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As George R.R. Martin and his fans prepare to witness the end of one television adaptation based on one of his works, HBO's Game of Thrones, another is gearing up to take its place. His 1980 novella Nightflyers, which first made TV headlines last year when Syfy ordered a pilot (with Netflix expressing interest in joining the series as a co-producer), has officially been ordered to series, and the full cast has been announced.
A story set within the most powerful spaceship in the universe, Nightflyers was previously reported to be getting a ten-episode first season, though the official announcement wasn't specific on that front. But there is good news. It was also confirmed that Netflix is indeed co-producing, and we now know who will be playing the cast of brilliant scientists, and one impressive telepath, that will attempt to make discoveries and bring this upcoming series as close to Game of Thrones' popularity as possible. .
Leading the Nightflyers cast is actress Gretchen Mol, who may best be known to TV fans for her role as Gillian Darmody on Boardwalk Empire. Mol will play Dr. Agatha Matheson, and she's being top-billed along with The Night Shift's Eoin Macken in the role of Karl D'Branin, Falling Water's David Ajala as Roy Eris and The Magicians Brian F. O'Byrne as Auggie. There's been no indication which of the ship's crew are scientists and which one is the telepath, and considering some of the character names have been changed from the source material, it's unclear how strictly the adaptation will adhere to Martin's original novella.
For the rest of the casting, we can look forward to seeing Eastenders' Sam Strike as Thale, Teen Wolf's Maya Eshet as Lommie, Fargo's Angus Sampson as Rowan, and The Last Ship's Jodie Turner-Smith as Melantha Jhir. These eight characters will share a shuttle in the upcoming series for Syfy, and they'll be on a search for intelligent life. Things go awry very quickly, and some violent situations go down on the ship that put everyone on edge. If this were a normal science fiction series like Star Trek, everyone would team up to work towards finding the culprit, but since Nightflyers is based on the work of George R.R. Martin, many on the ship obviously begin to doubt and suspect each other. In all fairness, most of them are probably right to suspect others, and its a wonder that more space shows don't end with the crew tearing each other apart sooner or later!
The Blacklist's executive producer Daniel Cerone will serving as Nightlyers' showrunner and executive producer, and Another Earth's Mike Cahill was tapped as the pilot's director. Other people of note include producer Robert Jaffe, who wrote the screenplay for the non-celebrated 1987 film adaptation. The series has also tapped notable Orange Is The New Black director Andrew McCarthy to helm an episode or two in addition to his producer credit.
As has been stated in the past, author George R.R. Martin isn't allowed to be involved in the project due to his exclusivity deal with HBO, but he's expressed excitement about Nightflyers so it's safe to say he's cool with it. Also, Netflix will get first-run distribution rights to the series outside of the United States, but no release date has been given at this time.