As soon as it was announced, Syfy’s space opera miniseries Ascension became one of our most anticipated new shows of the upcoming television season. Though we have to wait until this late this fall to actually lay eyes on the series, we’re going to be excited the entire time. That much was a given, but once we laid eyes on this new trailer for the show, we got even more pumped up.
Of the wide array of shows Syfy currently has in development—we’re working on a group article that details them all—Ascension is one of the most exciting and promising, and this teaser fits that profile. Called a six-hour event series, this story begins in 1963, at the lead edge of the global space race. That’s where this video picks up. You start off with what seems like a slice of idyllic American life, complete with a JFK speech playing over the top. Then you start to notice things that are ever so slightly askew, just a little bit off, like that American flag with the stars in a different pattern. Eventually you realize that you’re not on Earth at all, that you’re on a starship hurtling through the depths of space.
According to the premise, in 1963 the U.S. Government covertly launched a ship, called Ascension, into space with hundreds of men, women, and children on board. Their century-long mission is to populate a new world. Nearly halfway there, 50 years in, the murder of a young woman, and the mysterious nature of the crime, leads the residents of the ship to examine the true nature of their excursion.
From this trailer, you can’t help but get a Battlestar Galactica vibe—it doesn’t help that this is the same network that was behind that show and that BSG’s Tricia Helfer is also one of the actors. She plays the wife of the ship’s captain. The contained nature of the setting, the one-way mission, and the fact that there’s a mystery going on, may all sound familiar to you, though there probably aren’t any angry robots hunting the crew. I did say probably.
This also makes it sound totally doable as a series, despite the big themes and ideas that it entails. Once you have the key sets constructed, you won’t have to worry about new locations or travel expenses incurred by filming on location. You have a limited cast since no one can just stop by for a visit in deep space. Philip Levens (Smallville) wrote and created the project, and brought Jason Blum of Blumhouse Productions along for the ride. The force behind low-budget, high-profit films like Paranormal Activity and The Purge, Blum will certainly see that they squeeze every last penny out of their budget.
Ascension will reportedly air in November and continue through December. That makes sense when you see the teacher write the date at November 2014 on the chalkboard. We’re especially excited to see some legitimate space-themed science fiction come to our TV sets. There’s been a regrettable dearth of that in recent days.