Sci-Fi Channel Greenlights Three Miniseries!

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According to the Hollywood Reporter, Sci-Fi channel has greenlit three miniseries, as back door pilots.  They will be produced by RHI entertainment.

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They include a retelling of Alice in Wonderland, a new take on Lee Falk’s classic comic strip The Phantom, and an adaptation of Philip Jose Farmer’s popular Riverworld books.

Sci Fi Channel executive vp original programming Mark Stern pointed out that weaknesses in the original “Alice” story, which often was more about the passing scenery than character development, allow for more leeway and modernization than most fantasy tales.

“Lewis Carroll was more concerned about politics and satire then telling a mythological story,” Stern said. “You’re not really engaged with Alice in a proactive and emotionally fulfilling way.”

“Phantom” has been adapted a few times without much success, but Halmi said the previous stumbles are a good reason to try again.

“That there hasn’t been a successful ‘Phantom’ leaves the door wide open for us, since nobody has made it their own yet,” Halmi said.

Sci Fi appreciates that the crusader doesn’t have superpowers and is more in the grounded vein of Iron Man and Batman. “It’s not a guy in purple tights,” Stern said.

“Riverworld” could have the most series potential if producers pull off the novel’s tricky combination mixing a modern protagonist with reborn historical figures.

” ‘Riverworld’ has a little bit of everybody’s’ idea of heaven and everybody’s hell,” Halmi said of the setting.

Characters in the story’s world will be portrayed by actors in their 20s, so somebody like Napoleon wouldn’t be “a balding man with his hand in his coat.”

“Part of the fun of this is the reveal of who each character is,” Stern said.

Sci-Fi Channel productions are a bit hit and miss.  And it’s unclear from the article if the current Riverworld has anything to do with the Sci-Fi Channels ’03 adaptation of the novel, or if it’s an entirely new take.

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