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Science fiction is in the middle of a huge resurgence on TV, with Syfy leading the pack as more and more networks are willing to loosen the reins on storytelling enough to let some speculative fiction get through. Genre icon J. Michael Straczynski, creator of the cult series Babylon 5, just signed on for his second upcoming TV series, and it’s on a network you probably wouldn’t expect: Spike TV.
According to Deadline. Straczynski has been brought in to write Red Mars, an adaptation of author Kim Stanley Robinson’s Hugo and Nebula award-winning novel trilogy that includes 1993’s Red Mars, 1994’s Green Mars and 1996’s Blue Mars. The series will be produced by Vince Gerardis, a co-executive producer on Game of Thrones, with Robinson on board as a consultant. All-star team here, I’d say.
Assuming the TV series sticks to the basic arc of the novels, Red Mars will initially take place on board the spacecraft Ares, where there are 100 people on board to serve as the first colonists of Mars and one of its moons. (But get The 100 out of your minds.) This enormous squad is filled with genius scientists and other necessary members of a colonization team. The second and third novels obviously go deeper into things, but the story of mankind vs. nature on a universal level is present throughout the tale. (Robinson also put together a short story collection called The Martians which may also play into the story being told here.)
Having gotten his start writing for He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, J. Michael Straczynski hit even bigger genre heights when he started penning scripts for the 1980s Twilight Zone revamp and The Real Ghostbusters. He brought Babylon 5 to the world in 1994, along with several other shows that were far less memorable. (Luke Perry’s Jeremiah, anyone?) He’s spent the better part of the last decade co-penning Hollywood hits like Thor and World War Z, and his next project, the Netflix series Sense8, was created by the Wachowski siblings.
These are three of the most beloved books in the genre, and although Spike isn’t the most natural place for them to go, the network has been working quickly to get them moving forward ever since they picked up the rights to the project back in October. And although J. Michael Straczynski’s track record isn’t perfect, he’s definitely got the brain to terraform our TV landscapes with more exciting sci-fi.