The SFF Television Explosion: What Will Happen?

San Diego Comic Con is raging this weekend, and we’re getting new trailers for a variety of upcoming Science Fiction and Fantasy shows. Hollywood is highly imitative, and networks are now chasing that sweet Game of Thrones money. What does that all mean?

It means that, for the next 18 months or so, we’re going to have a ridiculous number of television shows that adapt major SFF novels. The list of adaptations is impressive: The Man in the High Castle (Amazon, Fall 2015), The Expanse (SyFy, December 2015), The Shannara Chronicles (MTV, January 2015), The Magicians (SyFy 2016), American Gods (Starz, 2016?), Ghost Brigades (SyFy, 2016?, based on John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War novels), Childhood’s End (SyFy miniseries, December 2015). Throw in the recent aired Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell BBC Miniseries, and that means we now have a host of Hugo-awarded and Hugo-nominated series hitting the airwaves.

This is a big change for Hollywood. After years of adapting comic books and young adult SF novels, they’re turning their attention to more traditional science Fiction and fantasy novels. Will they be as successful? If some of these series catch on, look for more series to follow. And since even the most unsuccessful TV series still brings in millions of viewers—and millions of potential readers—the next 18 months have a real chance to completely transform SFF fandom. Of course, everything could fail horribly and nothing might change, but I don’t think that’ll happen.

These series could potentially have a huge impact on the Hugos. If The Expanse is a big hit, I full expect the James S.A. Corey novels to climb back into the Hugo mix. Even as earlier as next year, we could see a nomination for Nemesis Games.

Keep your eye on these developments: we could be in for the SFF’s biggest year ever in 2016, and I haven’t even talked about the upcoming movie adaptations of The Martian and Ready Player One.

I’ll leave you with some trailers:

The Expanse:

The Shannara Chronicles:

Man in the High Castle:

Childhood’s End:

The Magicians:

All of them look intriguing—except for the hat and the haircut of the main character in The Expanse. I’m still blown away that we have more than 5 upcoming TV series based on SFF novels I’ve read. I never thought I’d see the day.

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3 responses to “The SFF Television Explosion: What Will Happen?”

  1. Steph says :

    What a great post. Thank you for sharing the trailers . I’m very excited for these shows bringing to life some books I love. I hope there is no disenchantment considering the budgets and production value they seem to be putting into these shows

  2. MadProfessah says :

    I am a huge James SA Corey fanboy so the big one for me is The Expanse. I re-read Childhood’s End recently and it didn’t really stand up to time but I will watch the miniseries. I threw away The Magicians with great force after being unable to get past the first 2 chapters. I might watch the series though.

    I’m looking forward to reading The Man in the High Castle and the subsequent tv series.

    • chaoshorizon says :

      The characters of The Magicians do get a little less whiny after around 300 pages or so. Grossman is pulling that whole “these people evolve thing,” so he starts them off as fairly awful. Always a big risk.

      I’m a big PKD fan—might be my favorite SF author of all time. Oddly, Man in the High Castle isn’t one of my favorite PKD books. I teach Three Stigmata all the time in class! I still have high hopes for the TV series, and there’s also Minority Report this fall, but that’s based more on the Spielberg movie than the short story.

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