Microsoft is financing a new original TV series based on the BBC’s cult-classic sci-fi show Blake’s 7, according to a Financial Times report that cites anonymous sources familiar with the company’s plans.
The original content push is part of Microsoft’s strategy to compete with other video services that are already starting to produce their own original or exclusive content, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. It also has ambitions of building out an interactive advertising network, dubbed Microsoft NUads, using the Kinect’s motion-sense technology. The Xbox 360 is already among the most popular streaming media devices. And despite being a game console, entertainment activity actually exceeds gaming on the Xbox 360 — (something Microsoft was keenly aware of when designing its next-generation console the Xbox One, too).
If true the show would be one of a handful of original series Microsoft is bringing to its Xbox Live platform. Back in May the company announced that it was partnering with some big names/brands on original content, including a Halo TV series from legendary director Steven Spielberg and multiple shows produced by the NFL. Also, Microsoft is producing an interactive music series called The Music Room. And like all of these shows, the new Blake 7 series would be exclusive to Xbox Live.
Adding Blake’s 7 to its lineup of original programming would be a huge win for Xbox Live because it could potentially lure in sci-fi geeks that might not bother with the platform. The show has a cult following of fans who still remember the original Blake’s 7 that aired on the BBC in the ’70s. Created by Terry Nation (aka the guy who created Doctor Who’s icon villains, the Daleks), the original show was set in the future and followed the adventures of Roj Blake, who steals a spaceship while being deported from Earth to a prison planet for crimes he didn’t commit.
In related news, Netflix is also working on its own original sci-fi series Sense8, which is being produced by Matrix directors the Wachowskis siblings and veteran sci-fi TV creator J. Michael Straczynski.