Riverworld... The TV Series?

The Syfy Channel announced more of its post-Battlestar Galactica lineup, and it includes a possible ongoing series based on Philip José Farmer's Riverworld novels. This could be amazing, if done even half right.

Honestly, my heart sank when I saw the announcement, because it foregrounds Syfy's planned Alice In Wonderland miniseries. Presumably it'll be "dark" and in the style of the channel's Wizard Of Oz reinvention, Tin Man. But some things just ought to be left alone, and the idea of a more "character-driven" Alice makes me feel slightly ill.

Oh, and here's Whoopi Goldberg as the Cheshire Cat, just to seal the deal:

Riverworld... The TV Series?

Aren't you excited now?

There's also a four-hour miniseries based on The Phantom, which Syfy promises will be in the vein of the Batman Begins and Iron Man movies. (I'm guessing it'll be similar to the Flash Gordon series.)

But really, the only thing that gives me hope is the idea of a four-hour Riverworld miniseries, which could turn into an ongoing show. Of all the science fiction book series you could imagine turning into an open-ended TV show, Riverworld is probably the best idea. In Farmer's novels, everyone who's ever lived on Earth wakes up - naked - along the banks of an endless river, with no idea how they got there. Historical figures and random oddities rub shoulders as they try to figure out the mystery of the Riverworld.

Oh, and I just realized the Sci Fi Channel already did an adaptation of Riverworld some years ago - but it sounds like this new version is not a continuation. Rather, it's a reboot or a fresh remake, judging from VP Mark Stern's comments in the Hollywood Reporter interview. Explains Stern:

"Riverworld," about a photojournalist transported to a mysterious world occupied by everyone who has ever lived on Earth, could have the most series potential if producers pull off the novel's tricky combination mixing a modern protagonist with reborn historical figures.

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."

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

All three four-hour events are being made by RHI Entertainment, which also worked on Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars and a billion made-for-TV movies. Let's just keep our fingers crossed they don't do a hatchet job on Farmer's awesome novels. [Yahoo News]