Genre fans are in for quite a treat, as networks seem to be picking up a new police procedural with a horror or sci-fi twist every few days.
While we’ve known about Ron Moore’s upcoming 17th Precinct for a few weeks, it is the first among such fare as Grimm, Poe and the recently announced Among the Spirits on SyFy, to have attracted stars of some note. To date, the so-called “Harry Potter for grown-ups” has attracted the eye of Apollo himself, Jamie Bamber, as well as veteran actress Stockard Channing.
After the conclusion of Battlestar Galactica, Bamber returned home to England to head up the cast of Law & Order: UK for 26 episodes. However, it seems the lure of a solid part in another ensemble drama developed by Moore was enough to get Bamber back on American soil. In 17th Precinct, Bamber will play Caolan, a detective at the titular precinct’s homicide unit.
Bamber’s residency in the fictional town of Excelsior comes on the heels of the news that Stockard Channing (Grease, Practical Magic) will also be joining the cast as Mira, a robbery investigator and former homicide detective of the 17th Precinct.
As casting heats up, and the characters begin to take shape, the question becomes their relationship to the world around them. How will Caolan and Mira take part in the magic and supernatural elements of the series? Does 17th Precinct aim to have its leads working to investigate crimes of a supernatural and magical nature, or is the use of magic a door that swings both ways?
While we will have to wait until more is known about the series, and some teasers begin to show up to answer those questions, a recent statement by the pilot’s director, Michael Rymer, provides some hints.
“There’s a lot of FX work. I’m very excited because it’s going to be a real challenge to figure out how to explain why something is magical and not technological. There are some real challenges, but this is a very good script. It’s Ron’s main forte, which was very well demonstrated by Battlestar Galactica.”
Successfully blending elements of the fantastic with serious drama certainly is a trait Moore has become well-known for. Of all the upcoming genre programs, 17th Precinct may be the only one with a pre-existing fan base - a fact that can only help in its quest to become a series. As great as it will be to have Stockard Channing on the show, reuniting Jamie Bamber with Ron Moore will certainly be the major draw.