If you’re a real fan of George R.R. Martin, you know that there’s so much more to the author than Game of Thrones. In fact, there’s more to the author than fantasy. Martin has dipped his brilliant toe into both science fiction and horror, and in one particularly memorable case, he did both. Nightflyers is a novella about a crew stranded on a spaceship and the horrors they encounter. The book hit shelves in 1980 and was later released as a feature film. Now, SyFy is adapting Martin’s terrifying novella to the small screen, and we got some insights into the show, thanks to New York ComicCon.
The Nightflyers panel consisted of Executive Producers Jeff Buhler, Gene Klein, and David Bartis, plus actors David Ajala, Eoin Macken, and Gretchen Mol. The creative team gave us a lot of info about the upcoming series, starting with how the series would premiere. And yes, I said “how,” not just “when.” You see, SyFy will release the first season of Nightflyer with fan binging in mind. The first episode will drop December 2nd. Then, for next four days, a new episode will drop every single night. SyFy will air marathons of the first five episodes for the remainder of that week. Then, on Sunday the 9th, SyFy is doing the whole thing again! That’s right, in fourteen days, there will be 10 all-new episodes of the science-fiction horror series. For anyone unable to catch those premieres, the whole thing will be available for streaming on Sunday December 16th.
After that exciting announcement, the discussion turned to the Nightflyer cast and the characters they play. First up was Eoin Macken, who plays Karl D’Branin. D’Branin is a dedicated scientist who leaves the comfort of his family to head into outer space, all in a desperate attempt to save humanity. Gretchen Mol is Dr. Agatha Mattheson, a psychiatrist and handler of the godlike telekinetic passenger on the Nightflyer, Thale. Finally, David Ajala plays Captain Roy Eris, the Nightflyer’s enigmatic captain. Yes, Nightflyers contains a lot of characters and plot lines. I’ll try to break it down for you.
Nightflyers begins with a dying earth. A deadly, persistent virus has spread from nation to nation, threatening to wipe out humanity entirely. There’s just one hope. Floating above planet Earth is an alien vessel, dubbed by the crew the Vulcan. Attempts to communicate with the species have been unsuccessful, but Dr. D’Branin has a plan. With the help of a powerful psychic, who had previously been locked away from civilization, D’Branin plans to get the ship Nightflyer up close to the vessel. Then, hopefully, they’ll be able to communicate.
But things go wrong very quickly. Immediately, strange things begin happening on the ship. The superstitious crew starts to blame the psychic Thale, under the care of Dr. Mattheson. This leads to tension between the militaristic crew and the scientists on board the Nightflyer. As if that’s not bad enough, the captain of the Nightflyer is an extremely shady character, never appearing except in the form of a holograph, and always watching his crew through the on-board cameras.
If you’re wondering how I got all this info on the series, well, I did get a bit of an advanced screening. The SyFy team asked to keep reviews of the series under wraps, but I will say this: You know what series you’re getting into after the first five minutes. For more on the series, you’re just going to have to wait until December 2nd. But then, as I said before, that’s pretty much all the waiting you’ll be doing.
Do you think that SyFy and George R.R. Martin can pull of a science-fiction horror series? What are your hopes for Nightflyer? Will you be tuning in for the unique schedule or binging after it’s all out? Let us know on our Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter pages. For more NYCC coverage, and for all your horror TV news in general, keep lurking at Nightmare on Film Street.