A new Alien Nation series develops at SCI FI Channel

Looks like another fan-favorite franchise will get the reboot: SCI FI Channel is developing a new version of Alien Nation, which originated as a 1988 movie written by Rockne O'Bannon and was spun off as a TV show and a series of TV movies.

Tim Minear—the writer/producer known to fans for his work on Angel, Firefly and Wonderfalls, among others—is writing the new take on the franchise, about the arrival of a group of refugee aliens and their integration into Earth's population, with the focus on a veteran police detective and his "newcomer" partner and family.

Variety broke the news:

Alien Nation centers on 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.

Fox 21 topper Chris Carlisle said he believed Alien Nation could rep the next franchise revival for SCI FI, which found huge success in dusting off Battlestar Galactica and reworking it for today's auds. Carlisle said Alien Nation works both as a sci-fi piece and a procedural drama.

"It's absolute perfect timing for this type of show," Carlisle said. "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."

Alien Nation was originally envisioned in part as a metaphor for the immigration issues facing America in the 1980s; the new version would undoubtedly work in current issues facing society in the first part of the 21st century.

The new series is designed to take place in the 2020s, about 20 years after the first ship crashes on Earth, and will take place in the Pacific Northwest (perhaps to take advantage of a shooting location in Vancouver? We're just guessing here). The aliens will have multiplied to a population of about 3.5 million and would live in their own communities, analogous to the North African ghettos in France.

The news coincides with the similarly themed movie District 9, produced by Peter Jackson, which deals with the arrival of a group of refugee aliens who find themselves segregated from society and interned in camps. That movie opens on Aug. 14.