Syfy is close to picking up George R. R. Martin’s Nightflyers for a series, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Universal Cable Productions and the Universal owned Syfy channel are negotiating with Netflix for the second broadcast syndication rights domestically and the first rights for international streaming.
Martin’s Nightflyers is based on a novella he wrote in 1980. It was made into a forgettable movie in 1987, although it did star Michael Praed, who is best known as the soulful Robin Hood in Robin of Sherwood. The story involves a group of academics who use the earth’s most advanced ship, the Nightflyer, to intercept an alien vessel. On the way, they have the mother of all computer problems. Nightflyers is a novella, not a long book or series of books, so setting it up as a series will take some thought.
Martin’s work is extremely popular right now. There are no less than four spin-offs of Game of Thrones in development (maybe a fifth). George R.R. Martin is co-writing two of them. A Wild Cards series is also in development. He will not be involved with the production of Nightflyers, due to his exclusive deal with HBO. He is producing Who Fears Death, which is a novel by Nnedi Okorafo, for HBO. Who Fears Death won the World Fantasy Award for best novel in 2011. It is wonderful to see so much success for Martin, but he still needs time to finish Winds of Winter!
Syfy will be adding Nightflyers to its other scripted series: 12 Monkeys, Wynonna Earp, Van Helsing, The Expanse, Killjoys, Z-Nation, Channel Zero and The Magicians. Unfortunately, Dark Matter was recently cancelled. Other new shows will be Krypton, a Superman prequel, and Happy!, which is based on a graphic novel from Grant Morrison. It’s still uncertain as to whether the new Tremors will happen.
Jeff Buhler, of Jacob’s Ladder, wrote the script and will executive produce. Robert Jaffe, who wrote the script for the 1987 film Nightflyers, will also produce. Dan Cerone, from The Blacklist and The Mentalist, will be the showrunner. Mike Cahill, who directed the pilot for The Magicians for Syfy, will direct the first episode of Nightflyers. There is no word yet on who will be starring in it.