Syfy is working on developing a number of potentially fantastic shows to augment their steadily growing stable of original content, which already features the likes of Continuum, Z Nation, Defiance, and Helix. Out of all of these, however, we may be most excited by, and interested in, Ascension. The cast features a number of strong actors, including at least one sci-fi fave, and it’s an ambitious adventure set in space, which is always something we want more of. There hasn’t been too much revealed yet, but as we approach the premiere, we now have the first trailer for the limited series.
Granted, this is a very short look at Ascension, and it doesn’t reveal much about the plot, but there is still a good deal to dig into here. There’s the basic set up, a massive ship has been launched in order to insure the future of the human race, which is similar, thematically at least, to Christopher Nolan’s upcoming Interstellar. We know that on this ship there is a horrible crime, which you also get hints of, which you get when you see Brad Carter (True Detective) freaking out and holding a gun on people.
Ascension is inspired by the real-life Project Orion, which existed under John F. Kennedy’s administration. In an alternate history, in 1963, fearing the escalating Cold War, the U.S. launches the USS Ascension, a massive ark type ship that houses 600 people, with an aim to populate a new world called Proxima. The timeline explains some of the strange, even dated seeming elements you see on board the vessel in this footage. As you can imagine, with that many people in that close of quarters, things don’t always go smoothly, and 50 years into their journey—which makes it just about the present day, and also near the point of no return—there is a murder on board, the first in the history of the journey. There’s an investigation, and the voyagers start to question the nature of their mission.
Brian Van Holt stars as the captain, and Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica) plays his strong, tough, power-hungry wife. Right now this is envisioned as a self-contained miniseries, written by Smallville’s Brian Van Holt. However, BSG was in a similar boat, originally planned as a limited event series, so you have to imagine that, if this is successful, Syfy has figured out a way that they can expand the series expand on things and continue the story, even without Cylons.
The first of Ascension’s six hour-long episodes debuts on Syfy on November 24.