And holy space aliens, it looked like it had everything going for it. For starters...
>> From the mind of George R.R. Martin, comes the psychological thriller, Nightflyers <<
Whoa! Okay, SyFy, you have my attention! I mean George R. R. Martin wrote the 1980s novella the series was based on and he described it as (paraphrasing) "a haunted house on a starship." Hey, I'm there!
The year: 2093
The setting: The starship Nightflyer, the most advanced ship ever built
The premise: Deep space expedition to the first contact with an alien species.
The stakes: Save humanity from its dying planet.
What could possibly go wrong? Right?
Well...sadly...just about everything.
As sci-fi fans go, I'm pretty easy to please. Give me a decent, imaginative, well-executed sci-fi story and I'm usually all in. This one should have been an easy home run. But my first clue that something--many somethings--might have gone seriously amiss started with the first trailer.
My summary of the issues, keeping this as un-spoilery and generic as possible:
Flat characters that I was supposed to care about and couldn't. Weirdness even beyond this SFR writer's levels of tolerance for weirdness. Derivative "hey, I've been here before" scenes ala The Shining, 2001, Contact and Alien. Things that made no sense. Things that were supposed to be revelations, and came across more like "What the ef?"
And a crew that was just too, TOO over the top.
- A captain who is a projection...except when he isn't
- A genetically altered superhuman
- A malevolent AI
- A secret robot
- A psychotic psychic man-boy mind stalker who has to be in isolation to stop him from mentally torturing his crew mates, and who, naturally, keeps escaping or being set free to run amok and blow up people's minds
- A brooding, deeply troubled science guy type who is heading the expedition
- A female navigator who has a connection to the ship--and I do mean connection--as in "plugs in with a cable"
- And the Bee Queen
To mention just a few. And some of the characters are more than one of these things.
And then there's the gore. Lots of gore. Real gore. Imagined gore. Torched flesh and floating entrails galore gore.
In a word...ick!
I should have had a clue where it was headed when the Episode 1 opening scene was actually something from the end of the mission--a blood-spattered female crewmember tries to escape an axe-wielding male madman. So she commits jugular harikari with the future equivalent of a handheld buzzsaw to escape a more horrendous fate. Yes, you read that right. That was the first scene. Talk about a story going nowhere. And dying a slow, horrible death while getting there.
Was there anything to like about it? Well...um...the episode titles?
"All That We Left Behind"
"Torches and Pitchforks"
"The Abyss Stares Back"
"White Rabbit" <<< here's where I stopped
"The Sacred Gift"
"All That We Have Found"
So, as mentioned, I only
I recorded the entire season, but my delete button will be put to good use.
As you probably guessed, Nightflyers scores a NO GO/DNF in giant glowy neon letters. Save yourselves and run far, far away from this hot mess in space.