Syfy orders some actual shows

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    Variety says they even have scripts and actors and everything. [LINK]

    “Dresden Files” and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” producer Robert H. Wolfe is working on an untitled project for the net that’s set in the far future among a volatile interplanetary law agency employing both humans and trans-humans. Universal Cable Prods. produces.

    On the development slate from Fox Television Studios and exec producer/co-lead writer David Slack is “Seeing Things,” a supernatural policier about a ghost cop and his ally, a socially awkward psychic.

    Also on the net’s agenda: “Ghost Projekt,” from “Scott Pilgrim” comicbooks series publisher Oni Press and CBS TV studios. The show, based on the Oni series, follows a female KGB agent and a male American weapons inspector trying to stave off destruction at a Siberian research facility.

    Guess Robert Hewitt Wolfe doesn’t like remind people that he was also behind season 1 of Andromeda (also known as “the season that actually made a modicum of sense from a story perspective before Kevin Sorbo took over and decided that every episode required a lot more Kevin Sorbo”).

    I’m not sure if any of these really trips my trigger from the thumbnail sketches above, but it’s nice to see Syfy isn’t leaning completely on so-called “reality” shows.

    Steve W
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    @Earl wrote:

    Guess Robert Hewitt Wolfe doesn’t like remind people that he was also behind season 1 of Andromeda (also known as “the season that actually made a modicum of sense from a story perspective before Kevin Sorbo took over and decided that every episode required a lot more Kevin Sorbo”).

    Is that what happened to the show? The first season worked pretty well, then they seemed to lose the story arc for the series. It ended up a jumbled mess by the last season. I remember Sorbo mentioning that he had some kind of back-end deal on the show so that if it was a success, he’d get a nice chunk of the paycheck. Sounds like he decided to pull a “Shatner”.


    I’ll let Wolfe speak for himself via an copy of a forum thread on an extinct Andromeda fansite [LINK:

    @Robert Hewitt Wolfe wrote:

    I am no longer the head writer and executive producer of Andromeda.

    Ah. That’s better. Someone please change my Slipstream gold letters to “Show Developer” or “Former Head Writer” or something. Maybe “Head Waiter”

    Okay, so, you’re probably wondering, what the hell happened?

    Short Answer: Television happened.

    Long Answer: As you can tell from Kevin’s “too clever” and “too complicated” comments, he, Tribune, and Fireworks wanted to go in another direction with the show. A less clever, less complicated one, no doubt. Basically, they want the show to be more action driven, more Dylan-centric, and more episodic. They also want more aliens, more space battles, and less internal conflict among the principal characters.

    Also, they want a lot less continuity so as not to confuse the casual or new viewer with too much backstory.

    And finally, they wanted to rework the visual signature of several of the characters, most especially Trance and Rommie, but also Dylan (less uniforms, more civvies).

    Anyway, I was trying very hard to work with them and incorporate their changes into the show in a way that would make them happy but not alienate our core audience. After all, it’s not like we haven’t compromised before, and some of the changes requested by Tribune, Fireworks, and/or Kevin have been good ones. The new production designer, the new sets, and the new costume designer have all worked great. And the way I saw it, my job was to execute their instruction, though never blindly and never without a thorough discussion of the implications of such changes. Unfortunately, they apparently felt that it was better to just let me go and implement their new vision without me.

    Like I said, that’s television. Fireworks pays the lion’s share of the budget, Tribune provides the US stations and has their creative control mandated into all their contracts, and Kevin is the star. The show probably wouldn’t exist without him.

    Kevin is the executive producer and certainly if he says that’s what’s going to happen, that’s what’s going to happen. From what I understand, continuity has been de-emphasized since my exit, and will be further de-emphasized next season, when, theoretically, almost all the episodes will be stand-alones.

    Sorry I can’t be more informative, but I’m pretty much out of the loop since my exit.

    …and some archived postings on the forums…

    First post [LINK]…

    @Robert Hewitt Wolfe wrote:

    Posted 31 May 2005 – 11:51 PM

    RHW, did you decide to leave the show or were you pushed, and if it was your decision, what prompted it?

    I left because of “Creative Differences.” Which means my *** was fired.

    Second post [LINK]…

    @Robert Hewitt Wolfe wrote:

    I was wondering about the ‘creative differences’, was it Majel Rodenberry, Kevin Sorbo and all the other PTB against RHW?

    Not really. As far as I know of what was happening behind the scenes, the decision to go another direction was not unanimous. Majel liked and appreciated what I was doing, I think. I’ve heard from one or two other producers that they were opposed to my removal. The only entity I know for certain wanted me gone was Tribune, since they were the only ones in the meeting when I was let go. As is normal in this case, there wasn’t a lot of explaining beyond “creative differences” and “going another direction.’ This is completely standard in the TV business and is often part of being a showrunner.

    Also, what was the original version of Gene Rodenberry’s Andromeda? (Directed to RHW) did you follow his vision? and what exactly was there to follow?

    Honestly, Gene never fully articulated ANDROMEDA in a single, coherent form. There was no bible, no script, nothing like that. What I did was take several elements from a few different Roddenberry projects and combined them. A sentient spaceship, the character of Dylan Hunt, the basic idea of the Nietzscheans, and most especially Dylan’s through-line of spending 300 years in suspended animation then waking and trying to restore civilization.

    Everything after that was basically me. Though I did try very hard to make sure ANDROMEDA was always in keeping with Gene’s humanistic and basically positive philosophy. I’ll let the viewers decide whether I managed that or not.

    So there you go: Less continuity! More CGI space battles! More cleavage! And MOAR SORBO!

    Yeah, that’s kinda how I felt about it too

    Steve W
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    Andromeda could have been a good show, but it just became a confusing mess after the first season. Now I know why. It sounds like the powers that be wanted to either de-emphasize or outright abandon the story arc that the show was created around, just to get casual viewers that wouldn’t stick around for a five season plotline otherwise. I’m amazed it made it to five years (although season 5 was a Sci-Fi Channel exclusive, wasn’t it?).


    It wasn’t so much exclusive as Sci-Fi got first airing of that year’s shows because they were pumping money into keeping the thing alive. WGN got to show them within the week following Sci-Fi’s broadcasts.

    It’s funny to hear that they wanted to de-emphasize running “mythology” stories, and then wound up bringing them back the last couple of seasons with the beyond-merely-silly “paradine” storyline. At the point… why not make nice with Wolfe and beg him to pretty please come back and fix it?

    #2910 has a report on Syfy’s new development lineup, and it’s migraine-inducing. I’m just going to post this quote from the article and step out of the way to let y’all open fire:

    [Survivor creator Mark] Burnett’s untitled competition skein involves contestants creating cuisine from an array of sci-fi books and films, and bringing the food from those imaginary worlds to life.

    “The Genie” revolves around Steve Sims and his concierge company who create real-life adventures based on fantasy films. Examples include creating a chocolate river from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” or experiencing life as a hobbit from “Lord of the Rings.”

    Others shows in development include “Stranded,” where a family or group of friends moves into a supposed haunted location, self-documenting their experience in total isolation; “Exit” is based on a Japanese format where contestants must beat the clock while simultaneously solving mental tasks and avoiding booby traps; and “Awesome Foundation,” where participants pitch ideas they hope will turn into reality.

    Other prospects trade on Syfy’s success with paranormal-themed shows. “Buyer Beware” follows sellers who try to unload their haunted houses; “Deadfinder” revolves around mediums who help solve cold murder cases; “Ghost Town USA” examines reports of supernatural activity in Mount Holly, N.J.; and on “The Wrights,” relatives of the Wright Brothers build contraptions to communicate with the dead.

    🙄 That’s a real time-saving schedule for me: it allows me to save any time I would’ve wasted watching Syfy so I can use it more productively.

    I’ve already seen Awesome Foundation. ABC calls it Shark Tank.

    Gentlemen, protective goggles please, and I advise you to step back to a safe distance. I think I hear someone in the forum armory, getting out the flamethrower and the neutron potato gun. Who’s first?

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    Were you actually expecting Science Fiction on a channel titled SyFy?

    “All parts should go together without forcing. You must remember that the parts you are reassembling were disassembled by you. Therefore, if you can’t get them together again, there must be a reason. By all means, do not use a hammer.” —IBM Manual, 1925


    Well, there’s this crazy thing called truth in advertising…

    …yeah, I know. I haven’t worked in advertising in a long time. They probably don’t bother with that anymore.

    Steve W
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    The first thing that occurs to me when I read the synopses of the new shows… they sound really, really cheap to make. That’s so SyFy. Low-budget reality shows of people I don’t give the slightest hint of a damn about and the relentless bashing of the viewers over the head with advertising are the reason I stopped watching TV years ago (I just buy what shows I want off iTunes – sure I could watch a somewhat choppy version on Hulu or something, but then I’d have to put up with the damn commercials again).

    My apologies for my language, but SyFy can suck Satan’s dick in hell.


    Surely Satan’s got some better prospects lined up for that than Sharktopus. 😆


    Aaaaaaand… Sanctuary’s been cancelled. Apparently Amanda Tapping and the gang not wanting to make the show for free was a bit of a dealbreaker.

    Steve W
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    Didn’t Sanctuary start out as an internet based show before the network expanded it? Are you telling me that the SyFy Channel has been funding the show like it was a web-based program but airing it on their network, drawing in loads of advertising money from it? Typical of them. It sounds like their management are as grossly incompetent as the ones I deal with every day. Any of the Tramiel family work for SyFy?

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    The only shows that I’ve watched this past year on SyFY have been FaceOff and Monster Man. And, I aborted out of Monster Man. FaceOff was actually pretty good, as it involved skills in creating the costumes.

    It seems that after the 2007-2008 writers strike, television has become more of a exercise in frustration (at least for me). I don’t even bother watching shows in their first season anymore because of how easily they get cancelled. I broke that rule with Alcatraz (interesting premise, favorite Lost cast member), and saw that show promptly tank. The only reason why I still subscribe to DirecTV is because of my mother.

    I know, it’s blasphemy what I say here on a television board. I think it is both how television has changed and how I have changed.

    “All parts should go together without forcing. You must remember that the parts you are reassembling were disassembled by you. Therefore, if you can’t get them together again, there must be a reason. By all means, do not use a hammer.” —IBM Manual, 1925

    Steve W
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    No, it’s not blasphemy, I think of it as getting older and more discerning with my viewing time. Which is why I don’t bother with a TV set any more, I just get what few shows I’m interested in off iTunes. I have no problem paying a couple of bucks for a TV show just so I don’t have to fast-forward through a heap of commercials every six minutes.


    @Steve W wrote:

    No, it’s not blasphemy, I think of it as getting older and more discerning with my viewing time. Which is why I don’t bother with a TV set any more.

    What he said. And the funny thing is, in case you couldn’t tell from the fact that the site has days of the week dedicated to ’70s and ’80s sci-fi, I’m finding that some of the older stuff is better made and treats the audience like less of a conflagration of total morons. I’m enjoying watching Land Of The Lost – yes, the ’70s version – because it’s smarter than some of the genre stuff that makes it into prime time. I’ve also been watching a couple of series, similarly aimed at kids and produced in New Zealand* in the 1980s, which are kind of fascinating and, again, they don’t assume that whoever’s watching is an idiot.

    I knew I wasn’t the only Hurley fan out there, either.

    On a subconscious level, more broadly, I think I’ve opted out of whatever Hollywood’s doing so long as Hollywood is trying to build up brand names rather than tell stories (see also: the clusterf@#$ that is Battleship).

    * and that’s why Steve has yet to guess the screencaps!

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