Eight years after Syfy reinvigorated the sci-fi TV genre with a reboot of "Battlestar Galactica," the cable network is looking to venture back to the final frontier with a reimagining of "Blake's 7." According to Deadline, the pilot is being written by Joe Pokaski (a writer-producer on "Heroes" and "CSI") and will be directed by Martin Campbell, who helmed the critically-acclaimed Bond reboot "Casino Royale."
Deadline reports that Syfy has given the project a script-to-series commitment, meaning that the network will produce 13 episodes for air if it likes Pokaski's treatment.
The original British series was a cult hit for creator Terry Nation (who also created the iconic Daleks for "Doctor Who") in 1987, spawning four seasons and an international following that endures to this day. Unlike "Battlestar Galactica," which was considered a lighter space opera of the era -- especially compared to its darker Syfy remake -- the original "Blake's 7" was an edgier concept, centered around a group of convicted criminals who escape from a prison planet and encounter threats both human and alien whilst trying to stay ahead of their captors, becoming heroes in the process.
Aside from the well-received "Battlestar Galactica" reboot, masterminded by Ron Moore, space dramas have been largely absent from primetime since Fox cancelled Joss Whedon's "Firefly" in 2002. The latest attempt at a high-concept sci-fi theme came with last year's short-lived "Terra Nova," which was critically panned, overbudget and unable to connect with viewers.
HuffPost TV critic Maureen Ryan lamented the current lack of shows set in outer space in a recent column, pointing to budgetary constraints and general conceptual timidity as potential reasons for the dearth. While Starz is developing "Incursion," a space-based series by "Spartacus" creator Steven S. DeKnight, there's no guarantee the show will make it to air -- which is also a concern for fans of "Blake's 7."
Whether either space drama will get off the ground remains to be seen, but for now, we applaud Syfy's attempt to boldly go in that ambitious direction once more.
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