Like the lonely kid in the corner of the school cafeteria who's always trying to play Magic: The Gathering by himself, the Syfy channel is usually forgotten about and/or ignored—until every once in a while they do something to get attention, only to have everybody make fun of them for it. So then they creep back to their corner and try to pretend like they were in on the joke from the beginning.
But Syfy is sick of your jokes! Syfy is sick of being ignored! And to fix it, Syfy is going to
throw their fucking Magic cards right in your fucking face do something pretty cool, actually: Try to start making some decent sci-fi TV shows. And not failed, half-assed efforts like Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome, either: They're looking to adapt two solid, successful science-fiction book series. Both are smart and engaging reads, and both seem sell-suited to TV.
The first, announced a while ago and going straight to series, is based on James S.A. Corey's Expanse novels, a series that's four books (and counting) into a story that, at its best, blends likeable characters, interplanetary governmental brinksmanship, and pulpy action. (Some old-school horror and detective work is thrown in as well, the end result being a pretty great genre mash-up.) And yesterday, John Scalzi announced that his ever-expanding Old Man's War series—which starts with retirees on Earth getting their consciousnesses transferred into the bodies of young, wired, and virile super-soldiers, who're then sent of to die in humanity's many interstellar conflict zones—is being also being eyed for a possible Syfy series, with the pilot currently in its early stages.
Today, Scalzi followed up his announcement with some comments about Syfy—comments that echo what Expanse authors Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck (who share the James S.A. Corey pseudonym) said at their reading at Powell's Cedar Hills a month or two ago. From Scalzi:
Speaking as someone whose previous television show got cancelled in part because Syfy bumped it for wrestling, you don’t have to tell me that the channel has some fairly egregious sins in its past. However, the execs who yanked it in the direction of wrestling are gone, and the execs who are there now seem to have this crazy idea that a channel devoted to science fiction ought to have science fiction on it. This, I assume, is why it bought OMW and is taking James S.A. Corey’s Expanse books straight to series, and otherwise doing a lot of shopping for good science fiction to turn into shows. I kind of think we should encourage this shocking turn of events. Maybe that’s just me.
I got nothing for you about the Sharknado films. Hey, something like five million people watched Sharknado 2 when it debuted. Don’t blame Syfy for that. Blame society. Or at least recognize that some of Syfy’s sweet, sweet Sharknado money is being poured into the development of the OMW series. (Via.)
Put that way, it almost feels like Sharknado might be good for something after all.
(For those willing to dig deeper, here's my review of the most recent Old Man's War book, The Human Division; a few years ago, I also interviewed Scalzi when his book Fuzzy Nation came out. Your best bet, though, is to just to go pick up the paperbacks of the first books in the Old Man's War and Expanse series [Old Man's War and Leviathan Wakes, respectively]; they're both quick, fun reads that should give you a feel if you want to keep going. Plus, then you can act all superior when the TV shows finally come out, just like those dicks who never stop acting superior about Game of Thrones.)
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