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AMC has ordered a new documentary series from James Cameron that will explore the evolution of sci-fi.
Tentatively titled James Cameron’s Story of Science Fiction, the six-episode series will delve into sci-fi’s origins as a small genre with a cult and developing to the blockbuster pop-culture phenomenon it is today. The show is slated to debut in 2018.
In each hourlong episode, the Avatar director will introduce one of the “big questions” that humankind has contemplated throughout the ages and reach back into sci-fi’s past to better understand how our favorite films, TV shows, books and video games were born and where the genre — and our species — might be going in the future. Cameron and his contemporaries, who have helped to fuel sci-fi’s spectacular growth over the last several decades, also will debate the merit, meaning and impact of the films and novels that influenced them.
“When I was a kid, I basically read any book with a spaceship on the cover and I saw 2001: A Space Odyssey many, many times,” said Cameron. “The movie inspired me to become a filmmaker. I liked the special effects, but I really loved the ideas and the questions behind them: How will the world end? Will technology destroy us? What does it mean to be human?
“These are subjects sci-fi has never been afraid to tackle,” added the director. “With this series, we are going back to the origins of sci-fi, following the DNA of these ideas back to the source. Without Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, there wouldn’t have been Ray Bradbury or Robert A. Heinlein, and without them, there wouldn’t be [George] Lucas, [Steven] Spielberg, Ridley Scott or me. As a filmmaker who specializes in science fiction, I’m interested in exploring the struggles and the triumphs that brought these incredible stories to life and seeing how art imitates life, as well as how science fiction imitates and sometimes informs science.”
James Cameron’s Story of Science Fiction is being produced by Left/Right. Cameron, Maria Wilhelm, Ken Druckerman and Banks Tarver will executive produce. Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP), which houses the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame, is consulting on the series.
“James Cameron is one of the great filmmakers of our time, and his films have literally defined the genre of science fiction for this generation, and generations to come,” said Joel Stillerman, president of original programming and development for AMC and SundanceTV. “As we continue to pursue event documentary series at AMC that our viewers are passionate about, it’s hard to imagine a better fit to explore the rich history of this genre than Mr. Cameron. He’s a consummate entertainer, a scholar, and an explorer. We are incredibly fortunate to be working with him and the amazing team at Left/Right on this endeavor.”
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