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.