It’s still too early to call this a trend, of course, but it seems that TV execs have figured out that a solid way to deliver science fiction to mass audiences is through limited “event series,” rather than the traditional watered-down, super-sized seasons. You won’t find us complaining, either. Audiences can begin looking forward to a series adaptation of Robert Charles Wilson’s award-winning novel Spin, which is being spearheaded by the genre-based company Universal Cable Productions, along with Northern Exposure star Rob Morrow and Rabbit Hole producer Leslie Urdang. Before you read anything else, focus all of your thoughts on Spin making it to a quality network; it won’t have any effect, but at least you tried.
Published in 2005 by Tor Books, Spin is the first in a doomsday trilogy that follows a familiar outline, but still stands out from the pack with excellent characters and concepts. Best friends Tyler and Jason, along with Jason’s twin sister Diane, were in the throes of adolescence when the Earth was affected by what would be come known as the Big Blackout; stars disappear, manmade satellites fall in droves, and the sun becomes nothing more than a hot giant paperweight. It took years to figure out that the planet had been wrapped in a “spin membrane” that impacts time. Every second on the planet translates to almost four years passing on the outside. As you can imagine, this creates some problems.
As adults, Jason joins his father in scientific pursuits, while Tyler goes into medicine. Diane, meanwhile, hooks up with some loon in a cult that forms in the Blackout’s aftermath. (There’s always a cult, isn’t there?) It’s discovered that mankind only has five years left before the sun metaphorically goes belly up, taking everyone else with it. Efforts are made to learn more about the Spin, but will answers come in time?
Only the rights have been acquired at this point, and no networks, writers, or directors are attached. That said, Universal Cable Productions is responsible for USA series like Suits and Covert Affairs, as well as the Syfy shows Warehouse 13 and Defiance. (Also, Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome.) So no on should be surprised if either Syfy or USA picks up on this. As for who would make it, Morrow is no stranger to directing, as he’s worked on Necessary Roughness and Numb3rs.
Spin won the 2006 Hugo Award, and could easily be one of the more exciting projects to hit the air in the next year or two. Assuming we don’t get sucked up into some giant black swirling mass.