Tired of merely being the softcore sibling to HBO, Cinemax is making genuine strides toward launching its own original programming and finally getting some of that pay-cable prestige. Of course, so far its efforts have been limited to Femme Fatales, a thriller anthology series that features mysteries starring “strong female protagonists”—protagonists who just so happen to be scantily clad and participating in adventures with a “strong erotic component” that are narrated by a “sexy Rod Serling,” as befitting Femme Fatales' basis on the men’s magazine of the same name. So that doesn’t really count.
However, Deadline reports that the network is now developing another new scripted series, one that’s not sexy at all, unless you find terrorism sexy: Strike Back, based on the UK series (which was in turn based on Chris Ryan's novel of the same name), stars Animal Kingdom’s Sullivan Stapleton as a former ass-kicking secret op agent for the U.S. who teams up with a British military unit (led by Fringe’s Philip Winchester) to combat an international terrorist group. X-Files writer-producer Frank Spotnitz is collaborating on the project with EastEnders writer Richard Zadjilc, suggesting the former will provide all the political intrigue and action, while the latter will handle all the baby-swapping subplots and references to tea. Anyway, it’s Cinemax’s first genuine foray into primetime drama in its history, which may finally help viewers realize that Cinemax broadcasts things before 11 p.m.