Redshirts to Become a Television Series

A nice little bit of news to send us all off into the weekend. The details are here.

(Update: I have more to say about the deal, here.)

100 Comments on “Redshirts to Become a Television Series”

  1. Wow, John. Congratulations! I’m excited for you, and for us too! I think Redshirts could really shine in this medium.

  2. Totally cool. Now I’m glad that I asked you to sign my copy of the book when you were in AZ last summer promoting the Human Division! Congratulations!

  3. Is this one of those things where it’s actually going to happen, or is this like having an option a book for a movie?

  4. Jules Jones – I'm a writer of romance and science fiction/fantasy. My main blog is at Dreamwidth, since that's where a lot of my friends are, but some of the less inane wibble gets mirrored on WordPress.
    Jules Jones

    Congratulations. :-)

  5. Ha! That should be fun! Congrats!

  6. Bruce Diamond – Flyover Land on the teeming Mississippi River – Despicably proud old man. Text-extruding asshole (thank you, John Scalzi) with a skewed vision on life, pop culture, writing and general assholiness. Not a scholar, not a gentleman, not Martin or Lewis. But still trying to make life fun and funny.
    Bruce Diamond

    Holy. Friggin’. Cow.

  7. That’s really meta fun!

    And this is me holding out hope Wil Wheaton gets cast as Lt. Kerensky :)

  8. Congrats! I was thinking it would be a movie or t.v. movie, but a limited (mini) series is basically a long movie, in the British tradition, so that should work nicely. Can’t wait to hear who gets cast.

  9. Kerry – Hello! I grew up in Portland, OR and now live in London. I am an editor and I enjoy travel, history and beer.

    Wow, that’s fantastic news! Congratulations!

  10. That is some grade a irony there. Can’t wait to see it. Good luck with the adaptation

  11. The material is perfect for a limited series. This is absolutely fantastic – I’m so happy for you, John! Now I get to recommend the book to all my friends *again*!!!

  12. Donna Leonard – Southern California – I like to write, read, knit, crochet, watch movies, watch way too much television, listen to music and play Drawsomething 2 somewhat obsessively, not necessarily in that order. You can find my irregular blog at: 3 kids: Twenty-three-year-old boy/girl twins, and a thirteen-year-old girl. 3 cats: fourteen-year-old female, three-year-old female, and a two-year-old male
    Donna Leonard


  13. John Samuel – Australia – An anime fan from the dim, dark, days of synopses and fifth generation VHS copies. I write a range of reviews at "Pirates of the Burley Griffin", check the blog for more.
    John Samuel

    If this was any more recursively meta, the universe would collapse.

    I’ll take the risk.


  14. Awesome! Should be fun. Although if you can stop Fox showing it in the wrong order, that would be even better ;)

    Back to back with original ST would be suitably meta.

    Enjoy the royalty checks!

  15. And Exec Producer – doesn’t that translate into more $?

    I want to see the icesharks. Preferably with lasers on their heads.

  16. On-screen sci-fi comedy is fraught with peril. Hope this works!
    Then again, it’s got components of Galaxy Quest and The Voyage Home, so it could work a treat.

  17. When you (eventually) picked Athena up from school after forgetting to do so in your excitement over this news, after your apology, you should have pointed out that this means she can go to the college of her choice.

  18. This made me laugh out loud at work at the awesomeness of the news. And I agree that Wil Wheaton should be in the cast! (Ooh, and Rothfuss as Jenkins is nice casting, too). Congrats, and enjoy your weekend celebration of whatever sort.

  19. Mr. Scalzi as Dahl, Felicia Day as Duvall, Pat Rothfuss as Jenkins…

    And Jeffery Combs as Hester, because I love Jeffery Combs. And Wil Wheaton as Hanson.

    Have William Shatner as Abernathy and Leonard Nimoy as Spock–I mean, Chief Science Officer Q’eeng. And Simon Pegg as West, and Karl Urban as the doctor whose name I always forget, because unfortunately the original Bones and Scotty are dead. And Jonathan Frakes as Kerensky, because humor.

    That would probably max out the parody. I would pay to see that in theaters, mutiple times.

  20. Holy moly. This sounds like the threshold to the really big-time, all medianized and stuff. If you get a jet like Clancy can we buy seats to the next Worldcon?

  21. I love the idea of Redshirts as a limited-run or mini-series, but I have no idea how they could make the concept work over the course of multiple seasons.

    I guess that’s why Shestack and Kwapis get the big bucks.

  22. You know John, with all the dough you’re clearly rolling in, I don’t think it’s right to continue charging extra for the premium content on the Whatever.

  23. In related news, the coverage of the announcement in Gawker’s sci-fi blog io9 initially misspelled the name of the book/show in the most cringingly hilarious way possible. They have fixed the headline but the error lives on in the post’s url:

    I am in primary celebratory phase right now, pending the announcement of the length of the Limited Series and the composition of the cast. I suspect Wheaton is camping out at the FX offices as we speak…

  24. I see they’re still looking for the best writer for the project. Hmmm, I -do- still have my dusty old WGA card in a drawer somewhere. And my sole screenwriting credit (for ST:TNG) is actually kind of pertinent. But would I really want to try and drop back onto that path of meat-grinder competiveness? (Probably not. I’m sure Shestack and Kwapis are already receiving queries from writers who are actually still active and agented.)

    I may actually give the idea some time as a thought-experiment, though. I think REDSHIRTS would be difficult to do right, but easy to do badly. The main narrative could be an enjoyable farce. But I’ve always thought that it was the addition of the Codas that gave REDSHIRTS extra heart and depth and soul, and made it stand out from other metafictional farces.

    But how to take something odd-but-acceptable in a published book (larger main narrative with connected short stories included at the end of the book) and turn it into something suitable for a television limited-series? I think one would have to somehow take the Codas and weave them into that main narrative so the sub-stories of the Codas developed at the same pace as the main narrative.

    That would make writing REDSHIRTS for television a lot more complicated and difficult. My fear is that the project will end up taking the easy way out and just say “Dump the Codas”.

    – – –

    Actually, if I could adapt any book I wanted for movies or television, it wouldn’t be REDSHIRTS. (Sorry, John.) It would be Alexander Berkmann’s PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST. I actually pitched the idea a few times when I got called out to meet with producers over scripts I’d submitted. (“What else ya’ got?” they’d always ask.) The pitch got some “Hmm, interesting,” responses, but nothing beyond that. (Berkmann was, to put it lightly, a difficult protagonist in his own life. The tagline I pitched for the idea was “Hero. Monster. Fool.”)

    – – –

    A note of pragmatic cynicism for everyone: One thing you learn trying to be a screenwriter (after the ST:TNG sale, I spent several years trying to sell movie scripts) is that for a project to actually reach completion in Hollywood, there are a thousand things that have to go right. And there are TEN thousand things that can go wrong.

  25. Ryan Boren – Dripping Springs, Texas – #ActuallyAutistic parent and retired tech worker. Equity literate education, respectfully connected parenting, passion-based learning, indie ed-tech, neurodiversity, social model of disability, design for real life, inclusion, open web, open source. he/they
    Ryan Boren

    Reblogged this on Ryan Boren.

  26. Wait – did someone pitch it as being like “Game of Thrones” in space or something?

    Because I’m not sure how you’re going to squeeze in 20 minutes of boobs, beheadings, and exposition over scenes of graphic lesbian lust into the story…

  27. Okay. When i saw this, I had an actual attack of uncontrollable squeeing and flailing in delight. Then I realized how odd it is for me to be so wildly excited because “OMGOMGOMGOMG NOW I’M GONNA BE ABLE TO WATCH THAT BOOK I READ ON TV!”

    But, y’know, whatever. Fun doesn’t have to be logical. *recommences flailing*

  28. Oh. George Takei…as all of the male random redshirts (Chen, Davis, Weston, the guys who got eaten at the station, the guys who got killed by evil spider monsters, Sid Black (in a flashback), et cetera).

    Because fucking awesome.

    Alternatively, have him play Abernathy, and use William Shatner for the redshirts. Because George Takei’s still in great shape, and he could stand to lose his shirt a few times.

  29. So…
    A television series
    based on a book
    about people who come to realize that
    they’re characters in a book
    about characters who come to realize that
    they’re characters in a television series

    I think a small part of my universe just collapsed into a singularity.

    (p.s., congratulations!)

  30. I can’t wait for the making-of special about the series based on the book about the series etc. Not to mention the years-later docudrama (see An Adventure in Space and Time) about how it came to pass that they made a series about…

    If there really are a true infinity of universes, then for every universe there’s another in which the people of the first universe are characters in a book, series, or book about a series. And that’s true of the second universe too…

  31. “If Jorge Luis Borges had been a staff writer on the original Star Trek, he would no doubt have concocted a story like Redshirts.”

    I know it’s part of the producers job to be all gushy, but dayum…

    So how does it feel to be the Borges of Star Trek?

  32. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me


  33. aztraph – Indiana – I fix, hack, build, bake, write, play, math. If i can't fix it, it pretty much can't be fixed. There are two mathematical impossibilities in the physical universe, zero and infinity. debates welcome.

    Dear John: Wow. I never thought I’d ever start a letter saying THAT. I have just finished re-reading my hard backed copy of Redshirts that I ordered from your local bookstore that you were nice enough to sign for me. what can I say, I am a fan.
    My first impression of it wasn’t a good one, and had left it on the shelf until the recent announcement of it becoming a series. I can’t tell you how many times I had gone through Androids dream, Fuzzy nation, agent to the stars and the old man’s war series. I even went through your short story for metatropolis. These stories were so good I couldn’t even imagine you writing crap, so I decided I’d give redshirts another try. I hope this means my pallet has matured because I now realized how good it is, and for such a hard concept to put into words (it made me think a little more than your other stories).
    An amazing talent you have (and one that I am trying to develop) is one that allows you to take on an individuals point of view so completely, so personally, it is truly believable (the point of view, not the talent).
    I look forward to the stories that come out of the series redshirts, I hope they do it justice.

Exit mobile version