With a name like the Sci-Fi Channel — even after they transmogrified it into the aggressively stupid “Syfy” — you’d figure science fiction would be a major staple of their lineup. Sadly, you would often be wrong, because the Network Formerly Known as Sci-Fi is more interested in paranormal “reality” shows by the truckload and occasionally-so-bad-they’re-good Saturday night monster movies. Could the winds finally be shifting over at Syfy? Could it finally start living up to its name in a way it hasn’t for a while now? It remains to be seen, but greenlighting miniseries projects based on two works by two of the genre’s titans is definitely a good start.
First up, Ringworld. Larry Niven’s colossal creation is easily one of the most famous science fiction locations of all time, and it’s just begging to be realized up on the big screen. But since that isn’t happening any time soon, we’ll have to settle for our big-screens. Syfy actually tried to develop Ringworld about a decade back, but this new incarnation is under a whole new team. EW reports that screenwriter Michael Perry is adapting Niven’s classic novel, which follows an expedition to explore a cosmic mystery, an enormous ring-shaped construct the size of a million Earths, set around a distant star. Perry has worked on quite a few genre projects in the past, including ABC’s short-lived The River, USA’s The Dead Zone, Millennium, and even American Gothic way back in the day. Those are some decent credentials, so here’s hoping he’s got the chops to bring us the four-hour Ringworld miniseries we’ve love to see.
Childhood’s End is based on the novel by Arthur C. Clarke, which centers around a “peaceful” invasion of Earth by extraterrestrials that results, not in the apocalypse, but in a near utopia. But things are rarely that easy, are they? You can bet the invaders have their own plans for mankind. The Childhood’s End miniseries hasn’t announced a writer yet, but it’s being executive produced by Michael DeLuca (The Social Network, Fright Night).
There’s no word when we might see these, but I’m guessing the earliest would be sometime in 2014. In addition to these two high-profile adaptations, Syfy also has a miniseries adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle from Ridley Scott’s Scott Free Productions.