Tired of network TV? Two former Star Trek writers are, too, so they're turning to you to help make their next series.
David Gerrold and D.C. Fontana got a big career boost thanks to their work on Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek. Fontana, one of Trek's very first writers, penned 10 episodes of the original series (some under pseudonyms), including "Tomorrow Is Yesterday," "This Side of Paradise" and "The Enterprise Incident," and later went on to a healthy screenwriting career that includes contributions to The Six Million Dollar Man, Kung Fu, Babylon 5 and Star Trek: The Next Generation. Gerrold first came on board after being impressed by the pilot, and began pitching scripts. He eventually contributed two episodes to the series, including the legendary "The Trouble With Tribbles," and later went on to write for the Star Trek animated series, Land of the Lost and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. He also became an acclaimed novelist, with works like the Hugo- and Nebula Award-nominated The Man Who Folded Himself, the War Against the Chtorr series and the Hugo- and Nebula-winning novelette The Martian Child (made into a feature film in 2007).
Now Gerrold and Fontana are teaming up again, alongside Star Trek: The Motion Picture Director's Edition producer David C. Fein, to adapt Gerrold's Star Wolf series of novels into a TV series, and they're using Kickstarter to make it happen because they simply don't believe networks know what to do with sci-fi.
"Star Trek, The Original Series got cancelled because NBC executives didn't understand what they had. Firefly got cancelled because Fox executives didn't understand what they had. Babylon 5 was cancelled because the network executives didn't understand what they had," the team said on their Kickstarter page. "Even a profitable series can be cancelled if the numbers don't work for the accountants. And anything less than three million viewers isn't considered enough.
"But even a million committed viewers are more than enough to make any show profitable -- if we leave out the obsolete distribution system and go directly from the producers to the audience."
The Star Wolf is the story of a lone starship faced with trying to get back home after a devastating attack by a humanity-hating alien race called the Morthans. With limited resources and a small crew, the show's heroes must simultaneously rebuild the damaged ship and get back home as quickly as possible, all while being hunted.
"This is a story of the courage of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. It's about the strength of human beings in an impossible situation. It's about war and revenge, hope and triumph. It's about us. The Star Wolf is an epic adventure of ordinary men and women caught in an extraordinary war against a race of superhuman creatures... the Morthans who have augmented their evolution, genetically transformed themselves into a breed of gigantic warriors, trained for aggression, ferocity, and hatred... and they have sworn to destroy humanity!"
To make the production possible, Gerrold, Fontana and Fein have assembled a crew that includes Oscar-winning visual effects artist Dennis Skotak (The Abyss, Aliens, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Batman Returns), sound designer Steve Lee (The Lion King, Apollo 13) and composer/arranger Edwin Wendler (The Losers, Sleeper Cell).
According to Gerrold, four scripts for the show have already been written. If the team hits its $650,000 fundraising goal, they'll produce the first episode. For every $500,000 they can raise after that, they'll produce another one, until hopefully they've made their first four-episode arc.
As for what you get if you back the project, rewards start at $10 (a PDF of the script and advance online viewing of the first episode) and run all the way up to $10,000 (you get to be a character who suffers an extremely gory death). In between there are cameo appearances, less gory deaths, Star Wolf "Launch Crew" jackets, posters and bumper stickers, and a chance to name a character. So if you're interested in helping a couple of sci-fi TV legends with their next project, check out the video below, then head over to Kickstarter to lend a few bucks to The Star Wolf.