Virtuality, for our purposes, is a new effort from Ronald D. Moore, whose re-imagining of the classic series, Battlestar Galactica (BSG) is just mind blowing. This time, he isn't just re-imagining, he's creating from scratch!
Virtuality is about 12 people who crew a spaceship named Phaeton, which is on a 10-year journey to distant star systems. To stave off the boredom, NASA equipped the ship with virtual reality systems. These systems allow the crew to go anywhere and be anything they want, hopefully keeping them entertained in the process of their long trip. (I know, I know - Can anyone say '"olodeck?")
It's a great idea, until a mysterious computer bug shows itself in the system.
The show is from Universal Media Studios and producers Gail Berman and Lloyd Braun. After shopping their idea around to different writers, they liked the approach that Ronald Moore took, and suddenly we have a creative team. With Moore coming on board, he also brought along writer-producer Michael Taylor, who worked with Moore on BSG.
This creative team pitched their idea to NBC, but lacking the daring to set trends or push their audience into a different realm of entertainment, NBC said the show was too "science fiction" for the network. On the other hand, Fox network, in its ever venturous and expanding line-up of fantasy, sci-fi and action shows, snatched this right up.
Will this be another massive goof like when CBS turned down the original Star Trek and it went to NBC / Paramount instead? We'll see.
Right now, production on this new two-hour back door pilot is slated to begin next month. Actors selected for the show are James D'Arcy, Kerry Bishe & Jimmi Simpson. New and unfamiliar faces we'll see in the cast will be Joy Bryant, Sienna Guillory, Nelson Lee, Omar Metwally and Ritchie Coster.
I see some interesting challenges or risks, if you will.
The cast is pretty fresh, and lucky enough to be working on a project with Moore so they best bring their "A" game to the field. The show will explore such varied realms that it could give the actors quite the challenge to stretch their own talents - as the story can span space travel to a civil war within the same episode.
On the creative side is an even more deep-rooted challenge: How to present a "holodeck" type themed show and avoid the obvious similarities that viewers are going to be either looking for, hoping for, or will be ready to "diss" in massive doses at the first chance they get.
I look forward to it, but I can't wait to see how everyone involved is going to pull this off.
If anyone is keeping score, Fox has lined up for us Fringe from J.J. Abrams, Joss Whedon's Dollhouse, 24 is coming back, and now this. I think someone woke up and smelled the sci-fi in their coffee because for a station that has such a poor reputation with sci-fi, (from commentary I'm reading here and out and about on the web) they sure seem to be filling their cookie jars with an awful lot of stardust. (I don't know where I come up with some of these statements, they just happen.)
Maybe they've seen the momentum the Sci-Fi Channel has created for itself and are hoping to dilute or share that networks' demographic.
I guess now we wait, and see.
Sources: SciFi.com, SyFyPortal