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Fox sci-fi thriller neXt unleashes world premiere at SDCC, with a killer AI on the loose
Fox is looking to tackle an artificial intelligence gone rogue with the new series neXt, and the creators were on hand to debut the pilot episode at San Diego Comic-Con, as well as talk about what exactly caused this piece of tech to turn deadly.
The near-future series from Manny Coto, the creator of 24, looks to turn the lens on how technology has taken over our lives in the modern day, told through the lens of a Silicon Valley trendsetter who joins up with a cybercrime task force. The series stars John Slattery (Mad Men) and Fernanda Andrade (The First). The neXt panel also included series creator Coto (24) and some of the ensemble cast.
The network debuted the pilot episode to applause from the crowd, with the story setting the stage for a high-stakes thriller framed around a procedural formula, with plenty of near-future tech to drive the point home. The pilot did a good job of setting the stakes, though trying to lay it all out in a 40-minute pitch came through a bit heavy-handed on the tech aspects. It also looks to have a strong ensemble around Slattery and Andrade, filling out her cybercrime task force. Slattery brings a ton of charisma to the role, and the story is something unlike anything else on the airwaves right now. Plus, the pilot wraps with one heck of a cliffhanger, so fans will certainly want to know what happens next. No pun intended.
Coto said he was actually inspired to put the series together after seeing those in his life interact with smart assistants like Amazon's Alexa, specifically a glitch where the AI apparently started talking on its own at night. Coupled with the real life warnings of technologists like Elon Musk, and he felt it was a concept ripe to explore on the small screen in the thriller format. Think 24, but with rogue routers and smart assistants.
"Having worked on 24 for so long, I said this is a great way to do a 24-like thriller with a race against time to stop an AI," Coto explained. "What [the AI] wants to do this season is stay hidden, because it can't make overt attacks like launch nukes or build robots... Every single character on this stage will be attacked in very specific ways, with their lives ruined or destroyed... It'll come to the end with them hopefully winning, but no one will know, because the AI will never reveal itself."
neXt is scheduled to premiere midseason on Fox.
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