Sci-Fi Channel is setting up 3 new Miniseries: Alice in Wonderland, The Phantom, and Riverworld

by Joey Paur

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As you know with end of Battlestar Galactica comes the end of the Sci-Fi channels best TV show, we know the have 'Caprica' coming as well as this new 'Stargate: Universe' series but what else does the Sci-Fi channel have up their sleeve besides their new name Syfy? Over the weekend they announced three new miniseries fantasy projects that they are going to get to work on. Two of these will serve as potential series pilots.

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These three projects include a retelling of the classic book 'Alice in wonderland', I guess they don't really care that Tim Burton is currently working on the live-action/animated film right now, but they are going to give it a go. Maybe the have an original idea or take on the story. THR reports:

The new "Alice" promises to be different than previous incarnations (more than a few of which were produced by RHI). The project is written and directed by Nick Willing, who also did Sci Fi's highly rated "Wizard of Oz" revamp "Tin Man."

"We thought 'Alice' was the perfectly underlying material to tell a classic story with a modern twist," Halmi said. "We'll have new incredible worlds and a more grown-up feel."


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The Sci-Fi channel will also take a shot at the comic book hero 'The Phantom', yes the same one that dresses in a purple super hero outfit. The same one that is currently being remade as a movie in Australia.


"Phantom" has been adapted a few times without much success, but Halmi said the previous stumbles are a good reason to try again.


"That there hasn't been a successful 'Phantom' leaves the door wide open for us, since nobody has made it their own yet," Halmi said.

Sci Fi appreciates that the crusader doesn't have superpowers and is more in the grounded vein of Iron Man and Batman. "It's not a guy in purple tights," Stern said.


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Then there is 'Riverwold' which will be based on a series of fantasy books written by Philip Jose Farmer 'Riverworld' is about a photojournalist transported to a mysterious world occupied by everyone who has ever lived on Earth.

"Riverworld" could have the most series potential if producers pull off the novel's tricky combination mixing a modern protagonist with reborn historical figures.

"Part of the fun of this is the reveal of who each character is," Stern said.

" 'Riverworld' has a little bit of everybody's' idea of heaven and everybody's hell," Halmi said of the setting.

Characters in the story's world will be portrayed by actors in their 20s, so somebody like Napoleon wouldn't be "a balding man with his hand in his coat."


Alice is planned to be shown in the winter, Riverworld and The Phantom will be hitting the new Syfy channel next year. 'River World' and 'Phantom' are the two shows that will air as backdoor pilot,

Titles under consideration for a series order contingent on drawing a large enough audience. It's the programming model the network has used with success before, as in the case of 'Battlestar Galactica.'


All of the TV miniseries will be four hour movies developed with RHI Entertainment:

"The four-hour format allows us to command large dollars around the world for our shows that puts about ($4 million-$6 million) of production on the screen per hour," said Robert Halmi Jr., president and CEO of RHI entertainment. "It gives the network a chance to try a concept with the same production values, if not better, than you'd get for a series."


I am interested to see what they do with these shows and how they go about pulling them off. It sounds like they are going to really put some effort into them so that's good. I will end up giving all of them a shot but out of the three I am most excited for 'Riverworld'. What do you think?

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