Sci Fi Dons 'Caprica’


A Battlestar Galactica prequel and a remake on the classic tale Alice In Wonderland are part of Sci Fi Channel’s slate of upcoming programming, the network announced last Tuesday.

During its upfront presentation here, Sci Fi said that it has green-lit production on Caprica, a two-hour back-door pilot prequel of its popular series Battlestar Galactica. The show’s fourth and final season launches later this month.

Caprica takes place 50 years before Battlestar Galactica and follows two rival families competing within the world of the 12 Colonies before the eventual rise of the Cylons, according to Sci Fi executives.

The network has also commissioned a six-hour miniseries dubbed Alice, a modern day-retelling of Alice In Wonderland. Writer/director Nick Willing and executive-producers Robert Halmi Sr. and Robert Halmi Jr. — who teamed up with Sci Fi for The Wizard of Oz update Tin Man last December, the most-watched show in the network’s history — will also helm the Alice project.

Other original scripted series and miniseries announced include True Believer, a two-hour backdoor pilot from actress Rosario Dawson about a 20-something comic book nerd who teams with a washed up real-life superhero to save the world; The Stranded, a two-hour pilot based on the comic book released in January as part of Sci Fi’s recent partnership with Virgin Comics; and Deputized, a two-hour pilot in which an “average Joe” finds himself possessing special abilities after being fitted with an alien exoskeleton.

On the reality front, the network this summer will return Ghost Hunters spin-off Ghost Hunters International, as well as hidden-camera show Scare Tactics — now hosted by comedian Tracy Morgan (NBC’s 30 Rock) — and Mind Control With Derren Brown.

New shows include Estate of Panic, in which contestants have to navigate through a “haunted” estate to find $1 million cash prize; and Brain Trust, in which a band of geniuses help everyday people find solutions to everyday problems.

The network in May will also premiere a special, Mystery of the Crystal Skulls, which explores the real story of the search for the legendary crystal skulls portrayed in the upcoming movie Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Sci Fi said it will run all three Indiana Jones movies prior to the special.

Sci Fi is also buttressing its cyberspace presence with the fourth-quarter launch of a Web-exclusive series Starcrossed on David Hewlett (Stargate Atlantis) penned the series that takes a comical look at life behind the camera at a long-running science-fiction space soap.

The site will also stream the first episode of the new Battlestar Galactica season, nine hours before its April 4 premiere, according to the network. In addition, the network will stream 10 short serialized Webisode chapters, complementing the series’ swan song.