Fox is going back to its sci-fi roots with “Them,” an hourlong alien-themed project in the works from helmer Jonathan Mostow (“Terminator 3”) and scribes David Eick (“Battlestar Galactica”) and John McNamara (“Profit”).
Circle of Confusion’s David Engel and David Alpert also are exec producing via CBS Paramount Network Television.
Project is based on the graphic novel “Six,” written by Michael Oeming and Daniel Berman. Eick and McNamara are writing the script for the TV take, exec producing with Mostow.
Mostow is attached to direct and exec produce the project, which could mark his first major foray into TV.
While producers are trying to keep a lid on some key details, basic premise of “Them” involves a sleeper cell of extraterrestrial terrorists who take the shape of humans. Their mission is compromised when they start experiencing human emotions, which act like a drug on the aliens.
“On a surface level, it’s a really cool science fiction thriller,” Mostow told Daily Variety. “But underneath, it’s a very provocative show that’s really going to explore what it means to be human, to be a person.”
Indeed, Eick said, much as “Battlestar” is a “metaphor for Iraq, foreign policy and how we view our enemy, ‘Them’ is about the war on terror, writ large.
“The scariest thing about terror cells is how decentralized they are — so their moves are almost impossible to anticipate.”
While the producers are calling the aliens “terrorists,” McNamara said that’s just a shorthand.
“They don’t blow things up. There’s nothing overtly nefarious about them,” he said.
Mostow, McNamara and Eick have been developing “Them” for several weeks now. Fox landed the project by attaching a penalty to its script commitment.
In addition to “Them,” Mostow is teamed with Rene Balcer for a police drama that’s also in the works at Fox.
Helmer, whose other credits include “U-571” and “Breakdown,” is writing the feature “Submariner” for U.
As for Eick, in addition to working on the third season of “Battlestar,” scribe is developing “The Bionic Woman” for NBC (Daily Variety, Oct. 10).
McNamara inked a new seven-figure overall deal with CBS Par earlier this year (Daily Variety, March 31), leaving Warner Bros. TV.
Eick and McNamara are repped by Endeavor; Mostow and Circle of Confusion are repped by CAA.