It’s got circa-1960s style and spaceships. It’s got con artists in black-tie formal wear and holographic roulette wheels. It’s got a classic casino heist storyline and a self-aware pistol with a sense of humor. It’s got women in cocktail dresses…and one who changes out of hers into a spacesuit in an airlock. Slingers has all the anachronistic juxtaposition a sci-fi fan could hope for in a TV show, and it promises to return a level of playfulness to gritty, naturalistic sci-fi that we haven’t seen since the days of Firefly. If this all sounds too good to be true, it’s probably because it isn’t…yet.
As it currently stands, Slingers is only a concept for a television show, albeit a highly developed one. Created by UK writer Mike Sizemore (a.k.a. Mike Atherton), the potential new sci-fi offering has recently begun to garner quite a bit of buzz on the Internet. In an attempt to generate interest in the show and gather financial backing to begin actual production, Sizemore employed a unique strategy: he released a trailer.
You see, when a writer or producer is shopping around a concept for a TV show or movie to potential backers, it’s common practice to bring along some quality pieces of concept art to help visually convey the ideas. More recently, some even elect to use quickly-made CGI previsualizations when static sketches or paintings won’t cut it. But Sizemore took this practice one step further by creating what he calls a “sizzle reel” — he assembled a cast, got a director, brought in production designers, and had some great visual effects put together to create a two-minute preview of a show that doesn’t exist yet.
The sizzle reel had been quietly making the rounds within the industry, but it really didn’t hit the public consciousness until graphic novel writer Warren Ellis (Transmetropolitan, Planetary) posted a link on his blog to a site where someone had embedded a raw MPEG of the sizzle reel. Within hours, Sizemore decided to “officially” release the sizzle reel on Vimeo. Shortly after the release, the story began to break on popular sci-fi-oriented blogs. So far, the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. io9 heralded the hopeful projects as “the slick, poppy, fast-paced and well-edited television show that science-fiction lovers deserve” and the SCI FI Wire staff raved “if we had the money, we’d [fund] it ourselves.” Do the powers that be at SCI FI Wire’s parent network, Syfy, feel the same way? Perhaps we’ll find out in the near future. Regardless, the impressive stir surrounding Slingers suggests that it should be able to find a home somewhere.
So check out the sizzle reel above and let us know your take. What’s your initial reaction? What do you like or dislike? Is this a show you’d like to see?