HBO won the bidding war for J.J. Abrams’ new sci-fi series, Demimonde

Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

A couple of weeks ago, word broke that Apple and HBO were bidding for the rights to a new show from Lost creator and The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams. HBO won the bid, ordering a straight-to-series order for the show, titled Demimonde.

Abrams already has a relationship with HBO, as an executive producer for the network’s Westworld. But Demimonde will mark his first return to television writing since 2008’s Fringe. In the series, a scientist falls into a coma after an accident. Looking through her experiments, her daughter is transported to another world. Her father follows, and they discover a “battle against a monstrous, oppressive force.”

The show is joining Abrams’ already-hefty workload. Last fall, he took over directing duties for Star Wars: Episode IX after Colin Trevorrow left the project. He’s also producing Hulu’s Stephen King-inspired series Castle Rock, the upcoming season of Westworld, and Quentin Tarantino’s proposed Star Trek film, among many other rumored and in-progress projects.

Before he directed big-budget blockbusters like 2009’s Star Trek and 2015’s The Force Awakens, Abrams was known for his work on shows such as Alias, Lost, and Fringe, each of which were loaded down with fantastical technologies and mysteries. Demimonde sounds as though it’ll fit in that category, as well as in the long literary tradition of fantasy stories about people from our world drawn into epic otherworldly conflicts. With Game of Thrones ending in 2019, HBO will be looking to fill a considerable hole in its “fantasy epic” roster, at least until one of its numerous spinoff shows hits, and Abrams’ latest could be designed to appeal to the same audience.


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I keep waiting for this to be revealed as some kind of hoax, my brain just can’t process it as being real.

Yeah is it a confirmed thing now? I can’t tell if it’s just speculative at this point or if it’s actually on it’s way to production.

I wonder what it would be like, maybe back to the original series, a little less special effect heavy and a bit more people centered? Maybe the captain could have a colored first officer that calls everyone m***f*** and they go around fighting evil ninja aliens like Kane in kunfu? Ahh we can but dream.

Yay! The more speculative fiction on tv the better. Cops, doctors and lawyers have had their time in the spotlight.

Doctors and lawyers are some of the most boring professions, who decided to give them lots of shows in the first place

Apple just made more profit in one quarter than any company in the history of mankind has, and is sitting on a pile of $285 billion cash on hand, and they got outbid? Never mind for this, but how the hell do they get outbid on anything, ever?

A least they won Carpool Karaoke…

…and Planet of The Apps, available in Apple Music

I’m assuming they never really wanted it, they just wanted their rival, HBO, to waste as much money on it as they were willing…

Or, Apple just sucks at content, which is the more likely of the two.

Pretty simple. Abrams probabaly took less upfront but knew he would make more on the back end because their are far more HBO subscribers than Apple TV users.

All I know is Apple’s content so far seems absolutely terrible. They are aiming to be the daytime TV of streaming.

Well, it depends how much they want something. They may have all the money in the world, but it doesn’t mean they want to spend it all!

Remember that for Apple the return on investment may be lower. They don’t have a track record for this type of content, nor a platform that is accessible as HBO. Apple would simply draw a smaller audience.

Yes, but isn’t the goal to get more people watching. Netflix and Amazon had the same problem when they had a small number of users and none of their own content. The best way to get more people on board is to start producing great content.

I could even see some things in the future to try to expand the base beyond the Apple ecosystem, maybe offer a discount on AppleTV hardware in return for a subscription (or alternately, bundle a subscription with an AppleTV), or even build an Apple streaming app for Roku, Playstation, etc. They did something similar with the iPod becoming Windows compatible, and iTunes for Windows software and there is some evidence that initiative was successful in pursuading some people to try other Apple products.

I mean yes, it’s going to be a challenge for them, but if they are serious about this then they’re going to have to put up some serious cash (ie. outbid) to get into the game for premium content and say what you will about JJ Abrams, but he represents premium content in the Sci-Fi space.

Not when you are in a bidding war with HBO. This will generate far more profits for HBO than it will for Apple. That is not a position you want to be in during negotiations. It probably made more financial sense to pass.
On the bright side HBO will probably handle a show at this scale better than Apple.
Personally I feel Apple should focus on a few smaller shows in order to create an identity in this space, before jumping to a name like JJ.

her daughter is transported to another world. Her father follows, and they discover a "battle against a monstrous, oppressive force."

Sounds kinda like this one Netflix show

Was thinking that too…

Don’t call it that tho.

I’m all for some more sci-fi, but this almost sounds derivative of Stranger Things.

This sounds interesting. I’m a fan of Fringe and enjoyed the journey of Lost even if it didn’t come together in the end.

Fortunately my cable provider allows me to add and remove HBO easily from my account online, so once a year I subscribe, catch up on the 3-4 good shows on HBO On Demand, and then cancel it because there is really no reason to keep an HBO subscription active, HBO content is a complete waste of money for 11 months of the year.

Given that GoT is not going to have a season this year, I will just wait until 2019 and probably catch up on the first (and maybe second) season of this show too now.

Please have a good ending, JJ. Please.

Alias and Lost, well, lost me with their endings. I know he was really mostly involved with Lost for the first couple of seasons, but still. Please.

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