Sleep deprivation is just a way of life when you’re a night owl freelancer with a pair of three-year-old twin boys, so I’ve definitely found myself wondering on more than one occasion about how much more work I might get done if I could remove my need to sleep. But if Adrian Barnes’ 2013 novel Nod is to be believed, a world without sleep ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. Now we may get to see that notion explored at length, as Deadline reports that Fox has just given a script commitment to a TV series adaptation of Nod.
Nominated for the 2013 Arthur C. Clarke Award, Nod is set in a world where nearly the entire population of the planet has mysteriously lost the ability to sleep. No one knows why those few who still can, still can. Weirdly, the sleep deprived don’t actually feel tired, but that won’t matter eventually. The human body needs to sleep, and if deprived of that recuperative process long enough, bad things will begin to happen. Just as in Barnes’ novel, the potential Fox series will focus on one particular couple. Here’s the description from Deadline’s report:
[Nod] revolves around Tanya and Paul, an ‘inter-somnial’ couple — she, Awakened and flourishing, and he, one of the remaining few who are still handicapped by the need for sleep. But when signs of deprivation start to show among the Awakened, the bonds of friendship and love get tested in unexpected ways — because if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Okay, the whole “inter-somnial” thing is trying too hard, but otherwise the concept has a lot of potential. The core mystery of why people have stopped sleeping would seem to limit how long the series would run, or at least how long it could run without somebody finding a cure, assuming they’re sticking with the notion of sleep deprivation eventually leading to psychosis and death. Removing that limitation would eliminate the ticking-clock need to find a cure, but it would also remove some of the tension inherent in the concept.
All I know is this whole thing is reminding me of that Next Generation episode “Night Terrors,” which scared the hell out of me as a kid. Remember this bit?
The dude handling writing duties is Jason Richman, whose resume includes such forgettable big-screen outings as Bangkok Dangerous, Swing Vote, and Bad Company. (The one with Anthony Hopkins and Chris Rock? Anybody?) In more recent years he wrote for the 2010 cop drama Detroi 1-8-7 and Lucky 7. So, nothing that really fills us with confidence, but nothing that guarantees we’ll be skipping it either.
Then again, this is a science fiction series being developed for Fox. Chances are it’ll be gone within a season whether it’s good or not!