Strap us in and color us blue with excitement: the first stills from Syfy's adaptation of Philip José Farmer's Riverworld series are out. They're full of shirtlessness, cleavage and blue Alan Cumming. Pop in your dreamgum, and check them out.
Ah, marketing — you certainly know how to get our attention, tie the boys up and we're there, especially if it's Tahmoh Penikett. But all kidding aside, Riverworld is a huge undertaking for the Syfy channel. It's a wild story about the place we all end up after death, focused around a man separated from his fiancée and his struggle to get her back. All with the help of other famous dead people, like Mark Twain. It's a fantastical epic, and it will be quite an adventure, if they can pull it off. We've got our fingers crossed. Until its release in 2010, here's a new, and longer, synopsis.
When American war zone journalist Matt Ellman (Tahmoh Penikett, Battlestar Galactica) and his fiancée, Jessie Machalan (Laura Vandervoort, Smallville), are killed in an explosion, Matt awakens, separated from Jessie, on the banks of a river snaking endlessly across a mysterious new plane of existence. On Riverworld, everyone who has ever lived on Earth, ever soul throughout time, has been reborn along the banks of a seemingly endless river. Determined to locate Jessie, Matt aligns with Tomoe (Jeananne Goossen, Falcon Beach) , a 13th century female warrior, Allegra (Romina D'Ugo, Hairspray), a 15th century courtesan of shifting alliances, and American novelist and Riverboat captain Samuel Clemens (Mark Deklin, Justice), better known as Mark Twain. With a full crew of adventurers, they embark upriver to understand where they are, why they are here, and to what unknowable end the river winds.
Under the guidance of the peculiar Caretaker (Alan Cumming, Tin Man), their quest takes them below to a torturous Cavern of Souls and the Underworld prison, above in a Zeppelin piloted by a brilliant German engineer, and forward to cross paths with renowned explorer Sir Richard Francis Burton (Peter Wingdfield, 24) who has joined forces with Francisco Pizzaro to conquer and destroy Riverworld. For Matt, each unfathomable day, each nefarious encounter, only deepens the conundrum of Riverworld and raises more questions…What happened to Earth and when? What is the purpose of the burning Orb? What powers are contained in the infamous Dark Tower? And why is their every move being followed by the watchful eye of an alien being? The answers are waiting beyond the endless swells of Riverworld.
"Charting a territory somewhere between Gulliver's Travels and The Lord of the Rings" (Time), Philip Jose Farmer's Nebula Award-winning saga becomes a spectacular miniseries event-a feast for the eyes, the mind, and the heart of everyone who longs to explore the meaning of life, the mysteries of death, and everything that lies between.
Watch a video of Alan Cumming going blue for his character over at RHI.