It’s been a big year for sci-fi on television. January brought the much-anticipated revival of cult classic The X-Files, this summer saw the meteoric rise of Netflix breakout Stranger Things, and Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy’s Westworld has been notching bonkers ratings since its October premiere.
Book adaptations, too, have soared in 2016. The Natalie Portman-directed A Tale of Love and Darkness, Emily Blunt-starring The Girl On The Train, and Harry Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them are among the book-to-film projects that have built buzz in the back half of the year alone.
Now, Syfy is eyeing a doubleheader with a television adaption of Robert A. Heinlein’s Stranger in A Strange Land, as Deadline reports. The 1961 sci-fi novel tells the story of Valentine Michael Smith, a human born on Mars and raised by Martians who travels to Earth in early adulthood. It examines his relationship with Western culture, which he eventually merges with his extraterrestrial roots.
Attached to executive-produce the series are Bradley Fisher (Black Swan, Shutter Island), James Vanderbilt (The Amazing Spider-Man), William Sherak (The Avengers), Scott Rudin (No Country For Old Men), Garrett Basch (The Night Of), Eli Bush (The Grand Budapest Hotel), and Joe Vecchio. Former Lifetime exec Julia Gunn, who oversaw programming for shows like Damien and The Witches of East End, will serve as a co-executive producer. Paramount Television and Universal Cable Productions are developing the series.
Here’s the statement Paramount TV President Amy Powell released, per Deadline:
“This novel has resonated with me since college and there’s a reason it has continued to find new fans for over forty years. Syfy’s understanding of imaginative and futuristic programming is unmatched, making them an ideal partner for this series.”
And here’s the statement shared by Bonnie Hammer, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment Chairman, also per Deadline:
“The story is timeless and resonates more than ever in today’s world. As a fan, I can’t wait to see it come to life as a world-class television event.
This signals the third co-production between Universal Cable Prods and Paramount Television, following USA Network’s Shooter and Spike TV’s Pendergast. Shooter premieres this month, while Pendergast is still in development.
With their previous team-ups’ success yet to be determined, it’s hard to judge how apt the companies’ partnership will be. The original novel was highly controversial at the time of its release, and received mixed critical reviews. It was later entwined with the counterculture hippie movement of the 1960s, and became a bestseller nonetheless.
We’ll keep you updated on Stranger In A Strange Land as more information becomes available.