Friday, April 25, 2008

A Wee Bit Of Heartbreak For Me

It was kind of a good news/bad news day for me yesterday, courtesy of the WWW.

As you loyal dozens know, I (try to) knock out screenplays and teleplays in my spare time. Not full-time, mind you, because that would require me selling something and making some money, and I'm not in danger of that any time soon.

Anyway, in this golden age of Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV with the revival of the "Doctor Who" (Sci Fi, 9 p.m.) and "Battlestar Galactica" (Sci Fi, 10 p.m.) franchises, my ultimate dream was to lead the revival of "Blake's 7" back to TV.

Since I'm sure most of you have never heard of it, let alone seen it, "B7" was a BBC sci-fi series that ran four seasons from 1977-81. Created by Terry Nation (also the creator of the Daleks, BTW) and brilliantly written (albeit with cheesy, 1970s BBC special effects), the series told the tale of Blake, a freedom fighter who battles against the totalitarian Earth empire in a dystopian future.

What I loved about the old series was that Blake and his crew weren't really the good guys, more like anti-heroes. And the bad guys weren't all that evil, just very bureaucratic. The end of the series was one of the most memorable ever. (Let's just say the good guys don't win).

In this post-9/11 world, where shows like "BSG" achieve the pinnacle of good science fiction by providing an allegory to our own world and values, I always thought "B7" would be a perfect candidate. After all, from different perspectives, Blake is either a freedom fighter or a terrorist. In our world where terrorism remains such a prominent problem, what better thing than to look at the issue in a futuristic way?

Well, apparently I'm not the only one to think this way. Sky TV announced yesterday that "B7" would be revived as a TV series. The Hollywood Reporter article can be found here:

The guys shepherding the project do have experience in the "B7" universe - they produced a radio series last year.

It's not that I resent them, but this was always my screenwriting fantasy. I mapped the whole thing out in my head, how it would pay tribute to the original series but be updated with a post-9/11 spin. I even came up with my own killer ending and a dream cast. Of course, one of the first things would-be screenwriters learn is not to write about copyrighted properties they don't own, which is why you will never see my killer "Batman" movie idea, by the way.

Sadly, unless I win the lottery tomorrow and buy out the "B7" rights, all of this will remain in my noggin, another dream to be unfulfilled.

On the bright side, I'm hoping these guys capture some of that "BSG" magic and do justice with the new "Blake's 7" so that it becomes the pop culture phenomenon that Galactica has become.

WEEKEND'S BEST BETS: As noted above, Sci-Fi is all-new tonight, including the "Sarah Jane Adventures" at 8 p.m.

Speaking of fantasy shows, "Moonlight" (CBS, 9 p.m.) returns after a long, strike-induced layoff with a new episode. Though on the bubble, this show has a loyal core of fans, particularly of the female persuasion over star Alex O'Loughlin. It anchors new episodes of "Ghost Whisperer" at 8 p.m. and "Numb3rs" at 10 p.m.

On Saturday, BBC America will have a mini-marathon of "Robin Hood" before airing the brand-new (on this side of the pond) second season at 9 p.m.

On Sunday, PBS takes a break from "Masterpiece" with the docu-drama "Carrier" at 9 p.m. about life aboard a US Navy carrier.

Fox's animation lineup, led by "The Simpsons," is all-new.

A new "Desperate Housewives" and "Brothers & Sisters" on ABC take on a new "Cold Case" and "Dexter" on CBS, beginning at 9 p.m.

"Wire In The Blood" (BBC America, 8 p.m.) airs a new installment.

Finally, "The Tudors" (Showtime, 9 p.m.), which was just renewed for a third season, continues with a new episode from Season 2.


Jonathan said...

I'm actually a huge "Blake 7" fan as well, and I agree that it had one hell of an ending.

I hear you about the copyrighted property. Unfortunately, my ideas for an incredibly awesome "Spiderman" trilogy will never see the light of day, nor will my "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" film (Which I'm still pissed off that they will never make one.). Oy vay!

zodin2008 said...

Phillip, while I am sad that you won't be able to live your dream and write your own, "Blake 7", you could offshoot your own idea off at least the premise. Do something as your own unique vision with some overriding "Blake" elements.

I don't think, even if the new "Blake" was made by David Chase, Joss Whedon, JJ Abrams and Aaron Sorkin, combined (though that sure would be mind blowing and a bevy of talented writers) it would get as much "cultural cache" as BSG, because "Blake" doesn't have nearly the following over here in the states in terms of name recognition that the original BSG did.

Phillip, maybe you should explore a "Prisoner" remake?

Phillip Ramati said...

Well, The Prisoner remake is already in the works as both a film and TV series.

B7 was very similar in nature to Firefly, so it would be very hard to try to do a similar idea differently (especially since I'm not quite as good a writer as Joss Whedon!)