One of the most exciting sci-fi TV announcements in recent memory was the news that Kim Stanley Robinson's legendary Mars trilogy -- Red Mars, Green Mars and Blue Mars -- was in development as a TV series at Spike, with Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski at the helm. We first heard about Straczynski's involvement back in January, though, and since then we haven't heard much about how the show's coming along. Development is never a guarantee of a show, so there's always been that nagging worry that Straczynski and Spike (a network relatively inexperienced with scripted drama) wouldn't be able to make it work.
Well, worry no more.
Variety reports that the network has given Red Mars a straight-to-series order for 10 episodes, with Straczynski serving as showrunner and writer. Production is expected to kick off next summer, so we'll likely hear some casting news over the next few months. Spike hopes to premiere the series in January 2017.
For those of you unfamiliar with the source material, the Mars trilogy is a set of almost universally acclaimed novels chronicling the colonization and terraforming of Mars over the course of about 200 years. It covers a wide variety of characters and viewpoints, it's immensely detailed and immersive, and it explores just about every hard sci-fi idea you could want in such a story. It's unclear whether Spike has any ambition to carry the show all the way through to Blue Mars, which would be a challenge, but for Red Mars Straczynski and company will focus on the first group of colonists as they struggle to survive on a harsh new world and struggle to work together.
“The heart and soul of ‘Red Mars’ is about humanity. This group of strangers must find a way to live together and survive under the most daunting conditions mankind has ever faced to become the first living generation of Martians. They will be each other’s greatest source of strength — and if they can’t coexist — the greatest reason for failure,” said Sharon Levy, Spike's executive vice president of original series.
So, barring some kind of production disaster, another hard sci-fi show is heading our way in a little more than a year.