All that was old is new again in the era of digital streaming. Just as basic cable created a new space for science fiction series two decades ago, so today are digital streaming services greenlighting unprecedented numbers of sci-fi and fantasy originals.
The latest to join that race is NBC Universal, which is digging into its library of intellectual property to program its own foray into streaming. The company announced today that a reboot of Battlestar Galactica will headline its service, named “Peacock,” launching in April 2020.
Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail is taking the reigns for the new show. Esmail is a big fan of the franchise, and asked for a shot at BSG as part of his new, 4-year deal with NBCU.
Esmail said on Twitter today that his show will not be a remake of the Ronald D. Moore series, now widely regarded by fans as among the greatest sci-fi shows of all time — “because why mess with perfection?” Instead the new show will tell an original story within the mythology:
BSG fans, this will NOT be a remake of the amazing series @RonDMoore launched because… why mess with perfection? Instead, we’ll explore a new story within the mythology while staying true to the spirit of Battlestar. So say we all!
— Sam Esmail (@samesmail) September 17, 2019
That would seem to open up the possibility that Esmail’s Galactica could even be within the same continuity as Moore’s.
Deadline reports that Esmail is a big fan of Moore’s version of the show and the two producers have been in touch. Moore has given his blessing to Esmail taking on the franchise.
Glen A. Larson created the original series, which ran for one season on ABC (1978-1979) before being rebooted as Galactica 1980 in 1980. Ronald D. Moore helmed the modern remake, with a hit mini-series on SCI FI Channel in 2003 followed by four seasons of the show (2004-2009).
So it’s been more than 10 years now since the show went off the air.
Syfy followed with the less successful spin-off Caprica (one season, 2009-2010), and the backdoor pilot Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome (2012). Syfy opted not to pick up the prequel for an ongoing series, instead airing the pilot as a TV movie.
A BSG feature film has also long been gestating at Universal Pictures. As of the end of 2018 Francis Lawrence (The Hunger Games series, See) was attached to direct, with Jay Basu rewriting a script from Westworld‘s Lisa Joy.
Also announced by NBC today are reboots of classic sitcoms Saved By the Bell (from 30 Rock executive producer Tracey Wigfield) and Punky Brewster (starring original lead Soleil Moon Frye). Genre fans will also want to be on the lookout for Brave New World, a new adaptation of the classic novel by Aldous Huxley. Alden Ehrenreich (Solo: A Star Wars Story) and Demi Moore (Ghost) will star.
Adding in its library of film and television, NBC says that Peacock will launch with more than 15,000 hours of programming. That includes everything from Cheers, 30 Rock, and The Office to Downton Abbey, Royal Pains, and Saturday Night Live.
Details and pricing for Peacock are still to be announced, with both advertising and subscriptions supporting the service.
Will you watch the new BSG? Should it tell the same story, or pick up elsewhere in the same universe?