As part of their major push to create new original programming, Amazon is developing series based on the science fiction properties Lazarus, Snow Crash and Ringworld. Amazon has lagged somewhat behind streaming competitors like Netflix and premium cable outfits like HBO in creating a stable of trademark genre series, but now they’re trying to remedy that by increasing production budgets and ushering multiple new shows into development.
Science fiction has proven to be a profitable realm for HBO with their Westworld series, and Netflix too has gotten good returns in that area with their anthology series Black Mirror. Netflix’s Stranger Things, while not a science fiction series per se, certainly has sci-fi echoes to it and that show has been a massive success both popularly and critically. CBS is even getting in on the act by producing Star Trek: Discovery for their All Access service.
Not to be left behind, Amazon is going all-in on trying to develop a major science fiction property for their streaming service, with a trio of series based on well-regarded literary properties going into development (via Variety). Amazon has recruited some big-league talent to bring these series to life.
First up is Lazarus, based on a comic by Jessica Jones creator Greg Rucka. Set in an alternate version of Earth’s near future where everything runs on a feudal system, the story concerns a group of warring families, with a female central character named Forever Carlyle who has been genetically modified so she won’t suffer the effects of aging. Rucka will write and executive produce.
Next up is Snow Crash, based on the iconic cyberpunk novel by acclaimed writer Neal Stephenson. The complex plot of Snow Crash revolves around a hacker named Hiro who, when he’s not delivering pizzas in the real world, spends most of his time in a virtual reality filled with human-controlled avatars. When a virus appears inside VR that can kill people in real life, Hiro and his skate punk friend Y.T. must try to solve the mystery. A co-production with Paramount Television, Snow Crash is executive produced by Joe Cornish and Frank Marshall.
Finally, Amazon will develop a show based on the 1970s Ringworld series by Larry Niven. The books follow the adventures of Louis Gridley Wu, who grows bored of life on his 200th birthday and accepts an offer to travel to a distant artificial ring world (the ringworld concept inspired the makers of the video game Halo). Ringworld is a co-production with MGM. In addition to the new sci-fi series in development, Amazon is set to debut the horror series Lore, and next year they’ll dive into spy action with Jack Ryan.
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