I was combing through a few old transcripts recently, cleaning up the old hard drive, and came across an interview with Frank Spotnitz from about a year ago, about the DVD release of his ill-fated Night Stalker. At the end of the lengthy chat, which was tinged with all the emotional baggage of the flameout of a series about which he cared greatly, Spotnitz spoke in optimistic tones about his next project, another television pilot, called A.M.P.E.D., which sounded like it tilted heavily toward nature in the age-old nature-nurture debate.
“It’s a pilot I wrote with Vince Gilligan, another one of my
colleagues from the X-Files days,” says Spotnitz. “It’s really scary and funny, and it’s for Spike
TV. It’s about cops in a police precinct who go out every day into a world
that’s changed. The idea is that it’s exactly like our world today except that
a certain percentage of the population has begun to mutate, and the way that
they mutate is completely unpredictable. It depends on your individual DNA.
Quite literally some people are becoming monsters. So the cops go out and never
know what they’re going to encounter every day. It’s got a lot of allegorical
qualities for terrorism and racism, as well as just being a really fun and
entertaining show. We’re shooting it this summer (2006) and I’m not really sure
when they’re planning on broadcasting it.”
Ahh, yes, their plans to broadcast it. Lee Tergesen and Sarah Brown were cast in the pilot, which got underway in October of last year, but Spike TV didn’t pick the series up, and based on all available chatter, neither will anyone else. So it languishes, with Spotnitz’s words a reflection on what might have been, and a reminder that for all its glitz, Hollywood is still mostly of all a town of broken dreams, no-go projects and half-measures.