- WEEKLY TV PICKS
Thursday, 12 July 2012
Aliens and vampires coming to Starz
Steven S. DeKnight (Buffy, Angel) is currently the showrunner of Starz's smash-hit Spartacus, which is gearing up for its third and final season next year. Wary of losing him to a rival, the cable network is already developing Incursion with DeKnight; a series about soldiers fighting an alien invasion.
Starz describe Incursion thus: "Each season the battle will be fought on a new, exotic planet as humanity punches deeper into enemy territory. Grittily realistic combat, darkly complex characters and intrigue on a cosmic scale will permeate the tale of fighting men and women facing the pressures of war and an enemy unlike any ever seen."
I have no evidence for this theory, but I can't help thinking Incursion will imitate Spartacus in terms of production and tone—meaning lashings of stylized violence, lots of greenscreen for the alien worlds, and a carefree attitude to sex and violence. So, basically a TV version of Paul Verhoeven's Starship Troopers? It's just a feeling I get, seeing as how Spartacus' style was so embraced after a tentative start, and the show manages to look seriously epic on a relatively small budget for US TV. That's just what you need to do a convincing yet thrifty space opera.
Starz have also revealed that renowned writer J. Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5, The Changeling) is joining Roy Lee (The Ring) and Rob Tapert (Xena: Warrior Princess) to write Vlad Dracula, which is described as a "unique spin of the classic tale, blending the historical facts of the 15th century Prince of Wallachia, with the fictional Dracula whose story is known around the world and continues to fascinate audiences. Vlad Dracula traces his evolution from a revered ruler to the world’s most feared vampire, and his slow downfall as he struggles desperately to hang on to his humanity, his wife and his kingdom."
I'm imagining something like Starz's historical drama The Borgias, only with a vampire. What do you think? Is Starz onto something with shows like this, giving talents like DeKnight and Straczynski creative freedom to create something genre fans will lap up? Or did they just get lucky with the Spartacus brand, so brace yourselves for two endeavours along the lines of Torchwood: Miracle Day?