Friday, January 6, 2006

2006 Predictions: Part III (Eureka / Dresden Files)


"...federal marshal Jack Carter (Colin Ferguson) wrecks his car in the town of Eureka while transporting a teenage fugitive. Stranded, Carter quickly discovers that Eureka is not all it appears when a child vanishes in the catastrophic aftermath of an accident caused by a creation of one of the town's eccentric residents. Instinctively, he inserts himself into the investigation, working alongside the town's sheriff (Maury Chaykin) and an agent from the Department of Defense (Richardson-Whitfield). As the case unfolds, Carter is let in on one of the country's best-kept government secrets: Eureka is a haven created for the world's greatest minds to live, work and create. But, unknown to most, mystery, conspiracy and long-simmering secrets lurk just beneath the surface of this seemingly idyllic town." (The description given by the SciFi Channel on 9/28/05.)

SCI FI Channel has given a green light for the production of 13 episodes for a summer 2006 premiere. This series will be executive-produced by Andrew Cosby (Haunted) and co-executive-produced by Jamie Paglia.

I don’t know what to think about this one. When I first heard this I pictured a half campy SF show like Invisible Man (which I really enjoyed) or the even more campy Tremors: The Series (which I didn’t like so much). But as more info comes out, the more unsure I am about what kind of series this will be. For SCI FI Channel to give it a green for 13 episodes means someone thinks it has potential. SCI FI has become notoriously gun shy on new series. I wish they had been that way when someone green lighted Black Scorpion…yikes. Hopefully, this will usher in the return of more SF series on SCI FI Channel. Believe it or not, in Fall 2005 ABC was airing more new SF drama series than SCI FI (Lost, Alias, Night Stalker, and Invasion). SCI FI just has Scifi Friday, but perhaps I should count Tripping the Rift…maybe. Either way it is far from the high point, which was 2000-2001 I believe, when SCI FI was airing Black Scorpion, The Chronicle, Farscape, First Wave, Good vs. Evil, The Invisible Man, Lexx, and The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne. Not that all of those series were great, mind you, but it is nice to have choices. By the way, my favorites were The Chronicle (canceled far too quickly and seemed to reach a wider audience than the typical SCI FI Channel series), Farscape (classic, need I say more?), and The Invisible Man (season two’s writing was weaker, but the series had a great cast and a uniquely fun feel to it).

But we are now seeing advertisements for Eureka. It isn’t enough to get a real good gauge on it, but it is peaking my interest. This is an obvious 100% chance of being aired. The real question now is if it is good enough for a second season.

Dresden Files

This two-hour back-door pilot is scheduled to air summer 2006 on SCI FI Channel.

"Based on the best-selling 'Dresden Files' novels by Jim Butcher, this 2-hour backdoor pilot film will be executive produced by Academy Award(R) winner Nicolas Cage and Norm Golightly of Saturn Films. Erik Dresden is a detective with extraordinary powers, the kind that could belong only to the descendant of a long line of wizards. Where others see the typical crimes of assault, kidnapping and serial killings, Erik sees otherworldly forces at work -- which only he knows how to combat. Whether consulting for the police on inexplicable crimes or following his own cases, Erik has a unique outlook on the world, and wields a wry sense of humor as one of his most potent weapons. The project is produced by Lions Gate Television and Cage's Saturn Films (The Life of David Gale, Shadow of the Vampire), with Morgan Gendel (Law & Order, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: The Next Generation) writing; Gendel and Anthony Peckham (Don't Say a Word, 5 Days to Midnight) are executive producers." (The description given by the SciFi Channel.)

Another book series adapted for television. In the past these haven’t fared well (at least in the eyes of the PTB), like Scifi Channel’s Anonymous Rex or Riverworld. But I feel good about this one (70%-80% chance of series pick-up). I can easily see this making it. In many adaptations for novels the author isn’t pleased, but at least it appears that the Dresden Files is the exception.

"I saw the clips [of the movie] and thought my jaw was going to fall off my skull," Butcher said. "I'm very pleased with how well [screenwriters] Robert [Hewitt Wolfe] and Hans [Beimler] get the whole wizard detective concept, and I liked the movie script very much."

Butcher added, "I am in regular contact with Robert Wolfe, the show's producer, who has been great about letting me suggest things here and there and about asking for my thoughts on things."

Paul Blackthorne (24) has been cast as Harry Dresden and Valerie Cruz (Nip/Tuck) “…will play a hard-nosed Chicago police detective who handles violent crimes and works side by side with Dresden."

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