NBC Universal is taking some interesting chances with upcoming pilots, according to the Hollywood Reporter. First up, for their main network, they have ordered a script for The New Nabors from Jim Henson Studios. In this sitcom, a Palm Springs family is surprised to discover that their new next-door neighbors are a gang of puppets. 30 Rock executive producer John Riggi is writing, along with John Hoffman (exactly which of the two-dozen John Hoffmans on IMDb, I’m not sure, and none of them really seem like solid sells to me.) It’s not a new Muppet Show, but it might be interesting. And at the very least, it’s something different, which NBC really needs if they want to pull themselves off the bottom of the heap.
Although far from being DC Comics’ best-known property, Booster apparently got a good reception from his 10th-season guest appearance on Smallville. Booster Gold is a former star quarterback from the future who was ousted after he took a dive for money. Washed up and working as a museum janitor, he looked at the various superhero gadgets in the museum, and the history of heroes such as Superman, Batman, and so on, and realized that with the technology at his disposal he could be a potent superhero in what, to us, would be the present day. So he stole the equipment and a time machine and set out to do just that, but even though he has a good heart and genuinely wants to help people, he’s also on the look-out for endorsement deals and publicity. The original comic series, created in the late 80s (in fact, he was the first new hero after DC Comics’ big universe-shattering event series, Crisis on Infinite Earths), was great, and so was his tenure as part of Justice League International. I haven’t read much of his less-goofy 2000s series, but what I saw was decent. But I suspect that, at least initially, this will be more in tone with the original (and is it too much to hope for that Blue Beetle will eventually be a part of the show?)
Handled well, this could be a very enjoyable TV series, and being on Syfy means it can probably get away with a more modest audience (since I doubt it’ll be bringing in blockbuster numbers.) It’s being written and produced by Andrew Kreisberg, producer on the fun Syfy adventure show Warehouse 13, and Fox’s Fringe, arguably the best science fiction program in years. Greg Berlanti (producer on Green Lantern) is on as executive producer, so it seems likely it’ll have the special effects it needs to get the job done (fortunately, Booster Gold probably doesn’t need as much in the way of effects as Green Lantern does.)
Both of these shows are interesting choices because they’re pretty far from the mainstream — granted, Syfy is and should be far from the mainstream anyway, but even within the confines of “superhero tv series”, Booster Gold is an unexpected, if welcome, selection. Here’s hoping these turn out to be good programs and do well for their networks.