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Nightflyers: all the trailers, updates, and commentary for Syfy’s next big sci-fi show

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The Syfy channel will launch its next big science fiction show this weekend: Nightflyers, which is based on a novella by George R.R. Martin. The series follows the crew of a starship — the Nightflyer — as they head out to study an alien starship that is passing through their corner of the galaxy. But there’s something strange about the spaceship, something that will put the entire crew in danger.

This isn’t the first time that the novella has been adapted for film — a film based on the story came out in 1987. Syfy describes its version as the “Exorcist in space,” and the ten-episode series will begin screening on December 2nd, with a new episode each week night until December 13th.

Follow along for all of the commentary, reviews, and news about the series.

  • Feb 20, 2019

    Andrew Liptak

    Syfy has canceled Nightflyers after a single season

    Image: Syfy

    The Syfy channel has canceled its space horror series Nightflyers after a single season, according to The Wrap, just a couple of months after the series aired on the network.

    The 10-episode show is based on a novella by Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin, as the Syfy channel prominently splashed across its marketing in the lead-up to the series. Martin’s novella follows an expedition to an alien starship, during which the scientists and engineers realize their ship is home to a malevolent presence. The series, a slow burn of a horror story, largely asked whether humanity deserves to be saved.

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  • Dec 2, 2018

    Andrew Liptak

    Nightflyers’ showrunner explains why George R.R. Martin’s massive worlds are ideal for TV

    Photo by Andrew Liptak / The Verge, Analog Science Fact and Fiction

    Tonight, the Syfy channel will launch its latest big science fiction show: Nightflyers, based on a story from Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin. The series poses a big question for viewers: does humanity deserve to be saved?

    The story is adapted from a novella originally published in 1980 in the science-fiction magazine Astounding Science Fact and Fiction, long before Martin was a household name. He wrote it to refute a critical statement he read, claiming that science fiction and horror were opposites, and couldn’t be mashed together. “As a lifelong fan of both, that assertion struck me as nonsense, so I set out to prove it wrong by blending the two genres together. Worked out pretty well for me,” he posted on his LiveJournal in 2017.

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  • Nov 30, 2018

    Noel Murray

    Before Game of Thrones and Nightflyers, George R.R. Martin’s work inspired a great Outer Limits episode

    IMDb LIVE After The Emmys 2018
    Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for IMDb

    There are so many streaming options available these days, and so many conflicting recommendations, that it’s hard to see through all the crap you could be watching. Each Friday, The Verge’s Cut the Crap column simplifies the choice by sorting through the overwhelming multitude of movies and TV shows on subscription services and recommending a single perfect thing to watch this weekend.

    “Sandkings,” the two-part premiere episode of Showtime’s mid-1990s The Outer Limits revival. The second iteration of the 1960s science fiction / fantasy / horror anthology was generally more adult than the original (sort of a hard PG-13), but it told the same kinds of creepy cautionary tales, often adapted from the work of some of the era’s best genre writers.

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  • Samantha Nelson

    Nov 29, 2018

    Samantha Nelson

    George R.R. Martin’s Nightflyers asks whether humanity deserves to be saved by aliens

    Photo: Jonathan Hession / Syfy

    Spoilers for the general plot of Nightflyers ahead.

    In the first episode of Syfy’s new series Nightflyers, Karl D’Branin (Eoin Macken), head of a scientific expedition meant to intercept an alien spaceship and establish first contact, talks with xenobiologist Rowan (Angus Sampson) about the mission. Karl views the incredible energy given off by the ship as mankind’s salvation, but Rowan expects the aliens haven’t responded to repeated messages from Earth because they don’t want to talk.

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  • Oct 5, 2018

    Andrew Liptak

    You’ll be able to watch Syfy’s Nightflyers starting on December 2nd

    Syfy will screen the first episode of its upcoming space horror show Nightflyers later today at New York Comic Con. Ahead of the premiere, it announced that the 10-episode series will series will debut on December 2nd; the first five episodes will air between Sunday and Thursday starting December 2nd, while the second half of the series will air the week starting on December 9th. Each episode will be available online as soon as it premieres on television through on demand and via the network’s website and app. The online episodes also won’t be locked to subscribers; anyone can watch them.

    Based on a novella by George R.R. Martin (of Game of Thrones fame), Nightflyers is set on a spaceship, as its crew sets off on a mission to search for extraterrestrial life. When they reach the edge of the solar system, they encounter an unspeakable horror that’s already onboard their ship. Martin described the story as “Psycho in space,” and it’s a show that Syfy has high hopes for. The Hollywood Reporter says that it’s the most expensive show that the channel has put together, and it comes after recent cancellations of space-oriented shows like The Expanse and Dark Matter.

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  • Jul 19, 2018

    Andrew Liptak

    Watch the first trailer for Nightflyers, the George R.R. Martin space horror show

    Today at San Diego Comic-Con, the Syfy Channel hosted a panel with its cast and crew for its upcoming space horror show, Nightflyers, and it showed off the first full trailer for the series. The show, based on a novella by George R.R. Martin, teases the horrors that the crew of an interstellar spacecraft face when they embark on their mission.

    When we got a first look at the show in March, Martin said that it would be like “Psycho in space.” This new trailer teases out a bit more of the story: Earth is dying, the crew of the Nightflyer is going farther into space than anyone has before, and it is humanity’s only hope of survival. But once the mission gets underway, there’s a “malfunction” that kills several people, and the crew begins to realize that there’s something wrong with the ship, and it can’t return to Earth. In Martin’s original novella, the crew is bound for an alien spacecraft, and we’ll see how that figures into the series when the show premieres at some point this fall.

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  • Chaim Gartenberg

    Mar 20, 2018

    Chaim Gartenberg

    George R.R. Martin’s Nightflyers TV show promises ‘Psycho in space’ in its first trailer

    Syfy has released a first look at the upcoming adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s Nightflyers, which will adapt the 1980 novella into a 10-episode television series. While the trailer doesn’t do much beyond show off a few of the actors and offer some behind-the-scenes hype for the show, there’s a clear horror vibe coming across here. As Martin himself teases: “It’s Psycho in space.”

    Syfy is betting big on Nightflyers as a major series. The novella follows the crew of a spaceship — also called the Nightflyer — as they search for a mythical alien species until things go wrong with the ship’s computer and people start dying (as it tends to happen in space horror stories). The novella was already adapted into a film back in 1987, but the TV show is looking to tell an expanded story that’s more true to Martin’s original tale and characters.

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  • Dec 6, 2017

    Andrew Liptak

    George R.R. Martin says Syfy’s Nightflyers casting fixes the previous version's whitewashing

    Last week, George R.R. Martin revealed that the Syfy channel picked up an adaptation of his 1980 novella Nightflyers for a 10-episode first season, and said that if all goes well, the show should premiere in summer 2018. In a new post on his LiveJournal, he commends the production for correcting a longstanding complaint he had with the art for his novella, and the story’s 1987 film adaptation — whitewashing.

    In his post, Martin outlines a bit of Nightflyers history. His original story is about a group of scientists who hire a starship — the Nightflyer — to transport them to an alien starship they hope to study. The three main characters are Karoly d'Branin, the expedition’s leader; Royd Eris, Nightflyer’s captain; and Melantha Jhirl, a genetically enhanced human, who’s described as “a head taller than anyone on board, a large-framed, large-breasted, long-legged, strong, muscles moving fluidly beneath shiny coal-black skin.” Martin later expanded the story, which appeared in a paperback collection in 1985, where for the first time, a cover artist depicted Melantha Jhirl — as a white woman.

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  • Nov 29, 2017

    Andrew Liptak

    George R.R. Martin confirms Nightflyers will be a Syfy series in 2018

    Game of Thrones might be headed into its final season on HBO in 2018 or 2019, but the Syfy channel is hoping audiences will tune in for more adaptations of George R.R. Martin’s writing. On his LiveJournal page, Martin recently confirmed that the network has picked up an adaptation of his novella Nightflyers for a 10-episode first season, which he hopes will air in July 2018.

    In May, Syfy announced it was rebooting with a new look and a slew of new adaptations, including one of Martin’s 1980 novellas. The network ordered a pilot for the project in June 2017, and it was rumored in September to have ordered it to a series. In his post, Martin confirmed the pickup order, and revealed some concept art of the spaceship from the show.

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