Sci-Fi goes Primetime

Samm May 17, 2011 No Comments »

Has anyone else noticed the abundance of sci-fi and sci-fi-like programming that has been appearing on network television lately? It seems like the major networks are jumping on the bandwagon as sci-fi becomes more mainstream and popular.

Perhaps this is because of the geek revolution that seems to be taking place, or maybe it’s because they finally caught on to how awesome and loyal sci-fi fans are. Or could it be that the networks are trying to pick up where SyFy has left off? Whatever the reason, the major networks are starting to lean the way of sci-fi and it’s awesome.

NBC has announced its new schedule with a renewal Chuck (which I still don’t particularly consider sci-fi), and the premiere of Grimm and Awake. Chuck will air on Fridays at 8 p.m. followed by Grimm at 9 p.m.  Here are the official descriptions of Grimm and Awake released from NBC:

Grimm is a new drama series inspired by the classic Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Remember the fairy tales your parents used to tell you before bedtime? Those weren’t stories—they were warnings. Nick Burkhardt (David Guintoli Turn The Beat Around) thought he prepared himself for the realities of working as a homicide detective until he started seeing things he couldn’t quite explain. When his ailing Aunt Marie (guest star Kate Burton, Grey’s Anatomy) arrives, Nick’s life turns upside down when she reveals they are descendants of an elite group of hunters, also known as Grimms, who fight to keep the balance of humanity safe from the supernatural creatures of the world. As Nick digs deeper into her past, he realizes that he will have to shoulder the responsibility of his ancestors—and contend with a larger-than-life mythology of the Brothers Grimm that is now all too real.”

Awake is an intriguing drama about a detective (Jason Issacs, Harry Potter, Brotherhood) who finds he is leading an arduous double life that defies reality. When Detective Michael Britten (Issacs) regains consciousness following his family’s car accident, he is told that his wife Hannah (Laura Allen, Terriers) perished but that his teen son, Rex (Dylan Minnette, Saving Grace), has survived. As he tries to put the pieces of his life back together, he awakens again in a parallel reality in which his wife is very much alive—but his son Rex died in the accident. In order to keep both of his loved ones alive at one time, he begins living two dueling realities in parallel worlds, which churns up confusion—in one moment, Michael and his wife debate about having another child to replace their son, while in the other reality, he is attracted to his son’s tennis coach, Tara (Michaela McManus, The Vampire Diaries), to fill the void from the loss of his wife. Trying to regain some normalcy, Michael returns to police work and solves crimes in both worlds with the help of two different partners—Detective Isaiah Bird Freeman (Steve Harris, The Practice) and Detective Efrem Vega (Wilmer Valderrama, That ’70s Show).” (Courtesy of

Am I the only one finding an incredible similarity between Grimm’s plot and Jasper Fforde’s Nursery Crime books The Big Over Easy and The Fourth Bear? Maybe? Just a little? Personally, since I loved the concept of Fforde’s books, I’m interested to see how Grimm plays out, even if they technically have nothing to do with each other.

ABC isn’t one to be left behind. After canceling V, and No Ordinary Family, not to mention last summer’s The Gates, they’re running a little low on sci-fi shows. Never fear, they’ve picked up two new sci-fi-ish shows Once Upon a Time and The River. Once Upon a Time sounds surprisingly similar to Grimm in that it’s a modern take on a fairy tale:

House’s Jennifer Morrison stars as Emma, a woman with a troubled past who is drawn to a small Maine town called Storybrooke by the son she gave up years before. Her son, Henry, is 10 years old and believes in fairy tales. In fact, he believes that his mother is the missing daughter of Prince Charming and Snow White, and that she was sent away to an alternate world to protect her from the Evil Queen. As Emma begins to investigate Storybrook, she discovers that the world of fairy tales and modern day are about to collide. Lost’s Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis created the series, which also stars Stargate Universe‘s Robert Carlyle as Rumpelstiltskin. (Courtesy of

While The River is being billed as a horror story. No seriously, horror. Didn’t they try something similar with Happy Town or am I remembering that wrong?

When a TV explorer (Star Trek‘s Bruce Greenwood) goes missing in the Amazon with his crew, his wife and son set off down the enormous river in a vessel called the Magus to find out what happened to him. However, in their search for answers they discover a place where powerful magic is as real as science. 24‘s Leslie Hope and The Dresden Files‘ Paul Blackthorne also star in this series, from the creators of Paranormal Activity, DreamWorks and Michael Green (Kings). (Courtesy of

The River has two things I like, horror and Paul Blackthorne. I’ll definitely be tuning in to check that one out.

Other sci-fi shows for the season include CW’s Supernatural and The Vampire Diaries, HBO’s popular True Blood and Fox’s Fringe and Alcatraz.

Check your local listings for air dates and times. It’s sure to be a summer of sci-fi!

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