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Television Mars Sci-Fi

Spike TV Is Turning Red Mars Into a TV Series (arstechnica.com) 39

An anonymous reader writes: Kim Stanley Robinson's popular trilogy Red/Green/Blue Mars is going to see its first book turn into a TV series produced by Spike TV and is slated for release in 2017. The episodes will be an hour long, and their writing will be led by J. Michael Straczynski, the creator of Babylon-5. According to Variety, "the series will follow the first settlers charged with terraforming a mysterious planet, all of whom have competed to be a part of the mission."
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Spike TV Is Turning Red Mars Into a TV Series

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  • by Nikkos ( 544004 ) on Wednesday December 09, 2015 @10:08AM (#51087863)

    The books were interesting, but pretty boring. Very slow moving.

    • by jlv ( 5619 ) on Wednesday December 09, 2015 @10:12AM (#51087883)
      I didn't find them slow at all. However, I would have loved to see real 2nd and 3rd generation characters, rather than inventing life-extension and keeping the same old group around.
    • Agreed, I think if anyone is expecting the science of "The Martian" meets the made-for-tv drama of "Game of Thrones", they'll be disappointed. The books certainly had some very interesting concepts and, in the case of Arkady, interesting characters and motivation. However, as OP hinted at, there were dozens or hundreds of pages of boring to go in between the fun parts.
      • Do consider that they can make whatever changes are necessary for television to spice it up some. TV shows that are very slow don't often make it. TV has a pretty brisk pace to it. Straczynski is an accomplished writer for the small screen, so I have hopes for this one; he won't leave us bored.

    • Probably why they've got Strasinsky
      • by farrellj ( 563 )

        If anyone can do a good translation to the small screne, it would be JMS. He knows what is good science fiction, and what is good TV. If it fails, it won't be because of his writing. I think I need to dig out my copies and re-red the series again.

      • Probably why they've got Strasinsky

        You should send him a link to your post to see where it ranks on his list of worst misspellings of his name.

    • but pretty boring. Very slow moving.

      I don't think I made it half way through before tossing it. And I've read a lot of SF.

      • by Ranbot ( 2648297 )

        but pretty boring. Very slow moving.

        I don't think I made it half way through before tossing it. And I've read a lot of SF.

        Same...I dropped Red Mars less than halfway through. It was like reading technical manual of stuff that doesn't exist. Although, between the fake technical manual parts I think I remember a whodunit mystery story that could inspire a TV series palatable to the general public The target audience of this show will not be Sci-Fi book geeks.

    • There are some potentially impressive scenes. Anything featuring Olympus Mons could be good but the real money shot is going to be...

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      .

    • The books were interesting, but pretty boring. Very slow moving.

      Cool. So I can start reading them now and be finished just in time for the series to start!

      [ Actually, I think I've already read Red Mars - a *while* ago. ]

    • by fermion ( 181285 )
      Compared to his other books, the Mars series are plodding. I have hope that JMS is doing this, because he can make plodding interesting. I don't know about Spike TV because I am unsure how you make a Robinson book into NASCAR. Perhaps Spike is once again trying to reimage itself.
  • >> Spike TV

    Now there's a blast from the past. I kind of forgot about cable networks over the past few years, but I remember that Spike carried STTNG for a while and otherwise seemed to run the same 10-movie cycle (Godfather, something with Bruce Willis, etc.) over and over again.

    • I remember that Spike carried STTNG for a while and otherwise seemed to run the same 10-movie cycle (Godfather, something with Bruce Willis, etc.) over and over again.

      What I remember about Spike is MXC [wikipedia.org]. Ow, my balls!

    • Don't forget Cops.

      Red Mars,
      Red Mars,
      Whatcha gonna do,
      When they terraform you?

    • And not to forget, Spike TV was born out of "The National Network," which was a renamed "The Nashville Network." I remember a lot of ST:TNG in their "National" phase, if I remember. They still went by TNN, so I thought it was still "Nashville" at the time.
  • that is MarsOne's job!

  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday December 09, 2015 @11:05AM (#51088129) Homepage Journal

    The books spent a lot of time on the science and on characters' personal motivations. By its very nature, a television (or movie) script will elide most of that, or at most allude to it, and automatically become more concise.

    When there wasn't a massive space battle, Babylon 5 was basically a soap opera. In honor of this fact, they even hired several former soap opera actors. The Mars trilogy can be written much the same way.

    On the other hand, part of the feeling inherent to the books involves the emptiness of the planet, and they're probably going to have to have some long shots and long silences to convey that. It's questionable whether modern audiences will sit still for it.

  • by wonkey_monkey ( 2592601 ) on Wednesday December 09, 2015 @12:03PM (#51088539) Homepage

    Kim Stanley Robinson's popular trilogy Red/Green/Blue Mars

    According to Variety, "the series will follow the first settlers charged with terraforming a mysterious planet

    Spoiler alert: it's Mars.

    • Kim Stanley Robinson's popular trilogy Red/Green/Blue Mars

      According to Variety, "the series will follow the first settlers charged with terraforming a mysterious planet

      Spoiler alert: it's Mars.

      Bastard, there's no point in me reading the books now.

  • by malx ( 7723 )

    I think I'll wait for the spin-off videogame. I'm a fan of city-builders.

  • So this is going to be on Spyke and and not SyFy? Color me surprised.
  • The Reds were a terrorist group in the books, but weren't exactly the bad guys. I wonder how the show's writers and executives are going to portray that in today's environment.

    Come to think of it, most of the characters in the book were "terrorists," at least from the point of view of the UN organization that governed the project. It has massive infrastructure destruction (don't want to spoil it), guerilla warfare, cultural sectarianism, etc.

    I doubt the network execs are going to allow that on the TV show

    • I doubt the network execs are going to allow that on the TV show without some major editing.

      They don't have to change a thing, since even the reddest red tries to stop the violence (e.g. assault on the cable.) They can easily turn it into any message they want without changing events.

      • by spauldo ( 118058 )

        That's a good point. They could frame it as a movement gone out of control, and villanize the extremists.

        That would probably play well to the execs.

    • by hawkfish ( 8978 )

      The Reds were a terrorist group in the books, but weren't exactly the bad guys. I wonder how the show's writers and executives are going to portray that in today's environment.

      Come to think of it, most of the characters in the book were "terrorists," at least from the point of view of the UN organization that governed the project. It has massive infrastructure destruction (don't want to spoil it), guerilla warfare, cultural sectarianism, etc.

      I doubt the network execs are going to allow that on the TV show without some major editing.

      I dunno. I used to think that, but after watching Daredevil and some of GoT, there seems to be a lot of moral ambiguity in TV shows these days. Not to mention a lot of what we used to call "ultra violence [wikipedia.org]"...

      • by spauldo ( 118058 )

        I thought of that (although I was thinking HBO's True Blood), but Spike isn't a pay channel. Then again, Spike isn't a major broadcast network, either.

        Maybe I'm showing my age.

        (off topic: according to the Wikipedia page List of entertainment affected by the September 11 attacks [wikipedia.org], the WTC appears in scenes where an angel shows how the world would be if Kernit the Frog had never been born. So apparently, the truthers are wrong: Kermit caused 9/11!)

  • by LunaticTippy ( 872397 ) on Wednesday December 09, 2015 @03:14PM (#51089885)
    I hope they bring Red Green in for a cameo. He can fix some space equipment with the handyman's secret weapon, duct tape.

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