Today’s New TV Show

Posted: October 4, 2010 in Braak

I didn’t talk to Holland about this.  I don’t talk to him about everything!  Sometimes I just kick ideas around.  This one is plainly derivative — but also fun!  Extremely fun.  You don’t even know how god-damn fun.

Colonel John Henry is the son of the American folk hero.  He joined the US Army, where he was improbably successful (this is the TV, so we can fudge history a little bit) and studied engineering with the Army Corp of Engineers.  In 1890 he’s recruited by a secret agency in the US government (managed by the Civil Service Commission, under the jurisdiction of Teddy Roosevelt).

The purpose of this agency is to investigate some weird stuff going on in America, in particular weird stuff connected to an event that occurred in England nearly a century ago.  A renegade British scientist (a brilliant but mercurial young man named George Edward Challenger) has presented a disturbing report to the agency:

In 1795, a meteorite struck the ground outside of a small town in Yorkshire. Subsequent geological investigations have shown the meteorite to possess some unusual properties.  By 1835, forty years after the event, the population of Wold Newton had dropped to 50%.  By 1865, it had become a ghost town.  The British government doesn’t know where anyone went.  The original inhabitants of the town and their subsequent descendants have, apparently, displayed somewhat unique and abnormal abilities.  Moreover, the body of the meteorite is almost completely gone; the only remaining samples are being held in the Natural History Museum in London.  Speculation is that the inhabitants of Wold Newton somehow took the meteorite with them.

Challenger believes that the people from Wold Newton have, over the past hundred years, been relocating to the United States.  And, he believes that they’re planning something meant to happen on the one-hundredth anniversary of the meteorite’s landing — meaning Colonel Henry has until 1895 to locate and investigate the descendants of Wold Newton.

Henry is aided in his investigations by…let’s say…a hard-eyed, angry (and probably super-racist) gunslinger and a well-dressed, cosmopolitan Native American detective, formerly attached to the Texas Rangers.   Their first mission (or set of missions?) takes them to the Mexican border to investigate the enigmatic disappearance of a miner in southern California.

They’re helped by a local woman named Rafaela de la Vega — a woman descended from an early 19th-century Californian freedom fighter, who is herself an expert escape artist and swordswoman.

That is the TV show.


Teddy Roosevelt!

Andrew Carnegie!

The Pinkerton Agency!


Nikola Tesla!

This show shall be called…something.  I don’t know, guys, am I supposed to think of everything?

  1. Jeff Holland says:

    Well, I’d watch it, for the three Friday nights it was on Fox before it got canceled.

    Which reminds me, Is Brisco County Jr on netflix instant viewer? I should check. I’m in the mood now.

  2. braak says:

    I think they should put it on SyFy. We could shoot the whole thing in Mexico to keep production costs down.

  3. Jeff Holland says:

    Holy crap, I just now realized I’ve gotten comfortable seeing it written “SyFy.”

  4. deb says:

    If you put it on SyFy, it wouldn’t even matter if it was derivative. And it would be one of the only things on SyFy that I could probably watch without wanting to stick something in my eye!

  5. Civil servant spies. I like.

    “Henry is aided in his investigations by…let’s say…a hard-eyed, angry (and probably super-racist) gunslinger and a well-dressed, cosmopolitan Native American detective, formerly attached to the Texas Rangers.”

    CALAMITY JANE! (Yes, I know Deadwood had a hand at this, but Robin Weigert is so good and she was in and out of the series so much it’s possible?)

    Also, yes, awesome. Sci-Fi western in the great tradition of Wild Wild West, Legend, and Firefly. Wait, only one of those did well.

    Also, the cosmopolitan native american should be Cherokee, perhaps he became cosmopolitan before the trail of tears, or his family did, so he’s not accepted into other native american cultures as easily as the hard bitten alcoholic gunslinger or the hard working poor John Henry. I do love the vague similarities of town name to Woking from WotW.

  6. Mexico? Yeah, keeping costs down by bribing the drug lords not to kill you. Fuck that, shoot it in Calabasas and Nevada and other long term fake western towns that look “real enough”. Or eastern Europe.

  7. Carl says:

    I’d watch everything about this. I agree with Expatriate: it sounds like the vibe of the thing would fill that void in all of us left by FIREFLY. Western Paranormal Mystery is a novel fusion of genres. Plus, Teddy Roosevelt kicks complete and utter ass. Even though he’s only a periphery character here, the concept is suited to the scale of his personality and degree of bad-assery, while being only vaguely historical. Thumbs up all around.

  8. Teddy Roosevelt should not be like Martin Sheen in West Wing, if anything he should be like House in the episodes from Wilson’s and Cuddy’s perspectives. Or better yet, Charlie. There was no video conferencing then, but likely a rudimentary phone system that Tesla built secretly before Bell. Course, then you also have to play up the fact that it might actually steal bits of your soul everytime you use it. Or maybe just some twist on the telegraph, smoke signal, flashlight morse code…

  9. braak says:

    My idea for the native american was that he’d be a sort of variation on Tonto, from the Lone Ranger, except well-educated and highly analytical. Only, obviously, no one takes him seriously as a detective, so he’s always talking about, “Oh, yeah. Uh, the great wind spirit tells me that this man was probably shot in the back of the head. Oooooh.”

    Also, obviously, there’d have to be a point in the series in which TR, who is primarily a support character for most of it, shows up and just starts walloping guys.

  10. braak says:

    Yeah, Ron Moore is always stealing my ideas.

  11. braak says:

    Man, I’m just thinking of some scene in the middle of the second season, where the bad guys show up and are trying to get to their files or their vault or whatever, and Teddy Roosevelt just chases them through the building with an elephant gun.

    “Son, you just broke into the wrong office.”


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