Sci Fi has cast lead actors for Riverworld and The Phantom, its upcoming movie events that will serve as trials for possible new series.

Battlestar Galactica veteran Tahmoh Penikett and Smallville supergirl Laura Vandervoort will star in Riverworld, and Ryan Carnes (Desperate Housewives) has been cast as the Phantom.

Penikett is best known for playing Helo on Battlestar Galactica. In Riverworld he will play war correspondent Matt Ellman, who is killed along with his fiancee (Vandervoort) but awakens in a mysterious world populated by everyone who has lived on Earth.

Alan Cumming is set to guest star as the Caretaker; Jeananne Goossen and Mark Deklin also have been cast.

In The Phantom, Carnes will play the well-known comic book hero, and Isabella Rossellini will guest star as the villainous Lithia, who is overseeing a mind-control experiment. Additional Phantom cast members include Cameron Goodman and Sandrine Holt.

Riverworld and The Phantom will air next year as four-hour movies on Sci Fi. Both are from RHI Entertainment and began production Monday.