BBC America is looking to spread its wings from its parent station the BBC by developing two new original series: Wired and The Dead Beat.
In September, BBC America signed a non-exclusive co-production development deal with Clerkenwell Films, producers of the UK superhero series Misfits. The seeds of the new agreement will consist of the sci-fi drama Wired, from screenwriter Stephen Volk (Ghostwatch, Afterlife), and The Dead Beat, a paranormal crime thriller written by John Jackson (Being Human).
Stephen Volk’s Wired dives into the potentially grim outcome that technological advancement may bring us, while touching upon what it means to be human. Wired is set in a world similar to ours in the present day, with the major exception being that the inhabitants of this world are robotic replicas of human beings known as “Syns” (Synthetic Organisms), that are the latest fad for the rich and elite.
The Dead Beat centers around the reluctant paring of a living cop and his dead partner. The two will work together to solve murders by straddling both sides of the living and the paranormal. No word yet on what type of "dead" the dearly departed cop will be (zombie, ghost or vampire).
BBC America also recently announced a partnership with UK’s Channel 5 and Canadian network OLN to develop a new travel and adventure series hosted by Dominic Monaghan (Lord of the Rings, Lost). Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan follows the Lord of the Rings star as he explores remote areas of the globe (not Middle-earth) in the hunt for some of the planets most evasive creatures.
Could Wired be Surrogates for TV?
While BBC Worldwide will pick up global distribution rights for both series, BBC America is still making a bold move by trying to step out from the BBC’s shadow. With much beloved British programming like Being Human and Sherlock, new series Wired and The Dead Beat have a lot of UK competition to contend with, especially if they hope to touch the long-running hit, Doctor Who.
American viewers may also notice the strong resemblance Wired holds to the 2009 Bruce Willis sci-fi thriller Surrogates, as well as the upcoming NBC pilot Beautiful People that also revolves around opulent robot people called "Mechanicals." In a way, BBC America has to kick some original life into Wired and The Dead Beat to find a way to separate itself from similar programming, both past and current. If BBC America fails to strike a chord with both American and UK sci-fi fans, America's network for Anglophile appreciation may have to return to relying solely on programming from it its UK counterparts.
We'll be sure to update you on any Wired and The Dead Beat news as it comes up.