'The Machine' Reboot, Grant Morrison's 'Happy' and 'Haunted' Horror Drama Score Syfy Pilot Orders

The three Universal Cable Productions dramas join previously announced Superman prequel 'Krypton' in the works at the NBCUniversal-owned cabler.
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'The Machine'

Syfy is bulking up its pilot roster.

The NBCUniversal-owned cable network has handed out pilot pickups to three dramas from its vertically aligned Universal Cable Productions. Ordered to pilot are The Machine, based on the film of the same name; horror drama The Haunted; and an adaptation of Grant Morrison's graphic novel Happy.

The Machine is based on the 2013 feature that will be written and executive produced by filmmaker Caradog James (Don’t Knock Twice) with Red & Black Films. The film’s producer, John Giwa-Amu also will executive produce the pilot. Set in a world that is being transformed by the emergence of artificial intelligence, The Machine explores the epic conflict between man and technology through the lives and motivations of six interwoven characters — each of whom holds the key to humanity’s victory or its destruction. The British science-fiction thriller starred Caity Lotz and Toby Stephens as computer scientists who create an artificial intelligence for the military.

The Haunted is a supernatural horror-drama from author James Frey about four siblings who reunite following their parents' deaths. As they try to overcome their fractured personal relationships they find that they also must face the literal ghosts from their past in order to survive. Noga Landau (Syfy's The Magicians) penned the pilot and will co-exec produce. The drama was one of three that Frey sold via his UCP deal last year. Frey and Todd Cohen of Full Fathom Five will exec produce.

Happy is based on Morrison (Batman, The Invisibles) and Brian Taylor's (Crank) graphic novel of the same name. It follows Nick Sax — an intoxicated, corrupt ex-cop turned hitman — who is adrift in a world of casual murder, soulless sex and betrayal. After a hit gone wrong, his inebriated life is forever changed by a tiny, relentlessly positive, imaginary blue-winged horse. Neal Moritz, Pavun Shetty and Toby Jaffe of Original Film (the Fast and the Furious franchise) will exec produce, with Taylor set to direct the pilot. This becomes the latest project that Morrison and Taylor have in the works at Syfy, as the duo also are adapting Aldous Huxley's iconic masterpiece Brave New World.

The three dramas join a Syfy pilot slate that also includes previously ordered Superman prequel Krypton from David S. Goyer.

The projects come as Syfy has made a concerted effort to focus more on traditional science-fiction fare like Battlestar Galactica. To that end, the cabler has found success with dramas The Magicians, 12 Monkeys and Killjoys, with anthology Channel Zero due in October and Incorporated set for fall.

Also interesting is that all three dramas come from vertically aligned studio UCP as ownership becomes more of a factor in the so-called "Peak TV" era of lower ratings and reduced profit margins. 

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