Wednesday, January 21, 2015

‘Game of Thrones’ in space, ‘Harry Potter’ in space, other space-set dramas coming

The Syfy channel is starting to run ads for its upcoming science-fiction drama “The Expanse,” which has been described as “‘Game of Thrones’ in space.”
As I’ve noted previously, Hollywood writers sometimes put a fresh spin on old stories by adding “in space” to the name of a well-known work.
For instance, the classic “Star Trek” episode “Balance of Terror” (1966) is really just the World War II submarine film “The Enemy Below” (1957) set in outer space. The episode also may have been inspired by another submarine film, “Run Silent, Run Deep” (1958).
The original “Battlestar Galactica” TV series (1978-79) was billed as “‘Wagon Train’ in space,” with robotic Cylons replacing the marauding Indians.
The science-fiction horror film “Alien” (1979) was pitched to studio executives as “‘Jaws’ in space.”
The 1997 sci-fi horror movie “Event Horizon” was sold to studio execs as “‘The Shining’ in space.”
In 2009, ABC aired a short-lived science-fiction series called “Defying Gravity” that was pitched as “‘Grey’s Anatomy in space.”
For more examples, check out my April 2013 article “Movies where the setting was changed to ‘in space’.”
More such “in space” stories are in production or have been optioned.
The Expanse” is scheduled to premiere later this year. The 10-episode series is based on the New York Times bestselling book series collectively known as The Expanse, which starts with “Leviathan Wakes.”
Meanwhile, Keanu Reeves is attached to star in a sci-fi romance movie called “Passengers,” which was billed as “Adam and Eve in space.”
In 2012, Warner Bros. acquired the screen rights to the young adult novel “The Planet Thieves,” which was pitched to the studio as “Harry Potter in space.”
And finally, a long-in-development “Star Wars” television series has been described as “‘Deadwood’ in space.” But that ambitious series is likely to fall by the wayside as Star Wars owner Walt Disney focuses on new movies in the franchise.

Photos: Scenes from “The Expanse.”

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