Among the deluge of unnecessary remakes. reboots, re-imaginings and any other “re-s” by which we currently find ourselves bombarded, comes word of one that perhaps doesn’t make you want to OD on alien detergent-tasting, blue goopy drugs: Alien Nation. That is, not make you want to OD if it’s done right. But X-Files / Angel / Firefly / Dollhouse vet Tim Minear is doing the scripting, so I have high hopes that this new version could be good. Minear knows good sci-fi, and he seems gung-ho about this new opportunity: “It’s genre mixed with procedural mixed with funny and mixed with big,
giant scary,” Minear said. “I love serialized stuff, but this is also a
cop franchise. That ‘Starsky and Hutch’/’Lethal Weapon’ buddy cop
comedy is absent from TV right now.”
This is technically a reboot of an adaptation, as the 1988 film starring Mandy Patinkin and James Caan was originally turned into both a TV series that ran one season and a series of five TV movies that ran in the mid-’90s after that series was canceled. The storylines of the TV series were generally lighter in tone and revolved around morality and issues such as bigotry and racism. That was all well and good, but I’m hoping that this new version will get back to the noirish tone of the original film.
Other details of the new series revealed are that it will likely take place in the Pacific Northwest, and will take place
about 20 years after the first ship of aliens – who have been banished
as slaves – crash lands into Earth. By the time the show begins,
some time in the 2020s, the alien population has multiplied from a few
thousand to 3.5 million. And much of the “newcomers” live their own
segregated existence, in what Minear compares to the North African
ghettos in France. Minear also added that he specifically wanted to gear this remake toward cable, due to the success of Battlestar Galactica: “Twenty years (after Alien Nation), TV as a whole has evolved, and
you can explore issues and go deeper with subject matter than you ever
could before,” Minear said. “On cable, you can play with ambiguity.
This is a place I want to be.”