The SciFi Channel have released a glimpse at how they're going to turn classic comic strip The Phantom into a sci-fi series, and their idea seems to be to... drop everything recognizable about the character?

Lee Falk's newspaper strip hero, created in 1936, is known as a non-superpowered costumed hero fighting evil in the jungles of fictional country Bengali who uses his wits, natural strength and agility and two guns to get the job done. By contrast, SciFi's take on the character gives him a bulletproof suit that also acts as an exoskeleton to give him increased strength and speed. Oh, yeah, and a Matrix-esque trenchcoat. But he might need that, considering he's apparently going to be up against an "experimental mind-control program" in the network's backdoor pilot next year. Because, you know, a non-experimental mind-control program would just be taking things too far.

This isn't the first time that the Phantom has been given an update; Marvel Comics revamped the character in a similar fashion in the mid-90s, and there was a series about an animated futuristic Phantom called Phantom 2040 around the same period. Apparently, the best way to make the Phantom work for modern audiences is to come up with a different concept altogether and just keep the name and color scheme - a plan that, admittedly, gains credibility when you consider the fate of the faithful 1996 movie.

Get a sneak peek at the title character from SCI FI's The Phantom [SciFi Wire]