Space Opera Returns to Television. I Hope.

In 2012 Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey was published. This book remains on my shelf, unread, but filled with the potential to grip my imagination. Now the SyFy (I hate this name) Channel has announced that they have ordered a ten episode adaptation of this book à la Game of Thrones.

Cover art of Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey. Art by Daniel Dociu. Image source: Orbit Books

I’ve heard many things about Leviathan Wakes and The Expanse series in general, both good and bad. There seems to be very little middle ground when it comes to these books. People either love them, and read them rabidly, or hate them, giving up before completing the first book. What does this say about SyFy’s decision to adapt this book? Not much really.

There has been a dearth of good space based science fiction on television for some time now. Fantasy has taken over the public imagination and recently science fiction has been limited to a few dystopian themed programmes that just don’t quite scratch that science fiction itch I’ve had for some time now. Do I have high hopes for this series even though I haven’t read the books yet? Most assuredly. Do I expect SyFy will do a great job of the adaptation? No, no I don’t.

SyFy has a history of creating programmes that attract a moderate number of viewers that enjoy their shows, but never breaking through into the minds of population at large. From what I garner, this show is meant to be their Game of Thrones. I don’t have HBO so I’ve not seen a single episode of Game of Thrones, although I’ve read the first four books, but you’d have to be living on a deserted island in the Pacific to have not heard about how popular this show is around the world. Will SyFy be able to replicate this sort of popularity? Not without some truly ground breaking effort from the entire network.

It sounds as if I’m hoping SyFy will fail, but that could not further from the truth. I have been waiting for a space opera to come to television that was neither Star Trek or Star Wars or some clone of either. Leviathan Wakes presents SyFy and science fiction fans with an enormous opportunity to be involved in something great. What gives me hope is the series will be written by Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby, who wrote Children of Men (2006), which was a brilliant adaptation of P. D. James‘ 1992 novel of the same name. If you’ve not seen Children of Men I suggest you do so at your earliest convenience.

The announcement that Leviathan Wakes will be turned into a television series has pushed this book to the top of my reading list. I look forward to delving into this universe in the hopes of space ships soon to be dancing on my screen. I just hope SyFy can give us something that will engage science fiction fans and non-fans alike. I’m ready for a Game of Thrones quality space opera on my television. I know I’m not alone.

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