In my continuing effort to pitch ideas for TV shows that I would like to watch, allow me to introduce science fiction writer Poul Anderson. Anderson wrote science fiction from the 1940’s up to his death in 2001 and is considered one of the greats. He would easily make most of the top ten best twentieth century science fiction writer listicles, and his work is extensive enough that it can supply an entire network or streaming service with shows. Of course, the problem is that science fiction and other genre shows are expensive because of the effects and sets involved, and have a natural ceiling for an audience unless it’s the rare crossover hit that appeals to people that normally wouldn’t watch science fiction or genre type shows.
So that narrows the list considerably.
So let’s start with a TV show idea based on, as Anderson describes as, “one of the most popular things I’ve ever done,” The High Crusade.
Working Title: Space Knights! Knights in Space! Err…still working on this since the source material is called The High Crusade and crusades are problematic so…
Genre: Science Fiction, Romance
Hot Take: Game of Thrones vs Aliens
In 1345 an alien ship lands near an English village while doing a scouting mission to colonize the planet. Completely underestimating the threat of the low technology locals, a local Lord manages to capture the vessel and intends to use it to win the 100 Years war, and then roll back the Saracen gains in the Middle East with a new Crusade using the spaceship. Ambitious right? So he loads up the entire village on the ship to assist in the effort, only to be tricked by the sole alien survivor who sets the navigation to take the ship to the nearest alien colony world.
At this point that’s where I’d say the fun begins. Sir Roger, Baron de Tourneville, has to figure out how to take on aliens with advanced technology when they have only the barest idea of how things work, and have to bluff their way in dealing with other potential alien allies. Although it’s been many years since I read the book I remember it as being a lot of fun and this is a good moment for television shows that have characters drinking mead and wearing plated armor. The story rolls out like an Arthurian legend lite and should have a lot of crossover appeal.
Working Title: Flandry of Terra
Genre: Science Fiction, Spy Thriller, Space Opera
Hot Take: James Bond meets Star Trek
In many ways this is a James Bond in space type of show, although the Dominic Flandry character predates Bond. Flandry, a dashing intelligence agent in a declining 31st Century Terran Empire, shoots and seduces his way across the galaxy in service to the crown. Unlike Bond however, Flandry does it with the full knowledge that the empire he serves is doomed, and is on an inevitable path of decline and crash, taking civilization with it.
Outside of the typical science fiction fans, it’s difficult to gauge how much of an audience there is for this type of show. And it would be expensive. As a writer, Poul Anderson was probably one of the best world builders in the business, but designing worlds isn’t like going from Hong Kong to Monaco. It would require the type of money a network or streaming service is unlikely to invest in unless there is the type of angel investor that Jeff Bezos was for The Expanse. Bezo’s liked the show so when it was cancelled on the Syfy network, he swooped in and bought it for Amazon Prime. Any chance Bezos is a Flandry fan…?