According to Variety Sci Fi is rebooting the 1980s film Alien Nation. The movie was the basis of a TV show that aired on Fox.

Tim Minear (Angel) is hard at work writing this new version of the franchise. Producing is Fox 21.

Alien Nation examines "the partnership between a veteran cop and his alien detective partner, set against the larger tale of alien 'newcomers' who move to Earth and attempt to assimilate into society."

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Fox 21 president Chris Carlisle feels that Alien Nation could follow Battlestar Galactica as the next big franchise for Sci Fi.

"It's absolute perfect timing for this type of show," Carlisle states. "They're looking for more grounded sci-fi and close-ended episodes, and at the heart of Alien Nation, it's a cop movie. It's grounded. And it has a tremendous amount of dramatic possibilities and humor."

The plan is for the new Alien Nation to have aspects of the show that evolve with it. The show will also be topical and highlight "the immigrant experience" that is so prevalent in the news.

"It's genre mixed with procedural mixed with funny and mixed with big, giant scary," Minear offered. "I love serialized stuff, but this is also a cop franchise. That 'Starsky and Hutch/'Lethal Weapon' buddy cop comedy is absent from TV right now."

According to Minear the new show will be set in the Pacific Northwest, and the time period will be about 20 years since the first ship of aliens, who are now slaves, came to Earth.

The year will be somewhere in the 2020s, and the alien species now totals about 3.5 million. Many of the "newcomers" live a segregated existence, which Minear likens to the North African ghettos in France.

"You can take (the original Alien Nation) a step forward and really do a show that encompasses the clash of civilizations, and the idea of a ghettoized minority," he said. "You can touch on racism, terrorism, assimilation, immigration. And there's room for satire."

The original Alien Nation was set in 1991. It was directed by Graham Baker and written by Rockne S. O'Bannon (with an uncredited rewrite by James Cameron). That film starred Mandy Patinkin and James Caan "as alien cop Sam Francisco and his reluctant human partner."

The TV show was made in 1989 via 20th Century Fox TV and Kenneth Johnson Prods. Eric Pierpoint and Gary Graham starred in the show which only ran for one season and launched a series of books.

In 1994 the TV show tried its luck in a comeback as a bunch of telepics for Fox.

Evan Jacobs at Movieweb
Evan Jacobs