Ron Moore Developing New Sci-Fi Show For Fox

Star Trek veteran writer/producer (and Battlestar Galactica co-creator) Ron Moore may be bringing space-based science fiction back to network TV. According to the trades Fox has greenlit Virtuality, a two hour ‘back-door pilot’ written by Ron Moore (and fellow Trek vet Michael Taylor). The show is set on a space ship equipped with a virtual reality system (cough, Holodeck, cough).

The description of the show from THR:

set aboard the Phaeton, Earth’s first starship, on a 10-year journey to explore a distant solar system. To help the 12 crew members endure the long trip and keep their minds occupied, NASA equipped the ship with advanced virtual reality modules, allowing them to assume adventurous identities and go to any place they want. The plan works until a mysterious “bug” is found in the system.

THR quotes Katherine Pope, president of UMS (the production company who also produce Battlestar):

It’s very much about what’s fantasy and what’s reality; what we do to escape our lives and what actually institutes our lives, and are these things very different.

The idea for the show was first conceived by Lloyd Braun (who developed Lost, along with JJ Abrams and Damon Lindelof). Braun developed the idea with his producing partner Gail Berman (no relation to Rick Berman) and the pair then looked at ‘several writers’ before settling on Moore to develop the idea and create a script. Moore then brought in Taylor (who wrote 4 episodes of DS9 and 21 episodes of Voyager and is a writer for BSG). All four are executive producers.

Virtuality: The mock reality show. Variety reports:

“Virtuality” also comes with a hefty online component: As part of the plot, the space voyage is funded by a reality show that features the trip being streamed back to Earth. That “reality show” will be produced as webisodes, featuring the same cast members.

If the pilot becomes a series, it will be the first new space-based sci-fi show on broadcast network TV since Firefly, which Fox cancelled after airing only 11 of 14 episodes in 2002.

More info at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety.

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till waiting to see what Ron comes up with that is totally “his” one day.

Teaser clip here- hat tip Mr. Ricky.

How Exciting. I love Ron Moore’s work. BSG and lost are my two favorite shows right now. I hope he doesn’t get spread too thin between this and Caprica.

It sounds like the astronauts might get lost in The Matrix… or at least ”_a_ matrix’. Might be a cool show.

As long as it’s not “Holodeck: The Series.”

Ron Moore of all people should know how close the post-TOS series came to that.

Hmmm – a whole show built around a mal-functioning ‘holo-deck’.

Not sure about this – depends on the split between reality and fantasy.

Wellll, if it’s Fox and it is actually the best thing you’ve ever seen EVER…

…they’ll cancel it.

So dunno really. Not much point getting your hopes up either way ;-)

Yes, we’ll definitely not see them reach their destination.

I hear all the characters will have flowing, blow dried, 80’s hair :-)

Um — is that the whole premise? Does other stuff happen, I hope? I mean, it could get good, but so far there’s not enough there to hold my interest past the second commercial. Seriously, ditch the holorip-off and focus on a real LONG mission made as plausible as possible. 12 characters (plus assorted robots, holo-ho’s, sentient computers, Zsa Zsa in a silver dress stopping by) is more interesting than being stuck in a fantasy the whole time.

How big is the ship? I’d seriously love to see RDM take on “The Star Lost.” THAT would be cool beans.

Michael Taylor is also a writer/producer on “Battlestar Galactica” and worked on Michael Piller’s series “The Dead Zone” bofore that. He and Ron Moore and both wonderful writers. I hope their new series comes to fruition!

To #10 –
I remember that show! The Star Lost would be a great show to revamp. Originally it was a bit off-beat/quirky but…it could be cool.

#10: You’re right. They need to make it more interesting.

I think they should make everybody gay.

/runs away

This sounds interesting.

Hmm…FTL or relativistic? Wonder if they need sketches. :)

Ronald Moore, the new Rick Berman of science fiction.

I’m not too hip on these “holodeck” adventures. When your creative palette is the galaxy I never understood the need to take the adventure “indoors” and artificially create it. Roddenberry was once asked if he would ever run out of ideas for Trek and his reply was (paraphrasing) “Its a big galaxy out there, and there are quite a few stories to tell.” The same is true for this new show.
Now the back story about the twelve astronauts on Earth’s first spaceship would contain, in and of itself, plenty of drama and suspense. It wouldn’t need to rely on “Robin Hood” or something as an episode premise.

To bodly play advanced video game in holodeck..

what a stupid idea

Nothing comes close to TOS

Yeah, it’s supposed to be taking place in space, on a starship, but I bet most of the “virtual reality” scenarios will be taking place right here on Earth and they won’t even be sci-fi stories (Wild West and World War II, anyone?!)… How many times have we seen this with Star Trek? More than half of the holodeck simulations on TNG and Voyager took place on Earth. I sincerely hope this show won’t be going down that road because I certainly won’t be watching….

17-Beat that dead horse……….and sorry but NOTHING Berman ever did was called “One of the top shows on TV”…….so really nothing about your post makes sense to me.

Caprica is going to flop.

I can’t see it appealing to a wide audience. This whole notion of the creation of the cylons – unless they can somehow draw in the same people who watch shows like ‘heros’, they are doomed.

On Fox????

13 weeks at best..

On Sci-Fi? Could run for five years.

Out of curiosity and a love of genre, I’ll watch the first few eps of just about any sci-fi show. Hell, I even sat through all four hours of The Sarah Jane Chronicles, that were on SciFi from 730p-9p. But, ANY show has to hook its audience — with characters and real drama. Bionic Woman is a perfect example of a premise that’s proven, updated, and made to look great. SO… the producers turned the key, hit the gas, and slammed straight into a wall. There weren’t enough plot lines to make it through the second episode. Hell, the pilot was thin, and it had a catfight with Starbuck!

Remember to write the story. Add the glitz and sci-fi layering later. Give us stories!!!!! and again I say !

I’ve like Ron Moore’s work on Next Gen and DS9, I think he even did Voyager for a bit (sorry if I’m wrong there), so I’m willing to give anything he does at least one viewing. If it doesn’t live up to the hype, I still have my DVD collection……

Hey, Ron! Get a hair cut for freak sake. You’re not a pirate, or Fabio for that matter. And if you think I’m watching “A Fist Full of Data’s” stretched into a 7 year long series you’re kidding yourself.

Many of you posters are NOT getting the possibilities inherent in the premise at all. That’s why you are posters and Ron Moore, et al. are darn good professional sci-fi writers.

The “holodeck” does not confine them but expands the boundaries of storytelling. TNG and (more so) Voyager ruined the holodeck, for me, by overusing it for silly holo-novels and other diversions for the characters (and the audience) when the writers could not think up a new alien race to encounter that week.

The story possibilities are endless. For example: If you can create a virtual world from the ground up, what would it look like? If you created a “perfect” virtual world, why would you want to return to this one? You can become addicted to it/dependent on it. You can bring back your dead mother, child, brother, or wife; or “virtually” satisfy some homicidal instincts. If you “kill” in a virtual world does that make you a threat to your crew mates on this long voyage.

Some of you posters spend endless hours in fantasy worlds of role playing games. But what if you could breathe, taste, smell, and feel that virtual world? If you could inhabit it, what would make it less legitimate that this “reality”? What is “reality”? Sorry, I forgot that most of you are not much for philosophy.

Seacrest out!

#13, I certainly wouldn’t mind that, there aren’t enough gay shows on regular programming.

Maybe they’ll even have a virtual physician who will pop up every once in a while to say “Please state the nature of the medical emergency.” I think that would be TOTALLY original. And the main character can be a virtual-reality-addict named Reginald Barclay!

Will Flotter be making an appearance?

And will Kate Mulgrew have a cameo as the Bride of Chaotica?

Note to Fox: STOP WITH REALITY SHOWS!!! They suck, “mock” or otherwise. I will keep an open mind about this and not criticize it too much until I’ve seen it. And if it becomes Survivor: Trek, I will be so beyond-irked it’s not even funny….

And Kahless help me… if they do… before I’m done with them, Fox Executives will be saying “today is a good day to die.” Which is also a highly-original phrase.

#28. the king in shreds and tatters – April 14, 2008

TWO THUMBS UP on the link! THANKS!

I just don’t get why it’s set on a spaceship.

LOL! a Series based on YAHE or Yet Another Holodeck Episode!!! YEAH!

So Moore says that Trek has too much continuity…

… and then rips off Trek for another show?

Must keep a eye on this, but I’m not 2 sure about this Virtual Reality thing, a whole series based in a Holodeck!!

does any one remember watching Eart 2

Gay… God Parents who time travel. This could save the series…

Ron Moore didn’t say that Trek had too much continuity per se. He was referring to the idea that it’s intimidating for new writers, and especially new viewers to enter a world with so much history. The canon became restrictive less because the writers didn’t actually have the ability to work around it but because, from a psychological point of view, they were justifiably afraid of stepping on the toes of what had come before. When a show only has a couple of seasons of history to work from you don’t need to do much research to figure it out, but when a show has 800 hours of stories, it probably takes more time to do your fact-checking than it does to write the thing, even for the biggest experts on staff–people like Ron Moore. It’s not a very practical production process.

The premise for this show is intruiging if executed right. It’s nothing like Star Trek because it’s very much an extrapolation current technology into the near future (I assume this takes place sometime within a hundred years or so).

The virtual reality simulator would more likely be used as a tool to develop the characters by examining their hopes and dreams. What do they miss about Earth? I bet it’s like flashing back to the crash victims former lives on Lost but in this case the characters actually get to live vicariously through their former selves. They can wander the streets of their hometowns, they can use it for many of the things the crew could on Star Trek, but I think the way they’ll use it will be different.

I expect the budget to be higher since it’s on network television. It’s also seven years since we’ve seen a holodeck anyway, so who knows how they’ll visualize it anyway. I bet instead of having O’Brien in a kayaking suit, for example they’ll actually show the crew kayaking.

Plus, we have very talented writers working on this. This could be very good.

#35 yes one of the most god awful science fiction series ever to hit the airwaves, they couldn’t cancel that piece of scif garbage fast enough for my taste. Horrible acting, bad writing, crappy production. Earth 2 should not have made it into production.

#31. the king in shreds and tatters – April 14, 2008
“I just don’t get why it’s set on a spaceship.”

The setting, a 10-year mission, on a cramped spaceship (This isn’t the Enterprise-D) is a “plot device” by which they set-up the reason why they would need this “virtuality” machine.

Now, do I have to ‘splain to some of you why it’s set in the future too???


Lloyd Braun… Wasn’t he part of Mayor Dinkins staff during the Seinfeld years? And sold computers over the phone for George’s dad?

Serenity NOW!

I’ll give this a watch… to give it a chance… but it smacks of a TNG era trek rip-off…

…. and will Barclay make an appearance?

Someone explain to me how “Stargate”, a mediocre film, spawned TWO mind-numbingly dull TV series??? Even the worst episodes of Voyager and Enterprise had better plots and more character development than that Sci-Fi crap.

Hmmm, a little error with time constants could make them “virtually immortal”. I’m looking at this as a riff on Inner Light. A whole virtual lifetime could pass by in…. a few hours. They come out of the VR thinking 10 years has passed… but no, it’s only been 10 weeks.

Lots of possibilities, I see where Ron’s heading with this. What if some of the VR, running for *much longer* than any testing or simulation might have run… could perhaps gain some sort of sentience? Might they find they *can’t* turn it off?

Holodeck episodes were always superb in TNG. Even DS9’s Bashir holodeck stories were reasonably twisted. Give me a Moriarty-like creation, and I’ll watch.

“Cylons of the mind”…. I guess.

#40 The stargate movie was not exactly great scifi, but i have to disagree with you, Stargate Sg1 and Stargate Alantis are among two of the better shows on television, if anything in some what they do pretty much the same thing that the trek series do explore the galaxy,even though these is a military theme to the shows, in some ways they do the whole exploration as good or even better then trek. The writing is actually quite good on this show better then alot of what trek has to offer.

“Stargate SG-1” was good in the Showtime years, but really dwindled on SCIFI. “Atlantis” just sucks.

It’s mildly annoying that TNG took the vague premise of virtual reality – which was already extant – did nothing very interesting with it for seven years, passed it on to two other Trek series which did nothing very interesting with it…and now when someone else tries to use it, people react as if “Star Trek” somehow is owed a nod for that. “Holodecks?” Please…

I’d prefer to see something more original than this.

Where’s the emotional stake in a hologram? “Oh dear, my buxom girlfriend just died. I’ll have to walk all the way over there to hit the reset button. Think I’ll trade up for a redhead.”

Holodecks, bah. I want strange new (solid) worlds.

#45 – I’m guessing you haven’t seen the Voy episode ‘Real Life’.

I wonder if Lloyd Braun, while coming up with the idea for this show, chanted “serenity now, serenity now” over to himself…? (I hope I’m not the only one who gets this Seinfeld reference)

” I remember that show! The Star Lost would be a great show to revamp. ”
“You’re right. They need to make it more interesting.
I think they should make everybody gay.”

ROFLOL Have either of you even seen The Starlost? There was an episode where they went to a colony where everybody was gay. It guest started John Kolicos [The Goddess Calabra (Airdate: October 6, 1973) Writers: Martin Lager and Ursula K. Le Guin]

This sounds like Enterprise, Version .5! I like the idea of a single star-bound voyage of ten years (more realistic than warp speeding here and there), but the VR angle kind of loses me. Sounds like what Ron Moore’s reimagined Cylons do aboard their base ships in BSG with “projecting”. The ship and crew also sound remarkably similar to the excellent BBC 2 part series, Space Odyssey. Known in the States as Voyage to the Planets. That show, from 2004, depicted a very realistic international mission to the planets done in a very realistic way. Kind of how Enterprise the TV show SHOULD have been. Anyway, I wish Moore would focus instead on his Caprica prequel series (the pilot is being cast now) before jumping into another. He’ll scatter his energies. Look at David Eick’s terrible Bionic Woman mess. Even Katee Sackhoff couldn’t pull that one out of the fire (maybe if she were cast in the LEAD….).