Creators of ‘Game of Thrones’: Please don’t ruin aliens in your new TV show
Since the disastrous ending of HBO’s mega-hit Game of Thrones, we’ve gone from wondering what creators David Benioff & D.B. Weiss couldn’t do right, to what they couldn’t do wrong. If you told us in 2012 that they were piloting a show about aliens, we’d renew our HBO subscription and break out the popcorn in anticipation.
Alas, it’s 2020. Benioff & Weiss left their prized series as an anticlimactic, mediocre ending at best, and a slap in the face to the point of the show at worst. Now, they signed a cushy production deal with Netflix to make an alien TV show based on the Chinese trilogy The Three-Body Problem.
How Benioff & Weiss chose Netflix
As Game of Thrones came to a close, rumors circulated that showrunners David Benioff & D.B. Weiss were in talks about a long-term contract for another show. One of the speculations was about a Star Wars spinoff for Disney+. While they’re still making the spinoff, in the end, Benioff & Weiss signed with Netflix to do an alien TV show.
It’s not an exclusive deal (as they’re still making the Star Wars movie for Disney), but they ultimately chose Netflix for like-mindedness with their execs. The showrunners realized they “remember the same shots from the same ’80s movies and love the same books” as Netflix Executives, they told Vulture.
The alien TV show
The Netflix series David Benioff & D.B. Weiss are tackling is based on author Liu Cixin’s science fiction trilogy, The Three-Body Problem. It follows an alternate history of Earth which plays out like the sci-fi movie Arrival, starring Amy Adams.
Benioff & Weiss were attracted to the alien TV show due to the extensive worldbuilding in Cixin’s novels. “Liu Cixin’s trilogy is the most ambitious science-fiction series we’ve read, taking readers on a journey from the 1960s until the end of time, from life on our pale blue dot to the distant fringes of the universe,” Benioff & Weiss elaborated.
Benioff & Weiss are excited to adapt The Three-Body Problem for TV, but does that mean they’ll be successful?
The Game of Thrones problem
A big issue with the last two seasons of Game of Thrones was the lack of source material. While Benioff & Weiss had the novels to work for the first six seasons, novelist George R.R. Martin still hasn’t finished the last two books in his ambitious A Song of Ice & Fire series.
Working without an established plot, and hankering to begin their other projects, Benioff & Weiss finished the series on their own terms. The finished product wasn’t as satisfying as it could be. Some fans of Game of Thrones felt like Benioff & Weiss wrapped up the series too neatly so they could move on.
Since the alien TV show is based on a trilogy of novels, the source material will run out eventually. This raises the question: can Benioff & Weiss create a continuing good series once they run out of the trilogy to adapt?
How long will the alien TV show last?
Netflix is getting a reputation for canceling series early. Benioff & Weiss may not have to worry about extending their adaptation past the last installment of the third novel. According to Deadline, Netflix may be rewriting the rulebook on TV shows’ rating goals.
Back in the day, TV shows’ successes were measured by how long they could live on-air. This is why the “hundredth episode” of old TV shows was a huge milestone. It meant syndication was all but guaranteed. It’s also the reason why few TV shows followed a continuous plot from season to season.
Netflix is challenging the model by releasing a TV show for a season or two, sometimes three to draw subscribers in. Netflix also has built-in series end times according to Deadline, ensuring a series will only last a few seasons.
Is this a better model for Benioff & Weiss?
If David Benioff & D.B. Weiss could begin with a set end, would it make the series better? Rather than having to wrap up a series to work on other projects, or because they ran out of source material, they can take the show from beginning to end in a consistent way. Could this be a silver lining for The Three-Body Problem adaptation?
What do you think? Are you looking forward to what Game of Thrones creators David Benioff & D.B. Weiss has in store for this new alien TV show? Let us know!