'Smallville' Alum Flies to 'Flash Gordon'


The Sci Fi Channel has made "Flash Gordon" flesh.

"Smallville" actor Eric Johnson will portray the popular adventurer for the network's latest original series "Flash Gordon," based on the 1930s comic book franchise originally drawn by Alex Raymond.

"Flash" will be a contemporary update of the intergalactic exploits of the titular Flash, the lovely Dale Arden and Dr. Hans Zarkov, whose genius and rocket-building capabilities allows the trio to travel among the stars. One of their adventures takes them to the planet Mongo, which is under the domination of the tyrant Ming.

Peter Hume ("Charmed," "Cruel Intentions II") will write the first two episodes, which Rick Rosenthal will direct. Casting for the other parts is currently underway.

Production will begin in May in Canada on the first 22 episodes of the hourlong series, with an eye on an August debut. RHI Entertainment, a producer of Sci Fi's "Legend of Earthsea" miniseries and the upcoming "Tin Man," will produce.

While "Flash Gordon" has been heard as a radio serial and seen on TV and on the big screen in various incarnations, many Gen-Xers fondly remember the campy 1980s Mike Hodges-directed film starring Sam J. Jones as the hero and featuring a stirring soundtrack by Queen.

Johnson, 27, is best known for playing Lana Lang's quarterback boyfriend Whitney Fordman on "Smallville," who had a rivalry with Clark and later died in combat. He's also guest starred on "Criminal Minds," "The Dead Zone," "Ghost Whisperer" and "The Unit."

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