HBO Making Sci-Fi Series The Spark

Remember how “good” genre shows seemed like they would never return to television? Cable is going where free tv will not. True Blood exceeded expectations. The Walking Dead is a huge hit. Game of Thrones is a sensation. But where’s the return to science fiction? Deadline is reporting exclusively on bringing a series of a galactic nature to cable.

“HBO is making a move in the sci-fi arena with The Spark, a drama from Karl Gajdusek, creator/executive producer of ABC’s recent series Last Resort and co-writer of the feature Oblivion starring Tom Cruise. The project, now in development, is set in a world undergoing a technological/industrial revolution in the near future when contacted by a signal from beyond the solar system. It centers on the human reaction to a mystery still spiritually and technologically out of reach and follows a female protagonist as she works on the cusp of the Earth’s effort to discover the origin of the signal. Gajdusek is writing and executive producing the potential series, which promises to explore on a human level what he calls the five pillars of science fiction: Alien Contact, Artificial Intelligence, Technological breakthroughs, Space Exploration/Adventure, and Origin Stories. On the feature side, Gajdusek…has the Pierce Brosnan thriller November Man currently in production, and is writing Last Witness at Fox for Denzel Washington to star.”

On the plus side, it’s science fiction on a major cable network (Sorry SyFy Channel), where some big bucks will be put into this. On the negative side, Gajdusek wrote Oblivion and Carl Sagan did something sounding very similar, made into a movie, called Contact. I’m on the fence. I want a big budget sci-fi cable show, but unless this is really different from what’s gone before, it won’t last more than a season.


Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyers Guide for a few years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” He had to give that up to teach 8th graders English for 19 years, and only recently taught 9th graders English. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars or Indiana Jones items online.

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