Steven Spielberg always has a handful of projects in development, but an interesting new venture has been officially announced. Along with DreamWorks Television, Spielberg will co-develop a mini-series for the Discovery Channel entitled Future Earth for the 2010-2011 season. With help from DreamWorks Animation, the series will interpret the immediate future from a non-fiction scientific perspective as you would expect the cable station to do.
Influenced by the success of Planet Earth and Life and merging with the innovative minds at DreamWorks, Discovery has made it clear this is a major venture and one they hope will appeal to the masses.
"Future Earth aims to be an epic mini-series examining what life on Earth will be like in 25, 50 and 100 years. The mini-series will draw from a vast number of sources, including the leading futurists, scholars and great minds of today, to dramatize and explore how various facets of our daily lives - health and medicine, technology, the environment, the military, the economy and media - will evolve over the next century."
If there is one concept Spielberg has a confident grasp on it is the future and aliens; Don't rule out the possibility of an alien-centric episode of this mini-series. But to have one of the most illustrious filmmakers on the planet helming this project makes it more than just a television mini-series. For proof, just look at the Spielberg-produced Band of Brothers and The Pacific.
Wrigley Field in The History Channel's Life After People
One of the more important concerns to voice is how closely it will resemble The History Channel's Life After People. While the concept is generally different and seems to be more environmentally-based, the core idea is quite similar. The History Channel used CGI to predict what the world would become after people vanished.
Yes, Future Earth will only go as far as the next century, but considering the problems it will surely focus on, the look and feel could become all too familiar. It will be important for the creators to recognize when they get too close and find a fresh way to explore and express the point of this endeavor. DreamWorks is full of talented animators, so the look will undoubtedly be amazing.
Spielberg's influence will need to end in a compelling story structure based in reality through what is learned from scientists. Even with his endless resume of classics, the filmmaker is anxious to work on this examination of the Earth:
"I am excited to be back in business with DreamWorks Animation and all the active imagination and creative artists at the best animation company in the world today. Joining together with Discovery, we have an opportunity to bring exciting new experiences to take television audiences into the imagined future of planet Earth."
The Discovery Channel has taken it upon themselves to hire top-notch storytellers and filmmakers to continue their trend of leading the way in television mini-series. Planet Earth was one of the most groundbreaking exercises in beauty and scope, setting the bar extremely high. As their latest nature mini-series Life continues to impress, next year's Future Earth could solidify the station as the frontrunner in scientific entertainment, if it isn't already.
Future Earth is set to air in 2011 and Spielberg is already working as executive producer on another upcoming Discovery Channel mini-series The Rising: Rebuilding Ground Zero.
Source: The Futon Critic, Yahoo