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How About ‘Top Chef 2050’?

When SyFy says ”Imagine Greater,“ does it really mean a reality cooking show?


Llisten to Mark Stern, Syfy’s Executive Vice President for Original Content:
“In regards to reality, we’re developing all sorts of ideas, and there is an opportunity to push the envelope a bit with the new brand; to see where ‘Imagine Greater’ might take us. That said, as with our scripted programming, anything we do needs to fit within a speculative genre, and the idea that we’re celebrating the imagination. So, if we were to do a ‘cooking show,’ it definitely wouldn’t be a normal, conventional cooking show. “
A science fiction talk show?
A fantasy cooking show?
More than a few people are wondering if they’ve lost it over there at that the geek division of NBC and Universal. This move sure isn’t going to please the fans who’ve been up in arms since the net changed its name to something that looks like it’s pronounced “siffee.” But is it really all that out there?
As for a talk show, the old Sci-Fi Channel used to have one. While I don’t remember the name, it was a panel show with four or five speakers who would discuss the latest movie, TV show or sci-fi trend. Sort of like "The View" with ubergeeks and Harlan Ellison supplying the Whoppi Goldberg snark.
The show didn’t last, but if anything the market has improved for a talk show/infotainment show with a sci-fi fantasy slant. They certainly wouldn’t run out of material. Nearly all the big tentpoles have at least some fantasy elements attached.
It’s the Sci-fi (or Syfy) cooking show I’m trying to wrap my brain around. And I’m a foodie. I love "Diners, Drive Ins and Dives," "Top Chef" and "No Reservations." I also love sci-fi and fantasy. But mixing the two? How would that work?
Some of the exotic cuisines of the world rival anything a fantasy author could dream up, but that territory is already well staked out. Examine cutting edge equipment? All well and good, but most home cooks just want a new microwave, not an immersion circulator.
Maybe re-create great sci-fi fantasy meals. You could get medieval (literally, and yes I’m using that term correctly) and re-create the feasts from "Game of Thrones." You could dine like James Bond — the Fleming books are chock full of 1960’s gourmet dining scenes.) Or you could do the "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" challenge and find out if brisket of blowfish really does taste like lamb (as opposed to neurotoxin.)
Of all those ideas, I can’t see any of them lasting more than three episodes.
So yes, SyFy, I do smell what you’re cooking. There’s a heavy scent of “Throwing Anything Against the Wall” with a soupcon of Development Hell.


Michael Lee is a novel writer, blogger and freelance journalist living in L.A. He's been a judge for the prestigious PAGE Awards and blogs about his two biggest passions, screenwriting and food, at Screenwriting Foxhole and To Cook and Eat in L.A., respectively. Lee is also a co-author of "The Insider's Guide to Screenwriting" and has just published his first novel, "My Frankenstein."