Spike Gives Straight-to-Series Order to 'Red Mars'

J. Michael Straczynski Headshot 2011
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BEVERLY HILLS, CA - OCTOBER 23:  Writer J. Michael Straczynski arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of Universal's "The Changeling" at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater on October 23, 2008 in Beverly Hills, California. 

Spike TV is headed for Mars.

The Viacom-owned cable channel has given a straight-to-series order to sci-fi drama Red Mars, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.

An adaptation of Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy, the series follows the first settlers charged with terraforming a mysterious planet, all of whom have competed to be a part of the mission. Red Mars delves into the lives of these relative strangers, cut off from everything they’ve ever known and living in the harshest environment imaginable. Over time, viewers will witness the mind-blowing evolution of humans and technology as they learn to adapt in their inhospitable new home.

J. Michael Straczynski (Sense8) will write the series. He will also executive produce with Vince Gerardis (Game of Thrones), along with Skydance’s David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and Marcy Ross. Skydance (Grace and Frankie, Manhattan) will produce in association with Straczynski's Studio JMS. Additionally, Robinson will consult on the series.

Ten episodes have been ordered, with production set to begin next summer for a January 2017 premiere.

“The heart and soul of Red Mars is about humanity,” said Spike's exec vp original series Sharon Levy. “This group of strangers must find a way to live together and survive under the most daunting conditions mankind has ever faced to become the first living generation of Martians. They will be each other’s greatest source of strength and -- if they can’t coexist -- the greatest reason for failure.”

Added Ross, president of Skydance Television: "We are thrilled to join forces with Spike to bring Kim Stanley Robinson's dynamic world of the Mars trilogy to television audiences for the first time ever, particularly in the brilliant creative voice of science fiction legend J. Michael Straczynski."

Red Mars marks Spike's first scripted series in nine years. The network had originally planned to dive back into that territory with Jerry Bruckheimer's Harvest, but the show was scrapped in November. The network's series push comes after the ratings success of miniseries Tut, which averaged 2.2 million viewers over three nights.