Nightflyers review: George RR Martin's politically-charged sci-fi thriller reveals the seeds of 'Game of Thrones'
Coming from Jeff Buhler, the science fiction space adventure with a dash of horror is based on a book of the same name, by George R. R. Martin
'Game of Thrones' (GoT) fans will have you convinced within minutes, there are few things that could compare to the magnificence of the HBO show, but SyFy's latest series, 'Nightflyers', will have you believe otherwise. Coming from Jeff Buhler, the science fiction space adventure with a dash of horror is based on a book of the same name, by George R. R. Martin - who also wrote the books that 'GoT' is based on.
This, all the more, convinces us - especially after viewing the first episode of 'Nightflyers' - that this show could be just as gory, along with some equally politically-charged lines of conspiracy, as 'GoT' is, thus potentially making up for the void of not witnessing the seven kingdoms engaging in sinister battles over the Iron Throne post 2019.
As of now, the first episode has established some of the basics. The title comes from a spaceship set in the year 2093, which goes into outer space to make contact with aliens as all human life has ceased to exist on our planet, Earth. It is here that the cards are brilliantly laid out by both Martin in his original novella from the 80's, and also the creator of the latest series adaptation - Buhler. While there are some significant differences between the book and the show, it is these differently set sub plots that have us convinced 'Nightflyers' has some major horror/political conspiracy potential, much like 'GoT.'
The best part about the spaceship are the experts traveling in it. They ought to be rational individuals with clear and sorted thought processes, but turns out they are pretty irrational beings border-lining on some level of lunacy - all of them with a crazy, bloody backstory.
From a weirdo Peeping Tom captain who only presents himself in the form of a hologram - much like the lord of the light in 'GoT' - to ex-lovers with unresolved issues (a favorite source of vengeance in 'GoT'), the resemblances are there and strikingly well put. The many levels of whispering that range from angry to miffed also hint at the fact that the blood and gore we saw in the first five minutes of the cold open for episode one, wasn't going to be the only resemblance 'Nightflyers' shares with 'Game of Thrones.'
Given Martin wrote 'Nightflyers' before his 'Songs of Ice and Fire' saga, which 'Game of Thrones' is based on, this leads us to the crazy, possibly far-fetched, and absolutely speculative theory that maybe writing 'Nightflyers' was the first step towards how the idea of 'Game of Thrones' came to be in the author's mind.
Come to think of it - both share an ensemble character list and the main source of horror is not an exterior force of nature. While GoT saw its antagonists in the forms of brothers betraying sisters and sons killing their fathers, in 'Nightflyers', it's a person (or potentially an AI) among the people traveling in the very same spaceship.
And, let's be real; though in a prospective near future of the planet, artificial intelligence could rise to mastermind ruling over humans, a sinister plot can't really pan out without good old-fashioned political conspiracies hatched between humans themselves.
And, that is exactly what makes this season of SyFy's 'Nightflyers' all the more riveting - the way it is all about to pan out. For starters, we know it's definitely not going to be the cheesy wreck that the poor excuse for a film adaptation the 1987 film of the same name was. And that's quite the blessing indeed!
'Nightflyers' airs on SyFy, with episodes one to five debuting Sunday, December 2, through Thursday, December 6, at 10/9c. The next installment of episodes, from episode six to 10, will arrive on Sunday, December 9, through Thursday, December 13, at 10/9c.