This Week in Sci Fi TV: Amazon to Spend $1 Billion on The Three-Body Problem, Netflix Adapting The Wicked Deep and Cursed, and More

By | March 30, 2018
 

Amazon is Willing to Pay Top Dollar for Chinese Sci Fi Tale The Three-Body Problem

The streaming services and premium cable channels continue to amp up their original programming while also opening up the wallet to outdo each other in spending. HBO has indicated that it will spend big on its Game of Thrones prequels, Showtime has the highly ambitious The Kingkiller Chronicles in the works, Netflix spent a lot for its Lost in Space reboot and has plenty more development in the pipeline, and Amazon is now looking to spend $1 billion to adapt the Chinese series of books The Three-Body Problem (aka Remembrance of Earth’s Past). That number tops the $500 million it is already looking at spending on a Lord of the Rings prequel series and has to make you wonder at what point this level of spending will break the bank. The Three-Body Problem is very popular in China and worldwide and focuses on the last members of a dying race that communicate with Earth during the Chinese Cultural Revolution that occurred between 1966 and 1976. Allegedly, the $1 billion Amazon would spend would just be for the rights to the property and that would not include production costs. It is definitely an ambitious project, but expect your Amazon Prime rates to go up if the service does acquire the series!

Netflix Acquires The Wicked Deep and Cursed

In more development (and big-spending) news, Netflix won the bid and paid six figures for the rights to the YA book The Wicked Deep which is seen as having the potential to be the next Twilight. Deadline Hollywood gives the following description of the book:

The sleepy town of Sparrow, Oregon is considered cursed for good reason. Two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to die for being witches. Drowned in 1822, the trio comes up for air each summer long enough to inhabit the bodies of three weak willed girls with the intention of luring boys to the swimming hole for a fatal plunge. When a 17-year old named Penny Talbot falls for a newcomer named Bo Carter, she becomes determined to see he does not become one of the drowning victims.

The streaming service will be adapting the book as one or more movies. Netflix has also given a ten-episode order for a series based on the upcoming Frank Miller and Thomas Wheeler young adult novel Cursed. That one gives a different take on the King Arthur legend from the perspective of the Lady of the Lake.

Astro City TV Series in the Works

In yet more development news, FremantleMedia North America has acquired the television rights to the comic book series Astro City created by writer Kurt Busiek and artists Brent Anderson and Alex Ross. Deadline Hollywood gives the following description of the story:

The fictional Astro City universe explores the lives of ordinary people and those of the all-too-human superhumans in their midst, and their collective, daily struggle to hold on to hope in the face of world-shaking, life-altering events beyond any single individual’s control.

No network is attached at this point, but expect this one to generate some interest.

Sci Fi TV Status Report: Beyond Cancelled by Freeform after Two Seasons

Freeform announced last night that its paranormal series Beyond will not be returning for a third season.  That news does not come as a big surprise considering its low viewership this year, down notably from its first season.  Last year, Freeform released the entire first season run online at the same time as its linear debut, and the network claimed 14 million people watched the show in its first week (numbers that seem somewhat skewed to me).  It did not follow that same strategy this year and the show averaged only a 0.09 rating based on same day viewing for the 18-49 demographic and 254K total viewers across its second season run, lower than its first season linear average of a 0.14 rating and 484K total viewers.  Freeform had cancelled its sci fi procedural Stitchers last year at slightly higher viewership levels, so it seemed like a good bet that Beyond would get the ax this year.  Whether executive producer Tim Kring will try to shop the aorund to other networks remains to be seen.

Deadpool Animated Series is Not Going Forward at FX

FX had given a ten-episode direct-to-series order for a Deadpool animated series to be helmed by Donald Glover (Community) and his brother Stephen Glover that would follow in the R-Rated tradition of the film, but that show has hit a roadblock. The network made the following announcement this past weekend:

Due to creative differences, FX, Donald Glover, Stephen Glover and Marvel Television have agreed to part ways on Marvel’s Deadpool animated series. FX will no longer be involved with the project. FX and Marvel have an ongoing relationship through our partnership on Legion, which will continue.

Donald Glover followed up with a tweet claiming he was not “too busy to work on Deadpool” and he also released a fifteen-page script that gave his humorous take on the announcement from FX. Whether the series will be shopped around at this point remains to be seen.

Locke & Key Gets Passed Over Again

Back in 2011, FOX produced a pilot based on the supernatural comic Lock & Key which was created by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodríguez. The network decided not to pick up the series even though the pilot received rave reviews when screened at the San Diego Comic Con. Rumors had circulated that it might get picked up by another network, and this past year Hulu decided to give the property a shot though they produced a completely new pilot. Joe Hill remained on the project and Carlton Cuse was onboard as executive producer. But the pilot was ordered before executive changes occurred at Hulu, and apparently the new regime is not interested in moving forward with the series. It is getting shopped around to other venues, as was the first pilot, so perhaps it still has a chance of continuing to a series.

Sci Fi TV Schedule: The Crossing and Legion Season 2 Premiere Next Week

April is upon us next week and that brings two more sci fi TV shows to the schedule. On Monday, ABC’s new series The Crossing, about refugees from the future seeking asylum in present-day America, has its debut at 10 PM EST. Then on Tuesday, FX’s X-Men connected series Legion returns to bend our minds for a second season. Also next week, Syfy’s fantasy entry The Magicians has its Season 3 finale on Wednesday. That one will be making way for the third season of The Expanse which will debut the following week. You can see the full Spring schedule of sci fi and fantasy shows at this link and you can keep up with the weekly listings at this link.

More Sci Fi TV News

The end of an era is coming as Syfy has announced that the upcoming sixth Sharknado movie will be the last in that franchise (until they decide to reboot it a few years from now).

AMC has announced June 5th as the premiere date for the third season of Humans.

Crackle’s superhero parody series SuperMansion (with Bryan Cranston voicing the lead character Titanium Rex) will return for its third season on May 7th.


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