Syfy Channel developing three new scripted dramas

What is the future of scripted drama on Syfy Channel? Perhaps a return to outer space.

Stargate Universe is cancelled. Caprica is cancelled. Lost Girl and Merlin are acquisitions from other countries, and Sanctuary can’t run forever (it’s currently in its fourth season). So just what is the future of scripted drama on Syfy Channel?

The network announced its development slate of three new original dramas this week, including — wait for it — a much-needed return to outer space.

Robert Hewitt Wolfe, who worked on Star Trek: DS9 before shepharding Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda, is developing a currently untitled series from Universal Cable Productions, set on the Starship Defender.  “After decades of war, the newly formed Unity Democracy orders a volatile mix of humans and trans-humans to lead the Starship Defender on an expedition in search of lost worlds requiring law and order,” says Syfy.

The setting sounds a bit close to Andromeda — or maybe Firefly told from the point of view of the evil Alliance (“worlds requiring law and order” sounds like it could have a bit of colonialism / Manifest Destiny in it) — but I’m excited to see how Wolfe develops the series and gives it a unique stamp.

The network’s real bread and butter right now, however, are earth-bound shows set in the present day that follow the adventures of seemingly “ordinary” people — supposedly more relatable to a wider audience. (Just look at Warehouse 13‘s ratings.)

In Seeing Things (working title, from Fox Television Studios), “a cop becomes a ghost after his violent death and the only person who can help close his last case is a socially awkward man who realizes that the hallucinations he’s had all his life may not be a figment of his imagination.”  The series comes from writer and executive producer David Slack (Person of Interest, Lie to Me).

And in Ghost Projekt, based on a comic series, “a female KGB agent and male American weapons inspector form an unlikely partnership when a deadly force is unwittingly unleashed from a Siberian research facility.” Brett Matthews (Supernatural, and before that Joss Whedon’s assistant on Buffy, Angel and Firefly, according to IMDb) is writing and producing the show for CBS TV Studios.

There is no new Stargate series in the works yet, likely due more to franchise owner MGM’s own business strategy than to Syfy.

Being Human (Syfy) is back in January for its second season.

Syfy’s summer originals Warehouse 13, Alphas, and Haven have been doing well, and will each return in 2012.  Eureka also has one more year left in it (story). In the wintertime, Syfy has a remake of the U.K. monster show Being Human (premieres Monday, January 16, followed by Lost Girl). But what about the important fall and spring seasons, when basic cable has to go toe-to-toe with the best of the big networks?

The network knows that it’s taking a much bigger risk by programming its dramas in the fall season, especially on nights other than Friday.  That contributed to the demise of two-thirds of the scripted, dramatic hour category on Syfy this time last year.

A third Battlestar Galactica series, Blood and Chrome, is at the pilot stage but hasn’t been picked up to series yet.

While Syfy seems committed to keeping its original offerings relatively diverse, there’s no guarantee that the series currently on the development slate will make it to the pilot stage or to air.  Read the original release at Syfy’s news site, Blastr.

34 Responses

    November 10, 2011 at 6:40 am |

    Another shows that will run one, max. two seasons… Might as well bring the SGU back for final season.

  2. Jadc
    November 10, 2011 at 9:06 am |

    What’s the point, Really don’t get my hope’s up about any series anymore, they always get cancelled when they start to get good or what ever so….Real Let down to be honest.

  3. TV Junkie
    TV Junkie
    November 10, 2011 at 11:08 am |

    On a related note, Syfy is also developing a dozen-or-so new reality shows. Right? Probably.

  4. Kyle Nin
    Kyle Nin
    November 10, 2011 at 12:12 pm |

    I’d rather see a “Blood and Chrome” series than those three. And yes, the Robert H. Wolfe series does sound like “Andromeda” and maybe a bit like “Firefly”.

  5. jimv1983
    November 10, 2011 at 12:15 pm |

    All three of those shows sound lame. As soon as Eureka and Sanctuary(knowing SyFy I give it 1 more season) are done I’m gone.

  6. FormulaJRay
    November 10, 2011 at 3:19 pm |

    The Starship Defender series doesn’t even sound that interesting to me. Seeing Things sounds like it could have potential, but Syfy will probably botch it up somehow. The description of Ghost Projekt doesn’t really give much information about it. Syfy will probably botch that up too though.

    Looks like I probably still won’t be watching Syfy anytime soon.

  7. acey916
    November 10, 2011 at 5:35 pm |

    I just said the other day how I wanted a new Space Epic, so im kinda stoked. But I have to agree with previous comments, they need to bring back SGU for a final season instead of creating something new… But I will not complain I want a new Space show so bad!!!!! Ive seen them all. The best ones are: SG1, SGA, SGU, Star Trek Voyager, Babylon 5 (underrated) so yeah hopefully this new one will be Sub Par compared to these great shows!!!

  8. Sparky
    November 10, 2011 at 5:44 pm |

    Still no SCIENCE FICTION to watch on syfy? Ah well, don’t worry though, since I’m an international viewer I’m still irrelevant.

  9. subject714
    November 10, 2011 at 6:14 pm |

    Starship Defender sounds a little like Andromeda. We all know Andromeda was awe-to-the-some. This could be great.

  10. rambosmurf
    November 10, 2011 at 6:23 pm |

    How many ghost shows can they put on the channel? At least they’re not s****y “reality” shows.

  11. Kyle Nin
    Kyle Nin
    November 10, 2011 at 6:55 pm |

    What do you mean by STILL no science fiction on Syfy? What exactly do you call “Eureka”? Or “Sanctuary”?

  12. Jim
    November 10, 2011 at 8:54 pm |

    They’ve finished principal photography for BSG:Blood and Chrome 9 months ago!!! What to do with it,what not to do..mah,that needs no further comment.They cannot even agree on bringing back THE best and one of the two most popular sci-fi franchises ever on this rotten channel.Simply unbeliavable.

  13. Sparky
    November 10, 2011 at 9:32 pm |

    @Kyle Nin, Here in England, new Eureka episodes are first broadcast on Sky 1. New Sanctuary episodes are first broadcast on Watch. After that all syfy does is repeat them endlessly. So I guess you are correct, they do have science fiction, but I’ve already seen them. (Alphas is currently having it’s first broadcast over here on 5*)

  14. rylett
    November 10, 2011 at 10:02 pm |

    who cares?

  15. 3531767
    November 11, 2011 at 1:08 am |

    Yea who cares ,im done with syfail. I have not watched anything on that network since they axed all the stargates.

  16. meezergater
    November 11, 2011 at 5:12 am |

    we have to watch Syfy europe here and the only interesting things running on there are sanctuary and primeval. since the demise of stargate, galactica and since star trek series is long gone, nothing that can stand in their footsteps has returned for it on the screen. I am about to scream with the overkill of mostly pretty boring ghost and vampire series and constant re-runs of cheap B movies on that channel. i agree, where has the REAL scyfy gone to? i mean even Andromeda in its days was better then what they are airing now.

  17. Jadc
    November 11, 2011 at 5:18 am |

    Starship Defender …. Lol sound’s like a arcade game {o_o} Oh well worth a watch I suppose :)

  18. hewittor
    November 11, 2011 at 11:36 am |

    I’m hoping,praying for a new SciFi base network to arrise. Enough of the scripted-fake reality crap. I’m excited that they are willing to try more shows, but damn nothing was wrong with the ones that were cancelled. Oh yeah I forgot, they didn’t get the monster ratings that the network-non cable shows get. SyFy quit killing your network and give us what we want.

  19. Forrl001
    November 11, 2011 at 3:00 pm |

    like the previous guy said if you think your syfy is crap you seriously need to see the uks version of it i gave up on syfy 3 years ago lol

  20. Sylvia
    November 11, 2011 at 4:59 pm |

    I’m not really interested in anything Syfy has to offer unless they get Joe Flanigan and David Hewlett back together for a project. Although I’d cheer on anything space-based, just on priciple.

  21. acey916
    November 12, 2011 at 5:21 am |

    I just read a few articles about Starship Defender…. and it might not be too bad. I wouldnt get anyones hopes up, but it sounds like the same people who helped with Andromeda, and Andromeda had its strong points, as far as Syfail goes, the ghost shows are getting old, imo. BUT I am hoping this Starship Defender isnt half bad.

  22. DanMan
    November 12, 2011 at 12:02 pm |

    Starship Defender (to give it a temporary name) may emerge as a fine show, but for some reason I have a mental image of The Protector, the ship in Galaxy Quest. Producers of starship shows have to make that important decision:- do we beam the cast around, or not?

  23. Kalysta
    November 12, 2011 at 4:33 pm |

    They wouldn’t need to be making a “Starship Defender” series if they had continued running SGU. Reading about the crap Syfy keeps pulling (and tries to pass off as “quality sci-fi programming) makes me glad that I’ve cancelled my cable TV.

  24. Jim
    November 12, 2011 at 5:59 pm |

    This kind of announcements are just a give away of how desperate they are over at SyFy,because by now it’s become obvious even to them that they’re rapidly losing viewers and are done.The thing is people are not naive anymore to buy into their empty promises of “new projects” in development.We all know it ain’t gonna happen,cuz why cancel old ones then;SGA,SGU,Eureka,hell even Caprica with it’s numbers still could’ve survived,it wasn’t an expensive show to make?Where’s Blood and Chrome?
    SyFy,you’re full of it.
    And at this point even if that was true,I dont want SyFy to make anymore sci-fi shows cuz they’re just gonna ruin it to the ground within a season,or two.Let the grown ups who know their jobs on other channels do it.And I agree with whoever said it,it be nice to have a new sci-fi oriented channel.Especially in light of the fact that such channel does not exist at the moment.

  25. skittles
    November 13, 2011 at 1:19 pm |

    SyFy ceased to be relevant to the science fiction community years ago. Those in charge have no freakin’ clue what they’re doing anymore.

  26. upperdeckhr
    November 13, 2011 at 3:39 pm |

    I remember back in the day when I’d switch cable providers, the first thing I’d ask is if SyFy was included in whatever package I was getting. Today, I couldn’t tell you what channel its on.

  27. janet99
    November 14, 2011 at 8:04 am |

    I just want them to return to making Sci-Fi shows where the science stacks up, no “magical powers” or vampires with irrational abilities. You know, just a tiny hint of intelligence amongst the programming.

    To be honest though, it may already be too late, back in the day, the Sci Fi channel was easily my most viewed channel, I watched pretty much whatever it had on. Now my viewing of SyFy since the last episode of SG Universe must be about 20 minutes, spread over dozens of 2 minutes slots where I switch onto channel, am appalled by the current and next airing shows, then switch to another channel in disappointment.

    Really hope someone can come in and rescue this once great channel.

  28. carmencatalina
    November 14, 2011 at 5:56 pm |

    I think I’m pretty much done with Syfy. Which is sad, it was once my most watched channel.

  29. tb1342
    November 15, 2011 at 10:52 am |

    SYFY channel is not relevant anymore..filled with B movies and reality TV..have not watched the channel since the last episode of SGU..IF I could get a discount on my Satellite for dropping SYFY, I would…

  30. saxgod
    November 15, 2011 at 2:13 pm |

    Why don’t we all just admit that Stargate as we know it is DEAD. Guys they are talking about finishing the movies from the original and doing and second and third movie because Emmerich had that as a triology. Spyglass is done with Stargate. We have to accept this so we aren’t hurt later you know.

  31. Jim
    November 18, 2011 at 5:41 am |

    I think people have already accepted that Stargate is dead.The mourning for Stargate has turned into mourning for any sci-fi content.Hell,even though I’m a huge Stargate fan,I’ll be the first to admitt that Stargate wasn’t the best sci-fi show ever,not even my favorite,but it’s up there amongst my favorites.I am aware that many hard core sci-fi fans completely dismiss it as campy.I think it has a lot to do with prejudice and preconceptions.But whatever,right now we’re at the point where all of us sci-fi geeks simply crave any content that’d be more than D-movies on SyFy that despite what Mr.Hewlett says in his interview are simply too bad to even be considered and viewed as trash films.

  32. asymetrix
    November 19, 2011 at 2:02 am |

    maybe a new dark, serious DR Who show ?

    Dr Who can be a scary show – in space.

    I would even like Blakes 7 and Buck Rogers remade !

  33. Cube
    November 28, 2011 at 6:23 am |

    people still watch scifi channel? I have not watched anything on it in months except the stargate reruns they play at like 1AM… and I cant even find Sanctuary on that channel anymore.

  34. Cube
    November 28, 2011 at 6:32 am |

    Oh and i have pretty much accepted any Sci-fi TV show series to be dead already out of, nobody makes or watches them anymore I Guess I don’t even bother with it anymore except when I am bored at work.

    and if they do try and make these shows they are insane since they will be killed off after 1 season or less. the only one left is doctor who.

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