Nerd Lunch SyFy Pitch Challenge #1: Terra Incognita

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Nerd Lunch SyFy Pitch Challenge #1: Terra Incognita

“Terra Incognita” is a new reality adventure series on SyFy. Sort of. It’s the real-life adventures of ex-Special Forces officer turned anthropologist Brendan Walker [Stargate: Atlantis’s Joe Flannigan] as he travels to the world’s last “unknown lands” and invariably gets into far more trouble than originally intended.

So the basic idea is Indiana Jones gets a Discovery Channel-style documentary series. Flannigan’s on board because he does a passable Harrison Ford impression and looks a lot like Drake from the “Uncharted” game series. The whole thing is shot like a documentary — a certain number of staged shots, and a lot of shaky-cam as things get crazy. The show can also make use of some of the mockumentary editing used in shows like “Arrested Development” and “The Office” — the talking head cam, fake archival footage, etc.

All the sci-fi elements are either ambiguous or happen juuuust off-camera, but it’s mostly the classic regional cryptids — the Yeti, the Mothman, etc. Lurking in the background (literally in the background — the viewers pick up on it before the characters) are pieces to a bigger puzzle . . . the Unified Field Theory of Weird, if you will. And over time, the adventure-of-the-week format feeds into this larger mythology. Something big. The Illuminati.

The promotional opportunities are endless. Walker could have a Twitter account. The website could have some real-time in-character Q&A (like that Old Spice guy). All of the ads for the show could play along with the idea that this is just an exceptionally awesome version of “Survivorman” and the characters themselves could make reference to the fact that they are on right after “Caprica” or whatnot.

Now what we really need is someone cool to play the cameraman/sound tech, who will be the only other regular character, and who I think will often be seen and not heard. Still thinking about that. We need a character actor type, maybe a twitchy tech support guy (Flinkman from “Alias” or Jonathan “Short Round” Ke Quan?), maybe an unflappable ex-war correspondent, but basically a little comic relief.

Guest stars will abound, however — like Indy, Walker has an old buddy or old enemy wherever he goes.

By | 2017-03-17T00:59:04+00:00 September 27th, 2010|Categories: Article|Tags: , |2 Comments

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  1. CT February 25, 2017 at 8:21 pm - Reply

    I love that the guy who isn't even on the Twitter is the one who came up with this concept.

    I love the mockumentary concept and at one point, had the idea that the A-Team movie could use that approach making Amy a documentary filmmaker instead of a newspaper reporter.

    This is the direction marketing is heading. If there was a way to make viewers feel they were contributing to the direction of the show, that would help, too. Walker decides a course of action because @cordy74 gave him an idea, well, everyone would be trying to get in on the show.

  2. cordy74 February 25, 2017 at 8:21 pm - Reply

    Well played, PLEE. Aside from the idea (I know you have long been a fan of the scholar/adventurer theme) I love your ideas for promoting the show. Fans of the show could watch the first-run episodes and follow the Twitter feed at the same time. You could show some of the support crew (camera or sound men) tweeting on the show and coordinate that with the Twitter feed to have their tweets show up in real-time as they are seen sending them. Have the tweets be relevant to what is actually happening during the episode. In the days between episodes the feed could still be kept up-to-date and then have the characters make a couple of quick references to these "events" which occurred between shows.

    If CBS can come up with a show based on a Twitter feed, surely SyFy can support a Twitter feed based on a show.

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