We caught up with Ron Moore at Comic-Con to talk Helix and Outlander

TV hasn’t had a new Ron D. Moore drama since Caprica, so fans of the genre-centric series creator will be glad to hear that we’re getting two new sci-fi series from the man in 2014. Helix and Outlander (based on Diana Gabaldon’s best-selling novels) are both being executive produced by Moore and will explore the far reaches of the Artic Circle and historic Scotland way back in the 1700s.

Helix starts production on 13 episodes in early August and is as he describes it, a “thriller with horrific elements.” It will star Billy Campbell (The 4400) as CDC scientist Dr. Alan Farragut, who travels to the Artic Circle after receiving an emergency call from a remote outpost station there.

Moore tells us that the base isn’t “owned or controlled by any one particular nation. It’s sort of a group of people who cobbled money together through mysterious sources and have been up there for quite some time doing medical research. Something happens at the base and a virus breaks out. They go under quarantine and they call the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta to send a team to help them contain it. When [the team gets] there, they discover there’s a lot more going on than anticipated and they start realizing the research that has been going on has enormous potential to help humanity or to destroy humanity. Each episode is just one day at the base so the tension keeps ramping up and ramping up until we get to the end of the season.”

At the same time, Moore and his former Deep Space Nine executive producing partner, Ira Behr, are prepping the adaptation of Diana Gabaldon’s time-traveling, historical romance series, Outlander, into a premium cable series for Starz network.

Moore enthusiastically reveals that they’ll be shooting the series in Scotland this fall. “It’s a really an exciting piece. We have 16 episodes. It’s a big production, and if you know the books at all, it’s a big, sweeping story.”

“We’re at pains to really follow the books,” he says to assure concerned readers. “One of the great things was Starz said to us early on was, 'We love the books, we think they are great so let's make the [show] for the people who love the books. Let’s make it for the fans of the books first and trust that anyone who doesn’t know the material will get swept along in the story like everyone else does.' Nobody ever says that,” Moore laughs. “Typically studios and networks just say, 'Yeah, we don’t really care about the book. We bought it for the cover or whatever…' and then dispense with it very early on [in the process]. This was the rare time when everybody said this is great material and we like the story and these characters so let’s try to get as close to the books as possible in the show and that’s what we are doing.”

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