Continuing with stellar original scripted dramas, AMC has just announced a couple of promising new series that couldn’t be more different from each other, and each has some great talent working behind the scenes to put them together.
Today the cable network announced development of Ballistic City, a futuristic drama being directed and executive produced by Tron Legacy and Oblivion director Joseph Kosinski, and written and executive produced by Pacific Rim scribe Travis Beacham. Plus, AMC is also working on Ashland, a period drama set in the early 1950s at the height of the Red Scare.
Deadline has heard Ballistic City described as Blade Runner meets Battlestar Galactica, and AMC might be looking at the series as a potential companion to air with The Walking Dead for a night of genre fun. The official logline from AMC’s press release says the series “is the story of a former cop thrust into the criminal underworld of a city housed in a generational space ship destined for an unknown world.”
It’s not hard to see where the Blade Runner and Battlestar Galactica comparisons come in. Wherever this ship is headed, the journey is likely long, allowing the social system aboard the vessel to evolve and create an underworld, just like any normal city. And since it’s the future, the best example is Ridley Scott’s gritty version of that – with a film noir style. If the series can capture just a fraction of that greatness for TV, audiences shouldn’t have a hard time getting hooked.
Meanwhile, with the end of Mad Men on the horizon, AMC is developing another new period drama to potentially fill the impending void. Ashland is a drama series set in the early 1950s in a titular small mining town in Kentucky. The story follows the Evans family who has just moved East from California and the mother Del must protect her three children and hide her family’s secrets after her screenwriter husband is blacklisted.
For those who don’t know what that means, during the time of the Red Scare, when America was insanely fearful of Communist threats, the government created the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) to investigate alleged disloyalty and subversive activities on the part of private citizens, public employees, and organizations suspected of having Communist ties.
For a time, the committee put their eye on Hollywood for alleged communist propaganda and influence in the motion picture industry. Hundreds of writers, directors, actors and more were boycotted by studios and blacklisted from working in the United States entertainment industry, many without any good reason and all from circumstantial and unsubstantiated claims and evidence. However, that investigation happens in 1947, so we’re not sure how that will tie into the 50s setting unless that’s just the prologue for the series.
Ashland was written by Allison Anders (Gas, Food, Lodging) and Terry Graham on spec, and Anders will executive produce the series with Shana Eddy, as well as direct the pilot (she’s previously directed episodes of Southland and Sex and the City). This one sounds promising, especially with the backdrop of the Red Scare, and seems like a decent Mad Men replacement when the time comes.
We’ll keep you posted as Ashland and Ballistic City move through development, so stay tuned.