George R.R. Martin's Nightflyers has landed a pilot order at Syfy. The Nightflyers TV show's development was announced only last month, but it appears the network liked what they saw and are already pressing ahead with an adaptation of the 1980 novella — one of Martin's most well-regarded works.
Though TV fans are undoubtedly most familiar with Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire from HBO fantasy Game of Thrones, the author has an extensive portfolio of sci-fi epics ripe for Hollywood re-imaginings. In fact, Nightflyers was already translated for Robert Collector's (then credited as T.C. Blake) 1987 feature. Despite the strength of Martin's narrative, however, the film was ill-crafted and poorly received, but now the story is getting a second chance on screen.
The series, written by Jeff Buhler, is a supernatural thriller set in the future, on the eve of Earth’s destruction. According to Syfy's press release for the show, it centers around eight maverick scientists and a powerful telepath who, hoping to make contact with alien life forms, embark on an expedition to the edge of the solar system aboard the Nightflyer, a ship with a small, tightknit crew and a reclusive captain. But when terrifying and violent events begin to take place, they start to question one another — and surviving the journey proves harder than anyone imagined.
The project is executive produced by Gene Klein, David Bartis, Doug Liman, Alison Rosenweig, Michael Gaeta, Lloyd Ivan Miller, and Alice P. Neuhauser. Robert Jaffe, who wrote the 1987 film based on the novel, is also on board as a producer. Martin, who is involved with several of the developing Game of Thrones spin-offs, is not attached, as he is under an exclusive deal at HBO. Here is an official statement on the subject, from Bill McGoldrick, EVP Scripted Development for NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment:
“We are looking forward to diving deeper into George R.R. Martin’s chilling world of Nightflyers. The script that Jeff delivered encapsulates this classic sci-fi horror story and adapts it to a platform where we can truly explore the depths of madness.”
Nightflyers is one of two new Martin literary properties headed to television, following Wild Cards at Syfy sibling network Universal Cable Productions, and along with the spate of Game of Thrones spinoffs, Martin is quickly building a TV empire. But while he's not directly involved with Nightflyers, the show is in capable hands: EP Doug Liman helmed sci-fi action flicks Jumper and Edge of Tomorrow, while screenwriter Jeff Buhler's history in horror — he penned both The Midnight Meat Train and the upcoming remake Jacob's Ladder — should give the series some added suspense. Now, perhaps, Nightflyers can finally get a proper page-to-screen retelling.
A premiere date for Nightflyers has not yet been announced.