Wednesday, March 19, 2008

TV: New Pilots

Sam Raimi (Spiderman) will start his first venture in directing television with a miniseries called "Wizard's First Rule." It'll be an hour-long series based on Terry Goodkind's novels in the Sword of Truth saga. Twenty two episodes will be developed from the eleven published volumes. The story follows Richard Cypher, "a young man who makes his living leading people through dangerous forests, as he investigates the murder of his father and finds himself opposing Darken Rahl, the son of an evil wizard." No one has been cast yet.

Christian Slater use to be huge in the 90s, but at some point he slowly became a disruptive, womanizing drunk. Yet somehow, NBC is trusting him to play the lead part in an untitled drama about "a mild-mannered suburban dad who learns that his alter ego is a spy." Schizo may not be a stretch for Slater, but steady work, responsibilities, and press junkets might be pushing it. It doesn't help that the writer-producer of the series will be Jason Smilovic. I loved his feature film debut Lucky Number Slevin, but he seems to keep fumbling with his shows, which consist of "Kidnapped," "Karen Sisco," and the recent disappointment "Bionic Woman." However, according to Hollywood sources, Slater has been on the wish list of many networks and TV shows, which is probably why he scored "My Name is Earl" last season, and story arcs in "Alias" and "West Wing." But trusting an entire show to him is a whole different ball game.

Geena Davis ("Commander in Chief") will headline a drama called "Exit 19." She'll play "a quirky murder detective balancing her job as a Manhattan crime solver with her role as a single suburban mom raising two kids on Long Island." What's with this sudden slew of quirky detectives. I seriously doubt she'll be able to top Damian Lewis' "Life" character.

The CW
Here's an update for the "90210" spin-off: "The new version will focus on the Mills family of Beverly Hills. Tabitha Mills, the matriarch, is a 60-something actress/alchoholic who was a major star in the 1970s. After her last stint in rehab, she is trying to live on her own at her Beverly Hills estate. Tabitha's son Harrison ''Harry'' Mills, a 1980s graduate of Beverly Hills High, moves back home after years in St. Louis to be with his mom. He brings along his wife, Celia, an Olympic athlete, who winds up working as a personal trainer, and their two 16-year-olds: Daughter Annie and adopted son Dixon. Annie is a theater kid desperate to fit in with the cool crowd, while Dixon is a smart bad boy with social and behavioral issues. The breakdowns reportedly show that producers are open to all ethnicities for Dixon, making it possible that he'll be played by a non-white actor. Other characters listed by Variety include: Silver, aka Daphne Silver, a wannabe socialite who hosts her own YouTube series; Max Silver, Daphne's 24-year-old brother, a working man who manages the family movie theater; Navid Shirazi, who produces the high school's student-run video newscast; Ethan Ward, a jock who falls out of favor with the A-list crowd and ends up hanging with the ''90210'' crew; and Naomi Bennett, Ethan's super-hot, ultra-rich ex-girlfriend." So far, this leaves it open for a cameo from Brian Austin Green ("The Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles").

Sci-Fi Channel
The series will be adapted from the comic book "The Stranded," which--similarly to USA's "The 4400"--is about people who discover that they're actually aliens with special abilities. You could even think of it as a Superman-type story, which would suggest that perhaps these aliens were "stranded" for a purpose and their mission may not exactly be something they are willing to execute. What's most interesting about this comic is that it's being created simultaneously with the series, kind of like "Heroes."

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