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A glimpse of the Future

Posted by Admin Thursday, May 21, 2009 2 comments

ABC has officially picked up drama “Flash Forward.”

The show, which already is being promoted on the network, received a 13-episode order Friday night.

Based on Robert J. Sawyer’s novel, the Joseph Fiennes-starring series chronicles the aftermath of a global event in which everyone in the world blacks out for 2 minutes, 17 seconds and has mysterious visions of six months into the future.

David Goyer and Brannon Braga co-wrote the pilot for “Flash,” which Goyer directed.

Both will exec produce the series, but because of his commitment to Fox’s “24,” where he is an exec producer, Braga won’t be involved full time on “Flash.”

“Eli Stone” co-creator/exec producer Marc Guggenheim has come on board as exec producer and will run the series with Goyer.

Also exec producing are Jessika Goyer, Vince Gerardis and Ralph Vicinanza.

ABC has been the most aggressive among the broadcast networks, handing out early series pickups to its strongest pilots.

The pickup for “Flash” came hours after the network brass screened it to a strong reception. It follows ABC’s Thursday order of new comedy “Modern Family.”

In addition to Fiennes, the cast of “Flash” includes Sonya Walger, John Cho, Jack Davenport, Brian O’Byrne, Courtney B. Vance, Christine Woods, Zachary Knighton and Peyton List.

With ABC’s pilot screenings slated to wrap Monday, other hot prospects at the network include mystery drama “Happy Town” and Jerry Bruckheimer’s “The Unknown,” both enjoying rave reviews. Also going strong are the Courteney Cox-starring comedy “Cougar Town” as well as the contemporary witch take “Eastwick.”

Another remake, “V,” is heading into its Monday screening with a strong buzz, with dramas “Empire State” and “Limelight” also in contention.

On the comedy side, the Patricia Heaton starrer “The Middle,” which was filmed months ago, is picking up heat after a solid screening.

Three pilots also have something going for them — the strong presence of stars Alyssa Milano (”Romantically Challenged”), Kelsey Grammer (”untitled Kelsey Grammer project”) and Cedric The Entertainer (”The Law”).

SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter

A novel by Canadian science fiction author Robert J. Sawyer is to be developed into an ABC network series along the lines of Lost.

ABC has ordered 13 episodes of Flash Forward and it is expected to debut this fall on the U.S. network.

It is based on Sawyer’s 1999 book Flashforward, in which a mysterious event occurs that causes many people on earth to have visions of the future.

Sawyer, who lives in Mississauga, Ont., is an internationally acclaimed science fiction writer of books such as Hominids, Golden Fleece, Relativity and Wake.

People in Flash Forward have visions of deaths, relationships gone wrong and other significant events six months in the future, but as their lives unfold, it appears there are ways to circumvent what might otherwise seem to be predestined.

ABC is capitalizing on the mystery factor in the series, with a five-second commercials on the current season of Lost that flash an image and ask: “What did you see?”

“You’re following a bunch of individuals in the first two minutes,” ABC’s executive vice-president of drama development, Suzanne Patmore-Gibbs, said in describing the series.

“Our FBI agent, played by Joseph Fiennes, appears to be in an FBI chase. You think he has a car crash. He has a flash of all sorts of things and he wakes up on the freeway and subsequently discovers that everybody else in the world has had a blackout that lasted the same amount of time. This resulted in a lot of devastation across the world,” she added.

“Everybody talks about their flash and they realize they were all dreaming of the same day — which is a day in the future. You can identify with the different people and have that sense of global import — we’re all in it together — like Lost.”

The series was developed at HBO, which later decided it was more suited for network TV. ABC and Fox engaged in heated bidding to take it on.

The series stars Fiennes, Sonya Walger, John Cho, Jack Davenport, Brian O’Byrne, Courtney B. Vance, Christine Woods, Zachary Knighton and Peyton List. It was created by David Goyer, one of the writers on The Dark Night and Brannon Braga, a writer-producer on 24 and Enterprise.



Here’s something that tells you straight off that Robert J. Sawyer is a science-fiction author. He’s about to become the first writer-in-residence at Saskatoon’s Canadian Light Source synchrotron lab — not a place most people would associate with the literary world. For the uninitiated, the synchrotron is a type of particle accelerator, the sort of gizmo that wouldn’t seem out of place in the latest remake of Star Trek.

Genre writing is where the real money lies in publishing these days and Sawyer, a 48-year-old dervish of futuristic thinking and unabashed self-promotion, is turning a pretty penny from it.

“I like to say I’m not stinking rich, but I’m somewhat redolent,” Sawyer said in a telephone interview from his home in Mississauga.

ABC recently wrapped filming on the pilot for a new TV series based on Sawyer’s 1999 novel, Flash Forward, that features the likes of Joseph Fiennes and Courtney B. Vance in the cast. The show is already drawing early buzz, with The Hollywood Reporter declaring: “ABC might finally have launched a strong companion to Lost.”

If the show is picked up for the fall season, which seems likely, Sawyer will be getting paid more each week as a series story consultant than he received for the sale of his first novel, Golden Fleece, back in 1990. And that’s on top of the money he got for selling the original film rights.

“Hollywood, you can’t go wrong,” marvelled Sawyer, who estimates he’s made “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in film options off his books over the years.

One of only seven writers to win all three of the world’s top science fiction awards, Sawyer took home the Hugo Award in 2003 for his novel Hominids, the Nebula Award in 1996 for The Terminal Experiment and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award in 2006 for Mindscan.

In his latest novel Wake, which features a “Webmind” that is just becoming aware of the outside world. Sawyer turns the tables on the default assumption that this vast, globe-spanning intellect is a malevolent force.

“For 50 years now we have been inculcated by science fiction, so we have to take the blame for it as writers, I guess, that computers are inherently evil. Starting with HAL in 1968 (2001: A Space Odyssey), every computer that Captain Kirk every dealt with, The Matrix, the Terminator films … all of this stuff preaches that AI, artificial intelligence, is going to be humanity’s downfall,” Sawyer said.

“I’ve done my fair share of that myself in some of my earlier books. But I got to thinking about whether that was inevitably true. What I set out to do with this trilogy is to find a new synthesis, a way in which we can retain our essential individuality, humanity and freedom without any longer being the most intelligent beings on the planet.”

It’s not a dystopian vision he’s pursuing, Sawyer said, but a new utopian one.

“It’s inevitable that we’re going to face things this century that are brighter than us so we’ve got to start thinking about ways that we can make that work for us, instead of sort of throwing up our hands.”