NIGHT­FLY­ERS

A Ge­orge RR Mar­tin show set in space? This isn’t go­ing to end well for the Night­fly­ers crew…

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It’s Ge­orge RR Mar­tin… in space! The mor­tal­ity rate hasn’t changed…

The outer space set­ting of Ge­orge RR Mar­tin’s Night­fly­ers may be very dif­fer­ent to Wes­teros, but one con­stant re­mains. “There’s a lot of death,” laughs ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Gene Klein.

“We knew that there’d be fans of Game Of Thrones who were go­ing to ex­pect that,” adds fel­low EP David Bar­tis, “and we felt like there was an obli­ga­tion to de­liver on that.”

Based on Mar­tin’s 1980 novella, it­self part of the au­thor’s wider “Thou­sand Worlds” uni­verse, the show sees a bunch of as­tro­nauts and sci­en­tists aboard their ship, the Night­flyer, leav­ing a fu­ture Earth in the throes of en­vi­ron­men­tal catas­tro­phe to make first con­tact with an alien species known as the Vol­cryn. It’s no spoiler to say that things don’t quite go ac­cord­ing to plan – es­pe­cially see­ing as the se­ries’ bloody open­ing scene finds the lone Dr Agatha Math­e­son (Gretchen Mol) bat­tling off a psy­chotic fel­low crew mem­ber, be­fore the show flashes back to re­veal how they got there.

“There’s [el­e­ments of ] Hitch­cock’s Psy­cho, Ri­d­ley Scott’s Alien, Stan­ley Kubrick’s The Shin­ing…” ad­mits showrun­ner Jeff Buh­ler. “Those were the big [in­flu­ences] that we pulled from. We wanted to cre­ate a show that was re­ally fun for hor­ror fans. And if you’re not a to­tal hor­ror fan geek, you’re go­ing to watch it and go, ‘Oh my God, this is an in­cred­i­ble mis­sion. Who are these peo­ple?’ and get sucked into the world. It has to work on both lev­els.

“Also, in a hor­ror, tra­di­tion­ally you don’t deal with re­ally big ideas, but we deal with some re­ally big ideas here,” he adds, “like what is the course of the hu­man race? What does the fu­ture of our Earth look like? How are we go­ing to use tech­nol­ogy to ad­dress these is­sues? And should we use tech­nol­ogy to ad­dress these is­sues? Have we earned the right to ex­pand beyond our planet or not? Those are very science fic­tion themes that don’t nec­es­sar­ily fit neatly into a hor­ror bucket.”

hu­man na­ture

For Jodie Turner-Smith, who plays ge­net­i­cally en­gi­neered su­per­be­ing Me­lan­tha Jhirl – “It’s not as much about the ways she’s per­fect as the ways in which she’s not per­fect” – the hu­man race might be just as much of a threat as what­ever’s killing peo­ple on the Night­flyer.

“They set off to save hu­man­ity, but who would save us from our­selves?” she says. “I think that’s kind of al­ways the con­ver­sa­tion with hu­man­ity: what’s re­ally more harm­ful to us as hu­mans? Is it re­ally what’s out­side of us, or is it re­ally us?”

“The ques­tion is kind of what you’re will­ing to sacri­fice,” adds Eoin Macken, who plays astro­physi­cist and mis­sion leader Karl D’Branin. “Every­body’s ver­sion of what

they’re will­ing to sacri­fice for the greater good – or for them­selves – is very sub­jec­tive and very dif­fer­ent. So what you may think is the right thing to do im­pinges on some­body else. Karl D’Branin is ob­sessed about this idea of find­ing these aliens and hop­ing that they can help save the world, but there’s also a very per­sonal rea­son for that. When your own per­sonal goal en­croaches on other peo­ple who have the po­ten­tial to die, the ques­tion is, ‘What’s it go­ing to cost them?’” Go­ing by Ge­orge RR Mar­tin’s past form, we’re go­ing to guess a lot…

Night­fly­ers streams on Net­flix from 1 Fe­bru­ary.

It was al­ways good to take op­por­tu­ni­ties to lie down. She was con­vinced he al­ways got the slightly shinier suit.

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