AMC is developing a sci-fi show from the writers behind Arrival

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During the Television Critics Association press tour, AMC announced a slate of eight new shows that it’s putting into development, according to Deadline, which includes a project based on a story by Ted Chiang, whose novella Story of Your Life was the basis for Denis Villeneuve’s movie Arrival.

Liking What You See is being developed by Arrival’s screenwriter, Eric Heisserer, with Chiang as a consultant. It’ll be based on Liking What You See: A Documentary, which Chiang published in his collection, Stories of Your Life and Others in 2002. The story is set in the near future where members of a community called Saybrook undergo a procedure called calliagnosia, which prevents them from perceiving beauty. The story plays out like a documentary, and its characters discuss the pros and cons of this procedure in a media-saturated world.

In addition to Liking What You See, AMC announced that it’s adapting seven additional projects being put into development, including an adaptation of Victor LaValle’s Nebula-nominated novella The Ballad of Black Tom, an untitled project from Rainn Wilson; Shock Theater, a sci-fi / horror B-movie anthology show; Underbelly, a “deep dive into the dark-side of pop culture”; In The Middle Of The Street, an adaptation of a play called Dot; The Age of Miracles, where Earth’s rotation begins to mysteriously slow down; and Wicked West, a “nonfiction horror anthology” from Blumhouse, the company behind Get Out.

AMC hasn’t picked up any of these shows for a series, but it is utilizing the same script-to-series approach that it’s using with a recently-announced adaptation of Joe Hill’s horror novel, NOS4A2. This scripts-to-screen approach uses a writer’s room to develop a season’s worth of scripts, and then greenlight the show if it’s deemed acceptable.

By bringing on Heisserer to once again adapt one of Chiang’s stories, it’s clear that AMC is looking to replicate the qualities that made Arrival into an enormously satisfying film: Chiang is one of the science fiction’s best authors, and Heisserer did an excellent job adapting what many consider to be an unfilmable story for the silver screen. Hopefully, it’ll be as ambitious and engaging as Arrival turned out to be.

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