Space Ramblings

NBC Gets Science Fictiony

In an effort to boost its lagging ratings, NBC will give viewers a heavy dose of science fiction in the fall, including a spinoff of “Heroes,” its one new hit this season.

The network will stretch the “Heroes” franchise to 30 episodes with six installments of “Heroes: Origins,” which will introduce new characters each week and will not necessarily involve the current cast of the show. (Viewers will get to vote on which of the super-powered newcomers gets to join the regular series.)

Three new sci fi-themed dramas also will be added, most notably a revisionist take on “Bionic Woman,” a series that starred Lindsay Wagner in the ’70s. The others will be “Journeyman,” about a San Francisco newspaper reporter who can travel through time, and “Chuck,” focusing on a computer geek who becomes a top secret agent.

Bionic Woman is arguable Science Fiction but a premise that has her exploring how difficult it is to be a woman in the working world or some such thing sounds terrible at best and I’m not at all sold on the series’ new star– Brit and ugly, frankly. No one particularly wants a revisionist take on Bionic Woman– unless it’s say being done by Joss Whedon or someone with real ability. All this sounds like is something that will inevitably come off more like My Super Ex-Girlfriend.

Journeyman is technically Science Fiction, but more Highway to Heaven or Quantum Leap it would seem. Either way Journeyman is likely to last about 2 to 3 weeks. Or maybe like Surface, it will be dragged out for an entire tedious season.

Chuck sounds like a male version of Alias with a geek factor in it and isn’t remotely Science Fiction. A Heroes mini-spinoff is normal enough for comic books and with their hour long Offices for next season NBC is clearly desperate to capitalize on their shows any way they can. Of course expanding their shows to hour long episodes had already been tried with Seinfeld and Friends– but back then NBC wasn’t in quite such desperate straits and they couldn’t have afforded the barrels of money it would take to hurl at their stars to get them to do them regularly.

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