Saturday, November 17, 2012

From The Idea Hole: Angel City and Xenoworld

Speaking of Power Rangers, a few months ago on my podcast, the Dirty Sons of Pitches, my friends and I pitched gritty reboots of classic kids shows, and nerd that I am, I pitched an updated take on my Mighty Morphin former heroes. The basic idea was to tell the story as if it took place in the real world, and from the perspective of the townspeople of Angel Grove, not the superheroes. Giant monsters would bound through town destroying buildings and stomping on people, and we'd all just live in abject fear until this mysterious force that we have no way of relying on comes to save us. Every week would be a new 9/11, but with robots, and we'd just get used to it and live on with our lives. A few months later on a different show, my colleague Eric pitched a realistic take on Pokemon and how the inclusion of little super powered monsters would really effect society and geopolitics. I liked both of these ideas and thought that they were sufficiently different from their source inspiration, so eventually I thought of a way to divorce them from the shows that inspired them, to come up with two original properties. The first I envision as a movie, the other as a series.

1: Angel City - The giants have invaded, but always one at a time for some reason (which I'd have to think would be a plot point, so far I'm thinking its just one entity re-incarnated over and over again, trying to reclaim its land Ancient Indian Burial Ground style). Anyway, the constant presence of giant monsters has split America into two factions, those that desire safety by living below in vast underground cities, and those who wish to risk life above, fortifying their homes and creating massive defense systems (read: giant robots) to protect themselves. Both sides develop in different ways culturally and vie for infrastructure space, generally antagonistic to each other, though largely leaving each other alone. The story would be sort of a cross worlds romance with a woman from the topside (dubbed Uptown) and a man from below (Downtown) meeting and falling in love despite their preconceived notions about one another, and in the process learning the secret of the giants and possibly saving the world.

The man would be a stifled, boring sort who works at a dead end job and has very little passion in his life, until he meets a free spirited young woman when a giant robot crashes through the ground, temporarily joining the two worlds. This is the first time he's seen the sun with his own eyes. She in turn is brave by necessity, but can't settle down, because she's lived through the destruction of her environment so much that she sees everything as transitional and has no sense of stability. The idea obviously would be that the massive battles would eventually fall away into the background to make way for the human drama.

2: Xenoworld - I think the best way to do this would be a live action series with CGI monsters. The idea is its our world as it is now, except that maybe ten years ago, a crashed alien ship was discovered with an ark aboard carrying the DNA of hundreds of different breeds of creatures that can be reconstituted at the push of a button. Now these creatures, called Xenos and seemingly programmed to help humans, have become ingrained in our society, trained as pets and to use their super abilities to aid in various well suited tasks. Unfortunately, the exploitation of these animals has led to some disturbing trends. Many are left abandoned and go ferel, breeding in the wild, and others are used for illegal underground fighting rings. In a nod to Digimon, Xenos have the ability to merge with humans, giving them their powers, which one can do if licensed for a particular job (a city worker maintaining the city's power grid with an electrical controlling Xeno for example), but this is also used by criminals, and in another tier of superhuman underground cage fighting.

The story would follow the leader of a government taskforce assigned to monitor and police Xeno activity. He would be a guy who is naturally skeptical and suspicious of aliens, but reluctantly gets one for his son as a pet, without realizing that his son intends to train it to fight in the illegal tournaments. Also I have to think the presence of the Xenos was a prelude for an intended invasion, which would set up a mythology going forward. And maybe he's eventually forced to bond with a Xeno by his superiors, introducing the idea that letting one into your body can be addictive and change you psychologically. Basically a live action, gritty version of Pokemon for adults. If that's not a Syfy channel original series waiting to happen, I don't know what is.
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