George R.R. Martin’s Nightflyers is headed to television, courtesy of Syfy. Considering the wild success of HBO’s Game of Thrones TV show, it was only a matter of time before more of Martin’s literature found its way onto the small screen. Long before he began his epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire, the collection that spawned Game of Thrones, Martin was among other things a prolific sci-fi author, who created a considerable body of work ripe to be mined for TV-worthy stories.
Among Martin’s science fiction works, one of the best-regarded and most adaptation-ready is Nightflyers – a novella originally published as part of a 1985 short story collection. Nightflyers has in fact already been adapted as a feature film, and now the story will be wending its way to television with some intriguing names on-board in a creative capacity.
Syfy has announced that it, along with Universal Cable Productions, are developing what is being categorized as a supernatural thriller based on Martin’s Nightflyers. The project will be executive produced by a team that includes Doug Liman, Gene Klein and David Bartis of Hypnotic, Alison Rosenzweig and Michael Gaeta of Gaeta Rosenzweig Films, Lloyd Ivan Miller and Alice P. Neuhauser of Lloyd Ivan Miller Productions, and Jeff Buhler. A producer credit goes to Robert Jaffe, who co-produced and wrote the screenplay for the 1987 film adaptation. The new Nightflyers will be written by Jeff Buhler and is officially summarized as follows:
Set in the future on the eve of Earth’s destruction, a crew of explorers journey on the most advanced ship in the galaxy, The Nightflyer, to intercept a mysterious alien spacecraft that might hold the key to their survival. As the crew nears their destination, they discover that the ship’s artificial intelligence and never-seen captain may be steering them into deadly and unspeakable horrors deep in the dark reaches of space.
Among the executive producers listed, the most interesting name is Doug Liman, the producer/director responsible for among other things the sci-fi action films Edge of Tomorrow and Jumper (an Edge of Tomorrow sequel is in the works as well). Screenwriter Jeff Buhler has some experience in the general horror/sci-fi realm himself, having written The Midnight Meat Train and the developing remake of Jacob’s Ladder.
Liman, Buhler and the rest of the creative team behind Syfy’s Nightflyers should have no trouble surpassing the feature film version made in 1987, starring staple ’80s actress Catherine Mary Stewart. With its limited budget and horribly-confused script, the ’87 film ended up a total disaster despite the still-obvious strength of Martin’s source material. Plans to adapt Martin’s story In the Lost Lands with Milla Jovovich attached to star were revealed two years ago but the project doesn’t appear to have moved forward. Martin himself is still working on his next Song of Ice and Fire book, The Winds of Winter… we think.
In addition to Nightflyers, Syfy has also just ordered up a Superman prequel show titled Krypton, set on the titular planet 20 years before its destruction.