova. This show starts off in 2149, when the environment has become intolerable. As a last ditch effort at saving humanity, we have begun colonizing, a common Sci-Fi meme. In this case, however, we are colonizing Earth. Earth 85 million years in the past, that is. The show focuses on the Shannon family, part of the tenth wave of colonists headed across a temporal divide to Terra Nova, a settlement in the far past, where it isterra-nova shannons hoped that armed with knowledge, the settlers can build a society with a better future. The showrunner is Brannon Braga, a producer with good science fiction credentials, including writing some of the best episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation.  The first commercial for Terra Nova is available here.  (Yes, that’s the bad guy from Avatar in a sci-fi show wrapped around an ecology theme.)  For its premiere, Fox is pulling out the strategy that proved successful for Glee; the pilot episode will premiere in May, then the show itself will be on the Fall schedule.  Outside of Lost and Fringe, Network TV has not had a strong record with science fiction lately (Heroes, V, FlashForward, No Ordinary Family, etc.), but this looks like a quality show with a strong pedigree and strong production values. I’ll be watching.

Terra Nova, premieres May 23 and 24, 2011 at 9/8c on Fox TV.

Poe
This is really early to be looking forward to a show, but ABC just announced it is John-Cusack-As-Edgar-Allan-Poegoing to film a pilot of Poe, which tells the fictional exploits of Edgar Allan Poe solving crimes in 1840’s Boston. While Poe is most often associated with64351-john_hawkes_1_large Baltimore, he was actually born in Boston and had many connections there. Considered the father of the detective genre, and the godfather of the science fiction genre, he is a character that could be well suited to a fictionalized drama.

The show has yet to be cast, but I am starting a campaign to get John Hawkes (Deadwood, Winter’s Bone) cast in the role, based on physical resemblance and acting ability.  Again, too early to have a lot of details on the show, but hopefully the pilot will be made and it will go on ABC’s schedule.  For now, it might be worth throwing a “Complete Works” on the Kindle so you can be sure to catch all of the references in the show.

Poe, TBD, on ABC.

More to Come.

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