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Old 07-01-09, 01:33 PM   #1
DJariya
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Tim Minear developing Alien Nation Series Update for SyFy

http://www.variety.com/article/VR111...goryid=14&cs=1

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Sci Fi is developing a new take on "Alien Nation," the 1988 feature that previously spawned a spinoff series on Fox.
"Angel" alum Tim Minear -- no stranger to sci-fi tales, having worked on "The X-Files," "Firefly" and "Strange World" -- is penning the fresh take on the franchise. Fox 21, the alternative production arm of 20th Century Fox TV, will produce.

"Alien Nation" centers on the partnership between a veteran cop and his alien detective partner, set against the larger tale of alien "newcomers" who move to Earth and attempt to assimilate into society.

Fox 21 topper Chris Carlisle said he believed "Alien Nation" could rep the next franchise revival for Sci Fi, which found huge success in dusting off "Battlestar Galactica" and reworking it for today's auds. Carlisle said "Alien Nation" works both as a sci-fi piece and a procedural drama.

"It's absolute perfect timing for this type of show," Carlisle said. "They're looking for more grounded sci-fi and close-ended episodes, and at the heart of 'Alien Nation,' it's a cop movie. It's grounded. And it has a tremendous amount of dramatic possibilities and humor."

Sci Fi is also looking to broaden its footprint, as it preps to rebrand itself as "Syfy" next week.

"It's very much in keeping with what we've been looking to do -- find themes that are more than just hard sci-fi, something that feels contemporary and relevant and invites a broad audience in," said Sci Fi original programming exec VP Mark Stern.

The new "Alien Nation" would include a mythology that evolves over time and will also touch on some of the issues of the day, such as the immigrant experience and how society integrates an incoming culture.

Minear said he's looking forward to incorporating a mix of all the different kinds of series he's written in the past.

"It's genre mixed with procedural mixed with funny and mixed with big, giant scary," Minear said. "I love serialized stuff, but this is also a cop franchise. That 'Starsky and Hutch'/'Lethal Weapon' buddy cop comedy is absent from TV right now."

Minear is currently busy outlining the "Alien Nation" script and mapping out the project's mythology. The new "Alien Nation" will likely take place in the Pacific Northwest, and will take place about 20 years after the first ship of aliens - who have been banished as slaves - crash lands into Earth.

By the time the show begins, some time in the 2020s, the alien population has multiplied from a few thousand to 3.5 million. And much of the "newcomers" live their own segregated existence, in what Minear compares to the North African ghettos in France.

"You can take (the original 'Alien Nation') a step forward and really do a show that encompasses the clash of civilizations, and the idea of a ghettoized minority," he said. "You can touch on racism, terrorism, assimilation, immigration. And there's room for satire."

The original film, which took place in 1991, was helmed by Graham Baker and written by Rockne S. O'Bannon (with an uncredited revise by James Cameron). Mandy Patinkin and James Caan starred as alien cop Sam Francisco and his reluctant human partner, respectively; Terence Stamp also starred.

In 1989, 20th Century Fox TV and Kenneth Johnson Prods. adapted the movie for Fox, with Eric Pierpoint and Gary Graham in the lead roles. The show lasted just a single season but spawned a series of books.

The TV show was revived in 1994 as a series of telepics for Fox, starting with "Alien Nation: Dark Horizon." Five TV movies were ultimately aired; the last, "Alien Nation: The Udara Legacy," ran in 1997.

Stern said Sci Fi had been looking at "Alien Nation" as a potential franchise for several years and had talked to several writers about ways to update the concept for modern auds.

"The challenge is how do you do it in a way that will reinvent it without it feeling like a derivative rehash," he said. "We sat down with Tim, who is someone we'd been looking to work with for quite a while, and his approach felt like it wouldn't be a traditional adaptation. We got excited."

Minear said he'd been anxious to develop for cable - and in particular, Sci Fi. The success of "Battlestar" fueled his interest in reviving "Alien Nation," he said.

"Twenty years (after 'Alien Nation'), TV as a whole has evolved, and you can explore issues and go deeper with subject matter than you ever could before," Minear said. "On cable, you can play with ambiguity. This is a place I want to be."
I like Minear's work and I'm glad he's getting another shot at developing a show. At least this is cable and he will at least get One 13 episode season. I never watched the old FOX Alien Nation TV series nor the 1988 movie. Were they any good. It does sound like an interesting premise.
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Old 07-01-09, 02:06 PM   #2
gmanca
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Re: Tim Minear developing Alien Nation Series Update for SyFy

I thought the movie was pretty good, barely watched the show, and felt the TV movies had a steady rate of decline in quality. A future look at it would be pretty cool as opposed to a rehash of the original idea.
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Old 07-03-09, 08:03 AM   #3
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Re: Tim Minear developing Alien Nation Series Update for SyFy

Hated the movie, LOVED the TV show (one of the best sci-fi series EVER, in my opinion).

Sheesh...poor Kenny Johnson must be going crazy - seems like everyone is ripping off his old TV series these days: Bionic Woman, V, and now Alien Nation. What's next, a new version of Shadow Chasers?!
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Old 07-03-09, 03:13 PM   #4
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Re: Tim Minear developing Alien Nation Series Update for SyFy

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Sheesh...poor Kenny Johnson must be going crazy - seems like everyone is ripping off his old TV series these days: Bionic Woman, V, and now Alien Nation. What's next, a new version of Shadow Chasers?!
I imagine he's being quite well-paid for the updated versions of his old shows (except maybe Alien Nation, since that was based on a pre-existing movie).
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Old 07-05-09, 01:29 PM   #5
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Re: Tim Minear developing Alien Nation Series Update for SyFy

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I imagine he's being quite well-paid for the updated versions of his old shows (except maybe Alien Nation, since that was based on a pre-existing movie).
He's not paid a dime. The studio(s) in question maintain rights to all of the above - they can do pretty much what they want, as long as they don't use any characters that Kenny created.
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Old 07-06-09, 05:49 PM   #6
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Re: Tim Minear developing Alien Nation Series Update for SyFy

I think I would have liked the news more if they said they are reviving Firefly but that cast has all but pretty much moved on.
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Old 07-07-09, 12:18 AM   #7
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Re: Tim Minear developing Alien Nation Series Update for SyFy

I liked the tv show and movie. I hope the update happens.
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Old 07-07-09, 01:04 AM   #8
Nick Martin
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Re: Tim Minear developing Alien Nation Series Update for SyFy

Loved the series and follow-up movies, while the movie is meaningless compared to it. This will be interesting, but odd to see another Sikes and Francisco since I doubt very much that Gary Graham and Eric Pierpoint would be involved at all.
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Old 07-07-09, 02:17 AM   #9
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Re: Tim Minear developing Alien Nation Series Update for SyFy

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Originally Posted by Shannon Nutt View Post
He's not paid a dime. The studio(s) in question maintain rights to all of the above - they can do pretty much what they want, as long as they don't use any characters that Kenny created.
That sucks. I thought producers kept a piece of their properties. Is that the way it works now and it's just that the shows we're talking about are too old, or am I completely wrong about this? In ten years (or whenever), could Universal do a new version of Heroes without paying Kring anything? Could Disney do a new version of Lost without cutting a check to Abrams and Lindelof?
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Old 07-07-09, 02:41 PM   #10
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Re: Tim Minear developing Alien Nation Series Update for SyFy

I'm very excited about this. I've never seen Alien Nation before but have heard of it. I recently started watching Minear's other show, The Inside, and am absolutely loving it. I can't wait to see how he is able to update this show.
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Old 07-07-09, 06:02 PM   #11
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Re: Tim Minear developing Alien Nation Series Update for SyFy

Johnson didn't create Alien Nation; he did what Whedon did later in that he took the movie and developed a tv show for it.

I don't really get the hate for the movie; it was an original and unique take on a oft-used idea. It's not the greatest thing in the world, but I appreciate the creativity.
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Old 07-07-09, 06:24 PM   #12
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Re: Tim Minear developing Alien Nation Series Update for SyFy

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Johnson didn't create Alien Nation; he did what Whedon did later in that he took the movie and developed a tv show for it.
Right, but he did create V and the Bionic Woman (although maybe the Bionic Woman was considered a spin-off of the Six Million Dollar Man and he got no creator credit for that either).

Hmmm ... maybe we ought to take up a collection for poor Mr. Johnson.
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Old 07-07-09, 06:34 PM   #13
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Re: Tim Minear developing Alien Nation Series Update for SyFy

KJ is definitely not getting a cut of V. He's been trying to develop a sequel to the original miniseries (he already wrote a book for it).
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