WGN America Pilots Include Native American Graphic Novel Scalped and Alien Drama Roadside Picnic

Michael Schneider
Scalped
Vertigo Comics

Fledgling basic cable network WGN America, which recently found a hit in the new drama Outsiders, has ordered two more pilots–including one that boasts a predominantly Native American cast.

Scalped is based on a graphic novel from DC Comics' Vertigo imprint, and is set inside a fictional Native American reservation in South Dakota. The project, described as a modern-day crime story, "explores power, loyalty, and spirituality in a community led by the ambitious Chief Lincoln Red Crow, as he reckons with Dashiell Bad Horse who has returned home after years away from the reservation."

Doug Jung (Banshee, Big Love) wrote the pilot and will executive produce, while DC Entertainment's Geoff Johns (The Flash, Arrow) is also an executive producer. Warner Horizon is the studio.

Jason Aaron has written the graphic novel series, which is illustrated by R.M. Guéra. The 60-issue series launched in 2007 and wrapped in 2012.

Scalped would be a true rarity in TV, a show with a predominantly Native American cast. Few shows have even attempted to do so in the past; Sundance TV's The Red Road has probably come closest in recent years.

WGN America also picked up a book for its other pilot order, Roadside Picnic. The sci-fi drama is based on the novel of the same name, by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky.

Roadside Picnic looks at what happens on Earth after aliens come and go, leaving behind a changed world and plenty of mysteries. The show is "seen through the eyes of Red, a veteran 'stalker' who has made it his life to illegally venture into the once inhabited zone and scavenge the abandoned remains of the alien culture."

Jack Paglen (Alien: Covenant) is adapting the book as writer and executive producer, while Alan Taylor (Game of Thrones, Mad Men) will direct and executive produce.

Neal Moritz (The Fast and the Furious) and Vivian Cannon (Preacher) will also executive produce through Moritz's Original Film banner. Sony Pictures Television and Tribune Studios are behind the show.

It's been a busy winter at WGN America, as the network next preps the premiere of Underground on March 9. The network points out that Outsiders cumes 2.4 million total viewers via its four runs.