FX Adapting Sci-Fi Novel ‘Redshirts’ As Limited Series

Redshirts TV Series FXEXCLUSIVE: John Scalzi’s 2012 comedic sci-fi novel Redshirts is headed to the small screen. FX has teamed with veteran feature producer Jon Shestack (Dan In Real Life) and producer-director Ken Kwapis (Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants) and his partner Alexandra Beattie to develop a limited series based on the book, which won the 2013 Hugo Award. Search is underway for writers to pen the adaption, with Kwapis set to direct the opening episode. He, Shestack and Beattie executive produce.

fx_logoSet in the 25th century, Redshirts follows the adventures of five new recruits on the Starship Intrepid who come to realize that the ship’s crewmembers are dying at an alarming rate. Their investigation leads to the mind-bending discovery that a science fiction television show, produced in the early 21st century, has somehow “intruded” upon their reality and “warped” it. In other words, the lives of the crew are following the course of a television narrative over which they have no control. “Redshirts is a madcap, hyper-meta tale,” Shestack said. Added Kwapis, “If Jorge Luis Borges had been a staff writer on the original Star Trek, he would no doubt have concocted a story like Redshirts.”

Most recently Kwapis and Beattie, under their In Cahoots banner, developed the Showtime comedy Happyish, which received a series order last month but has been put on hold in light of the tragic death of star Philip Seymour Hoffman. The company, repped by UTA and Code Entertainment, previously produced Outsourced for NBC. Shestack, repped by Alan Grodin, currently is developing the novel Carter Beats The Devil at Warner Bros, with Phil Lord and Chris Miller directing. Scalzi is represented by Joel Gotler of IPG. FX has been at the forefront of the current longform resurgence with a slew of limited/event series projects. Its first such series, Fargo, premieres April 15.

Comments (20)

  • You are just giving more power to the Narrative! NOOOOOOOO! (really, I am VERY happy to hear this news, fans of the book will get the reference)

    Comment by John Nemesh — Friday February 7, 2014 @ 12:53pm PST  
  • Galaxy Quest in reverse? Nice, nice.

    Comment by sly — Friday February 7, 2014 @ 12:55pm PST  
    • +1

      Comment by David — Friday February 7, 2014 @ 5:18pm PST  
    • Hammer Grabthar’s by! Surrender never, up give never! One… single… every… hit to have you do?

      Comment by Duder NME — Saturday February 8, 2014 @ 5:51pm PST  
  • Who’s betting Sumner Redstone will sue Rupert Murdock over this?

    Comment by Kimberly — Friday February 7, 2014 @ 1:30pm PST  
    • Not before Harlan Ellison sues planet Earth.

      Comment by Duder NME — Saturday February 8, 2014 @ 5:53pm PST  
  • i always roll my eyes at high-concept dramas because the suits rarely get it right.

    but this actually sounds good.

    Comment by davidelliott — Friday February 7, 2014 @ 1:57pm PST  
  • Paramount may have a few words to say about this. And they might come wrapped in legal documents. Redshirts and the Starship Intrepid? That’s really close-to-home base.

    Comment by anotherwgamember — Friday February 7, 2014 @ 2:30pm PST  
    • Considering Red Shirts has a lot in common with Galaxy Quest, which also had similarities to Star Trek, I doubt it will be an issue. I would assume Scalzi’s publisher would have checked into that before they published the novel.

      Comment by Jimmy — Friday February 7, 2014 @ 5:25pm PST  
      • I’m told that parody law covers anything that comments on the original. Therefore I believe parody law covered the book Redshirts, which in any case has very significant original content–you don’t have to have seen Star Trek to understand Redshirts, and Paramount doesn’t own the concept of starships and military SF. Parody law also covers Weird Al Yankovic’s shows, so it works for TV. I’m reasonably sure that parody law covered Galaxy Quest as well.

        Comment by =Tamar — Saturday February 8, 2014 @ 11:03am PST  
        • Qu’est que c’est “Parody Law”? Viva la “Fair Use”!

          Comment by Duder NME — Saturday February 8, 2014 @ 5:56pm PST  
  • Great book! I look forward to this mini-series. Now my mother won’t have to reread it for a third time!

    Comment by tomko44 — Friday February 7, 2014 @ 2:40pm PST  
  • This could be very interesting. Obviously, inspired by “Star Trek.” I’ll be very interested to see how they handle the production design — besides the prototypical “red shirts?”

    Comment by K — Friday February 7, 2014 @ 2:50pm PST  
  • I don’t see why someone doesn’t just do a Star Trek series on cable or Netflix/Amazon…I know the days are gone when space adventure could survive on broadcast, but I’d rather see what cable or streaming can do with it anyway. It would be very different from the series we’ve seen before (and also different from the tentpole movies that Abrams has been doing). Game of Thrones in space, maybe not that nasty but that’s the idea.

    Still, this show sounds pretty fun.

    Comment by bitter trekkie — Friday February 7, 2014 @ 3:24pm PST  
  • I loved the novel. Hope the series does it justice.

    Comment by cmonster — Friday February 7, 2014 @ 3:59pm PST  
    • My sentiments exactly!

      Comment by Sheldon W. — Friday February 7, 2014 @ 11:05pm PST  
  • The novel had some issues, but it was a really good story with some very funny moments — the usual Scalzi humor. If they don’t screw it up, should be a fun mini-series.

    Comment by Jimmy — Friday February 7, 2014 @ 5:27pm PST  
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