NBC goes SCI FI

Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Television

The Peacock network this week unveiled its new fall lineup for the 2008-09 television season, the earliest its ever done so.

Does the early bird get the worm? Only time will tell …

Old favorites Heroes, Chuck and Medium return (saw that coming) but the Heroes: Origins spinoff concept has been axed.

So what’s new? Lots of sci-fi, as you’ll see if you read on. For your amusement, I have left the network’s flowery language intact. Read it in your best “in a world …” pompous announcer voice, and enjoy:

KNIGHT RIDER: On the heels of NBC’s hit movie, the iconic 1980s television classic comes roaring back to life as an updated drama series showcasing the new customized KITT (Knight Industries Three Thousand) Ford Mustang. As the sequel resumes, KITT is absolutely the coolest car ever created: its supercomputer capable of hacking almost any system; its weapons systems efficient; and its body — thanks to its creator’s work and nanotechnology — is capable of actually shifting shape and color. It is the ultimate car — and someone will be willing to do anything to obtain it. “Knight Rider” stars Justin Bruening (“Cold Case”), Deanna Russo (“NCIS”), Sydney Tamiia Poitier (“Veronica Mars”) and Bruce Davison (“Breach”). David Bartis (“Heist,” “The O.C.”), Doug Liman (“Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” “The Bourne Identity”) and Gary Scott Thompson (“Las Vegas,” “The Fast and The Furious”) are executive producers and David Andron serves as supervising producer and writer. Based on characters created by Glen Larson, “Knight Rider” is from Universal Media Studios and Dutch Oven Productions.

MERLIN: “Merlin” brings to life a new legend for a modern audience. “Merlin” is an exciting, hour-long fantasy series set in the mythic city of Camelot — but inspired by 21st Century storytelling. Before Merlin (Colin Morgan, “Doctor Who”) and Arthur (Bradley James, “Lewis”) became legends, they were ambitious young men looking for adventure, hoping to live up to their family’s expectations, discovering love and finding their own true destiny, making mistakes along the way. The innovative, action-packed drama has cross-generational appeal and paints a picture of Merlin and Arthur’s early life that audiences have never witnessed before. Anthony Head (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”), Richard Wilson (“A Passage to India”), Angel Coulby (“Magicians”) and Katie McGrath (“The Tudors”) also star. A FremantleMedia Enterprises distribution of a Shine production for BBC.

THE LAST TEMPLAR: In this four-hour miniseries, Oscar winner Mira Sorvino (“Mighty Aphrodite”) stars in an epic action-adventure tale about the greatest mystery of our time. At the New york Metropolitan Museum, four horsemen dressed as 12th century knights storm the gala opening of an exhibition of Vatican treasures and steal an arcane medieval decoder. For archaeologist Tess Chaykin (Sorvino) and FBI agent Sean Daly (Scott Foley, “The Unit”), this is just the start of a suspenseful game of cat and mouse as they race across three continents in search of the enemy — and the lost secret of the Knights Templar. The miniseries is produced by MUSE Entertainment Enterprises. Victor Garber (“Alias”) and Omar Sharif (“Doctor Zhivago”) also star. Emmy Award-winning television impresario Robert Halmi Sr. (“Tin Man,” “Gulliver’s Travels”), Robert Halmi, Jr. (“The Poseidon Adventure,” “The Christmas Card”), and Michael Prupas (“Human Trafficking”) will executive-produce the miniseries.

THE LISTENER: In this one-hour drama, Toby Logan (Craig Olejnik, “The Runaway”) is a 24-year-old paramedic living with a secret: he can read people’s minds. This telepathic procedural takes viewers into the heart of a tortured hero who struggles to solve crimes with his unique gift. Week-to-week, “The Listener” balances high-stakes drama with irreverent humor and sends Toby on an intellectual and emotional adventure. Ennis Esmer (“The Path to 9/11”) also stars. “The Listener” is a production of Program Partners and Shaftesbury Films. The executive producers are Christina Jennings, Scott Garvie, Michael Amo, Russ Cochrane, Glen Davis and Bill Laurin.

You can read about the non-sci-fi shows here — but why would you want to do that?

Related and recommended