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Dean Devlin explains how science fiction of the past created a shorthand for SYFY's 'The Ark'

The Ark airs on SYFY every Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET.

By Josh Weiss
American actress Sigourney Weaver in the role of Ripley in the film Alien (1986); Tiana Upcheva as Eva Markovic in The Ark

The word "derivative" often carries a negative connotation, implying a sense of unoriginality and borderline plagiarism. With that said, treading in the creative footsteps of those who have come before you isn't always a bad thing. When used as a precise storytelling tool, the utilization of universally recognized genre imagery can help streamline a plot and remove the need for extraneous exposition.

How to Watch

Catch up on The Ark on Peacock or the SYFY app.

This was the philosophy employed by Dean Devlin on his new SYFY series, The Ark, which follows the crew members of an interplanetary vessel carrying humanity's last hope of survival.

"I don't think you can do science fiction honestly in a vacuum because there's been so much great science fiction work done. You're standing on the shoulders of giants," he explained during a recent interview with IGN. "To deny the connection is a fantasy because there's nothing you can do where people won't feel like, 'Oh, there's elements of this from there.' So my feeling has always been embrace it. Embrace the history of this because it gives you a common language."

RELATED: ‘The Ark’ co-creators Dean Devlin & Jonathan Glassner on crafting a deep space ‘pressure cooker’

He then provided a specific example, citing the introductory moments of The Ark, which depict a room full of people in cryo-sleep. Not exactly original within the genre, but the viewer immediately understands the situation without having to be told outright.

"If you've never seen science fiction in your life, you won't know what those are. But if you have, which I think most people will have who wanna watch this show, will go, 'Oh, those are like the sleeper pods in Alien' or, 'Oh, those are like the ones in Passengers.' There's a language, so I don't have to stop and educate the audience, 'Here's how cryogenics work.' I think it allows you to tell a story in a more fluid way when you just accept the fact that there are connections between what you're doing and what was has been done before."

Devlin serves as co-showrunner and executive producer alongside fellow co-creator Jonathan Glassner. Marc Roskin and Rachel Olschan-Wilson of Electric Entertainment also serve as EPs. Jonathan English of Balkanic Media and Steve Lee are producers.

The Ark airs on SYFY every Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET. New episodes are available to stream on Peacock the day after they premiere.

Looking for more sci-fi content? Check out shows like Resident Alien, Brave New World, Project Blue Book, Eureka, Heroes, Intergalactic, and more streaming now on Peacock.