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For years, The Walking Dead was AMC's lone entry into the world of horror and science fiction programming, but that show's monolithic success during that span justified the network's shift to embrace more genre-heavy series over time. More recently, series like Preacher, The Terror and Fear the Walking Dead are rounding out AMC's yearly primetime slots, and the future is only getting brighter. (Or darker, depending on your viewpoint.)
Across 2020, AMC will deliver The Walking Dead's back half of Season 10 and the first half of Season 11, as well as the sixth season of Fear the Walking Dead, and the debut season of the new spinoff Walking Dead: World Beyond. Beyond that, Jason Segel's mind-bending new series Dispatches from Elsewhere will likely scratch any hyper-reality itches, and the second season of NOS4A2 will bring Zachary Quinto back as TV's creepiest old man. Thankfully, we now know what AMC execs are setting up next, with a handful of projects falling squarely into the horror and sci-fi neighborhood.
Below, we're going over five big genre projects AMC is cooking up that will likely compliment the horror and sci-fi worlds within the Walking Dead franchise, with each project being part of AMC's announcements at this year's Television Critics Association winter press tour.. Let's kick things off with the latest adaptation from the prolific King of Horror himself.
The first and (currently) only long-form collaboration between bestselling author Stephen King and his son Owen King, Sleeping Beauties was first published in September 2017, but its TV rights had already been snatched up by the studio Anonymous Content back in April 2017. AMC announced a pilot commitment to Sleeping Beauties in April 2019, and the fact that it's still on the active development roster is a good sign that its fantastical stories will make it to live-action one day soon. Check out the official logline below.
In a small Appalachian town, there’s a strange mystical occurrence that causes all the women to fall asleep, leaving the men to try and rescue them. But do the women want to be rescued?
With Owen King set as the writer, Sleeping Beauties' large ensemble of female characters could be a casting director's dream gig, and could draw more big-name talent to AMC. Both Owen and Stephen King will serve as executive producers, along with Sugar23's Michael Sugar and Ashley Zalta. (How cool will it be if the father and son shared a network with the respective son and brother Joe Hill?)
The second of four AMC projects on this list that are based on published fiction, Bunny hit shelves in 2019 and comes from the imagination of Mona Awad, whose frank debut 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl first showcased the author's power of pinpointing emotionally driven struggles. Check out the synopsis below to see Bunny's uniquely wild take on dark romance.
A lonely student is drawn into a mysterious clique of girls called The Bunnies and begins to partake in their strange off-campus ritual - conjuring boys from rabbits, where the good ones stay as romantic partners and the bad ones are mercilessly axed.
Bunnies are just so cute when they're not mercilessly axed, aren't they? AMC's Bunny will be adapted by Megan Mostyn-Brown, who is in the midst of an overall deal with AMC after having served as a supervising producer on NOS4A2. Mostyn-Brown was also a writer and story editor on Gotham, so she is obviously a pro when it comes to telling tales that take sharp turns into surreal territories.
With Pantheon, AMC is taking on a story that is heavy on the science fiction, but still leans into some freaky notions. The one-hour animated drama series – yes, animated – will be based on short stories penned by the award-winning sci-fi author Ken Liu. Check out the highly intriguing logline below.
In this animated drama set in a world where uploaded consciousness is not just science fiction, a young woman begins receiving messages from an unknown number that claims to be her deceased father. Trying to uncover the truth, she stumbles upon a larger conspiracy involving the singularity.
If you thought you'd go your whole life without seeing an animated singularity outside of the Matrix franchise, get ready. Pantheon, which first went into early development in early 2019, will be spearheaded by former Bones writer/producer and TURN: Washington's Spies creator Craig Silverstein, who will also executive produce. As an added bonus, a 10-minute short is being produced by the show's animation studio Titmouse, which has been responsible for shows such as The Venture Bros. and Bless the Harts.
Nigeria 2099 sounds the most "normal" of the bunch, at least in terms of genre-specific tropes and standards, but it also sounds just as epic and twisty as anything else, so it's by no means any less promising a project. Check out the plot for the internationally trouble-filled narrative.
Set in a futuristic world, Nigeria 2099 tells the story of Sgt. Charles Opkara, a local police officer in a poor district of Lagos. Assigned to protect a visiting American businessman staking out his district, Sgt. Charles begins to unravel a global conspiracy over depleting resources.
That plot doesn't hint at Nigeria 2099 going too hard on the sci-fi front, but it takes place 75 years in the future, so if nothing else, the world itself should likely be a major representation of the genre. With Mo Abudu and Heidi Uys of Nigeria's EbonyLife TV executive producing, Nigeria 2099 will be penned by Ahmadu Garba, who has previously served as a writer on USA's The Sinner and Syfy's Happy!, so he probably knows a thing or two about keeping things tense and unpredictable.
Another tale set in our world's future, though not as far as 2099, The Sparrow is based on the 1996 sci-fi novel written by Mary Doria Russell, and it seems like Hollywood has been trying to adapt it ever since. Initially picked up in 2006 as a Brad Pitt vehicle, The Sparrow later had its film rights revoked by the author, and first ended up in the AMC development cycle in 2014. Check out the plot line below to see what all the hubbub has been about.
In the near future, humans on Earth receive their first evidence of intelligent extraterrestrial life when a radio telescope picks up a strange signal, sounding like exquisite music, from a distant planet that will come to be known as Rakhat. While United Nations diplomats endlessly debate a possible expedition, the Jesuit leadership quietly organizes an eight-person scientific mission of its own, comprised of a variety of disciplines and backgrounds. What they find is a world so far beyond comprehension that it will lead them to challenge the very notions of humanity and faith itself.
As the one AMC project in the works about space and possible aliens, The Sparrow has a lot of potential, and it has a solid pair behind it as part of the creative team. Longtime movie Mark Johnson, who reached TV gold as producer on Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, will serve as an executive producer for The Sparrow alongside Johan Renck. The former music video director has helmed eps of Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead in the past, to name a few, but is more recently best known for directing all five episodes of HBO's Chernobyl, so expect The Sparrow to look gorgeous if it ever makes it to air.
AMC also has a ton of other shows in development outside the dark and unexplainable hallways of horror and sci-fi, such as an adaptation of Lauren Groff's dramatic romance tale Fates and Furies, and an Anna Camp-starring dark comedy about a woman building a workout empire in the '90s. While waiting for more announcements about all of the above projects, be sure to keep track of everything hitting AMC in the near future with our Winter and Spring TV schedule.