In 2009, the Sci-Fi channel rebranded itself as the Syfy channel. With the name change came the move away from hardcore genre fiction in favor of lighter, more family-friendly series. While successful for a time, the increased interest in science fiction and fantasy amongst general audiences called for another shift in their programming schedule. That's why last year, Syfy recommitted itself to serious science fiction programming.
Thus far, the network has made good on its promise. Series such as 12 Monkeys and the Ascension miniseries have proven the network capable of producing quality science fiction programming. Syfy also has a ton of promising adaptations in the pipeline, from Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End to Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, the latter produced by Steven Spielberg's Amblin TV. Now SyFy is set to adapt another famous science fiction novel: Dan Simmons' Hugo Award-winning Hyperion.
Syfy announced today that it would be teaming up with Oscar-winning producer Graham King, Oscar-nominated producer Bradley Cooper, and Todd Phillips to develop the best-selling novel as an event series. The three will serve as executive producers with Itamar Moses, who is also writing the screenplay.
For those unfamiliar, Hyperion is the first book in a series of novels called Hyperion Cantos. The series takes place mainly on the planet Hyperion, a fantastical setting that's home to electricity-spewing trees and vast subterranean labyrinths. The story follows a group of seven travelers on a pilgrimage to the Time Tombs of Hyperion, each traveler sharing his or her own tale throughout the trip. The book was originally published in 1989 and is considered one of the 'must-read' novels of the science fiction genre.
Bradley Cooper has been associated with the adaptation of Hyperion since 2011, when he revealed that he had written a spec script with Conal Byrne. Cooper has since showed great reverence for the work on many occasions, and commented on the news as follows:
"It is an absolute honor to enter into the world created by Dan Simmons that is arguably one of the greatest works of science fiction, and help realize it for television audiences.
A film adaptation of the first two books in the Hyperion Cantos series has reportedly been in development since 2010. The two books together span nearly 1,000 pages, and the density of the material has made many question the possibility of a successful film adaptation.
Fans have generally agreed that the story needs to be told in longer form to completely capture the overarching themes and story, so it's a relief to find out that even if a film adaptation is still in the works, Syfy's event series version will give Hyperion the time and attention it deserves.