May 6, 2019  (Web Review)

Nightflyers: Season One

Universal, 2 discs, 450 min., TV-14, DVD: $39.99, Blu-ray: $44.99

Reviewer rating: 1.5/4

The 1980 novella Nightflyers by sci-fi/fantasy author George R.R. Martin—which was previously adapted in a low-budget 1987 film—is expanded for this short-lived series created for Syfy. In 2093, a group of scientists board the spaceship Nightflyer with the aim of making first contact with an alien vessel that may hold the key to saving the dying planet Earth. But before they can reach their destination, the crew must face demons on the ship itself. There’s a veritable ghost in the machine—the creator uploaded her consciousness into the ship’s core—and a powerful telepath with no sense of personal boundaries. And as they get closer to the alien ship, psychic forces assault their minds. Eoin Macken is the mission leader, David Ajala plays the ship’s captain, and Brían F. O’Byrne and Gretchen Mol costar. Nightflyers was developed by horror movie veteran Jeff Buhler, who leans on the horror elements of the show with a dark visual aesthetic and characters full of secrets and hidden agendas. But the plot feels contrived to specifically create chaotic situations and bizarre twists and the series exudes a crude, pulpy vibe that is neither scary nor exciting. The season ends on a major cliffhanger—with the ship on the verge of exploding—that will remain unresolved, since the series was cancelled. Fans of Martin (author of the Game of Thrones series) may be intrigued but otherwise this is not recommended. (S. Axmaker)