In Hollywood’s continuing effort to turn every book into a movie or TV series, the Syfy channel has a new project in the pipeline based on an award-winning science fiction novel, and it’s got a couple of successful sci-fi writers behind it. Battlestar Galactica's David Eick is aiming to turn Fredrick Pohl’s Gateway into a series.
A sci-fi classic from 1977, Gateway tells the story of humans discovering long abandoned alien artifacts on an asteroid, which transport people to the far reaches of space. Gateway is the first of several books which deal with the same alien race, called the Heechee, so there would be plenty of material for a series to draw from.
Gateway won several of genre literature’s top awards when it was released, including the Hugo, Locus, and Nebula awards. While Pohl was an incredibly prolific writer from the 1950s until the early 2000s - he passed away in 2013 - very little of his work has been adapted for TV or film. A couple of his stories have been adapted for sci-fi anthology shows in the past, but The Bitterest Pill from the 1980’s reboot of Tales From The Darkside was the most recent. If Gateway makes it to series, and is successful, it would not be surprising to see Hollywood taker a deeper look at his body of work.
Eick, who acted as both a writer and producer on Battlestar Galactica, will serve as the showrunner and is looking at revising a pilot script penned by Josh Pate, who had previously worked on Falling Skies, and the two will be collaborating. Eick has actually worked on Falling Skies with Pate as an executive producer. Pate is also the head writer for ABC’s upcoming drama Blood and Oil, which unfortunately has significantly more oil tycoons than it has space aliens.
While the Gateway series is far from a household name, the same could have been said of Game of Thrones a few years ago. Since this project is only in the earliest writing stages, it’s impossible to know what kind of scale and scope Syfy is looking at, but the source material is expansive enough that a potential series could go on for years just based on the written word. That’s assuming the small screen adaptation would remain similar to the novels. Syfy also has a history of licensing properties and going off in entirely different directions; Haven and 12 Monkeys, we’re looking at you.
We’ll keep our eye on this one and let you know if anything comes of it. It’s a solid idea, and if nothing else, it may expose more people to the classic science fiction work of Fredrick Pohl. That would not be a bad thing.