• Network:
  • Series Premiere Date: Dec 2, 2018
Nightflyers Image
Metascore
47

Mixed or average reviews - based on 14 Critics What's this?

User Score
5.5

Mixed or average reviews- based on 63 Ratings

Your Score
0 out of 10
Rate this:
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
  • Summary: Eight scientists and a telepath traveling on The Nightflyer space ship to make contact with alien life begin experiences strange and violent occurrences in this adaptation of George R.R. Martin's novella (which also was made into a 1987 film).
  • Genre(s): Drama, Action & Adventure, Suspense

Where To Watch

Buy On
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 14
  2. Negative: 1 out of 14
  1. Reviewed by: Dan Fienberg
    Nov 30, 2018
    60
    Decently cast, interestingly claustrophobic and boasting occasional tiny bursts of inspiration, Nightflyers isn't going to suddenly hook those broad Game of Thrones demos, but there's an audience out there that's always thirsty for hard sci-fi and this is for them.
  2. Reviewed by: Mark A. Perigard
    Nov 29, 2018
    58
    Nightflyers, like YouTube Premium’s “Origin,” features a wholly impractical spaceship design, one that is expansive and minimalist, with long corridors and plenty of convenient places for something to hide. What starts intriguingly turns sillier the deeper you go.
  3. Reviewed by: Alex McLevy
    Nov 30, 2018
    58
    There’s a sense all of this has been done before, and showrunner Jeff Buhler doesn’t quite know how to make it feel new again. It’s a testament to the pulpy dramatics of the source material that Nightflyers remains enjoyable to watch despite these weaknesses.
  4. Reviewed by: Ben Travers
    Nov 28, 2018
    42
    Not scary enough to be good horror and too simple-minded to be grand sci-fi, Nightflyers is just another schlocky TV show pretending to be more than it is.
  5. 40
    Unfortunately, the show never alchemizes these touchstones into a fresh, distinctive aesthetic. And when projects like this aren’t capable of knocking you out with style, they’d better have vivid characters and a riveting story to fall back on, and that’s not the case here, either.
  6. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Nov 30, 2018
    40
    A tediously generic haunted-house-in-space odyssey, one that Syfy is either (charitably) experimenting with or (more likely) rapidly exhausting by making all 10 episodes available simultaneously with its linear-TV debut.
  7. Reviewed by: Glenn Garvin
    Nov 30, 2018
    20
    The constant, clumsy back-and-forth story line is not [Buhler]'s only annoying affectation. He's also larded Nightflyer with references to other, better, works, from Star Trek to The Shining, probably intended in homage but really serving just to remind you how much better all of them were. And the abundant gore, no doubt a confused nod to Martin's original premise that horror and sci-fi can coexist in the same vehicle, serves no purpose at all. [Buhler] may think he's speaking in some advanced new artistic argot, but really, it's just a lot of outer-space jabberwocky.

See all 14 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 25
  2. Negative: 9 out of 25
  1. Dec 10, 2018
    10
    I found it to be a lot of fun! Spider Bot rules! The first 3 episodes are just the beginning -- once you get deeper into the series theI found it to be a lot of fun! Spider Bot rules! The first 3 episodes are just the beginning -- once you get deeper into the series the concepts and characters really take off. The show is compelling and there's some of the most mind bending effects at play. Don't be discouraged by whiny Sci-Fi purists who don't know how to enjoy themselves! Give it a shot (at least through first 5 eps) and then decide for yourself! Expand
  2. Dec 17, 2018
    10
    *No Spoilers*

    I'm surprised this show is 'mixed' with critics, it's great! I'm taking it as further evidence of how useless professional
    *No Spoilers*

    I'm surprised this show is 'mixed' with critics, it's great! I'm taking it as further evidence of how useless professional reviews can be sometimes. Perhaps some saw that it was based on the George R.R. Martin book, and came looking for a "Game of Thrones In Space". I like Game of Thrones, but this an entirely different animal. Personally I think a "Game of Thrones In Space" would be something closer to the Dune franchise, which is completely impossible with the set-up of this show, as it mainly revolves around a single spaceship's mission.

    Personally as a fan of Event Horizon (flim), Altered Carbon (TV), The Expanse (TV) and 2001 (film), I've found the show to be excellent, and a welcome indication that quality Sci-Fi Horror for adult audiences still matters to some show producers. All I can say is watch it! If you don't like the first five minutes of the first episode, it's probably not for you.

    It's definitely doesn't hold your hand for explaining everything quickly (or at all), which may be a contributing factor to some of the negative reviews. Personally I'm a big fan of it's style, which reminded me of the way Altered Carbon didn't explain every term or concept used by the characters, and it was left more to the viewer to pay attention and learn about their world in a more organic way. I've also seen some negative reviews slamming "plot holes" or "uneducated writing", whilst citing events that are explained by the end of season 1. Personally I'm not sure such reviews should be taken seriously, when their patience is clearly too short to even finish the series before rating it badly =|

    Fair warning some scenes in the series can be quite graphic, so if you're easily 'triggered' or don't like body horror elements, maybe steer clear...
    Expand
  3. Dec 10, 2018
    9
    Totally dig this show. For the average viewer it may take a minute to dig in but it's been worth it so far! Lot's of subtle Alien/Shining/2001Totally dig this show. For the average viewer it may take a minute to dig in but it's been worth it so far! Lot's of subtle Alien/Shining/2001 vibes which are great as well. Great writing...great cast....well done! Expand
  4. Dec 22, 2018
    7
    Based on the George R.R. Martin novella, the sci-fi/horror television show Nightflyers is about the crew of a spaceship seeking out aBased on the George R.R. Martin novella, the sci-fi/horror television show Nightflyers is about the crew of a spaceship seeking out a mysterious alien race.

    The show really nails the horror aspect. It manages to juggle several several horror elements rather than having one singular threat. Things get real freaky and I love it. Also liked just the basic design of the spaceship The Nightflyer. Yeah, it doesn't do a whole lot new design-wise, but it looks good.

    However, the show fails to completely stick the landing when it comes to the plot. There are interesting character ideas, mind you, but things never quite jive. Characters make weird decisions, and there are a couple moments where they don't react like real people would. It's like the writers were more interested in creating individual scenes than setting them up naturally. The exhibition is also vague in parts.

    The show is setting up for season two so don't expect some big questions to be answered yet.

    Nightflyers isn't perfect, but I was entertained enough to want to see where this goes.
    Expand
  5. Dec 28, 2018
    5
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This could've been a great sci-fi thriller. But all those unnecessary and sometimes stupid sub-plots is what killed it for me. They had one great premise - dangerous and unstable psyker is the only hope for humanity, this alone was enough for this show.
    Instead we got ship full of crazy lunatics that (for some reason) was considered good, reliable choices for THE most important mission in human history, and we got even more crazy AI controling the ship without any backup/failsafe system. Yup, sounds logical to me.
    And don't get me started on aliens using dead relatives to communicate.
    TL;DR Great idea buried under bad writing.
    Expand
  6. Feb 1, 2019
    3
    How did they fit so many stupid people on that ship? Budget looks good. Actors are doing an ok job, but this crap is so unbelievable it'sHow did they fit so many stupid people on that ship? Budget looks good. Actors are doing an ok job, but this crap is so unbelievable it's impossible to watch. Expand
  7. Dec 7, 2018
    0
    The big failure here is clearly the writing. Writers can get away with being lazy and ridiculous in pure horror movies. Think Friday theThe big failure here is clearly the writing. Writers can get away with being lazy and ridiculous in pure horror movies. Think Friday the 13th and all its sequels. Dude in hockey mask kills people who do stupid things. The premise is already lazy so unskilled writers can get away with poor work.

    Fans of sci-fi, on the other hand, have much higher expectations. They notice when things don't make sense or are unbelievable and they don't like it. They also expect the characters to act in reasonably intelligent and realistic ways. In sci-fi great writing can make up for low budgets and terrible effects (think old-school Doctor Who). But no amount of money, pretty visuals and high production values can make up for poor writing. This is where Nightflyers fails spectacularly, its writers are clearly incapable.

    What did the series get right? The ship itself is pretty cool. If you watch the preview featurette it shows that a great deal of effort and money was spent building the space ship sets and they look great. The powers that be should fire the show runners, the directors and especially the writing staff. Keep the set designers/builders and effect staff. Then give the existing sets over to some creative, intelligent sci-fi writers & directors to do something interesting with.

    Below are some examples (anything mentioned is learned early on or isn't of consequence)

    Alien space craft is close enough to Earth to be detectable and easily reachable using an old, existing spaceship. Governments don't care. Corporations don't care. The only people who do care are a rag-tag bunch of renegade (supposedly) science types. Seriously? In reality governments and corporations would be racing to get there first and the world's best and brightest would want to participate.

    Turns out the Nightflyer is (guessing) 30-40 years old. Its a one-off custom ship built decades ago by an individual to live on. Its crewed by a bunch of casual people with no special skills who thought they were signing up for a colonization mission. Yet this is the best ship available to make first contact with aliens?

    Way back in 1897 H. G. Wells wrote War of the Worlds which ends with all the martians being killed by natural pathogens on Earth. Yet 120 years later the writers on Nightflyers have no clue at all about such stuff. At one point the research team get something biological on board which they think is alien. The thing ends up bleeding and oozing all over the place. The research team never thinks or cares about any form of containment or protection. They hang out all around it wearing their casual clothes and even touch it with their bare hands. They cut and rip into it with large quantities of blood pouring out onto the floor. At one point a crew member is seen using tongs to hold a chunk of flesh dripping blood about six inches in front of his gaping mouth. Even doctors working on people (with less gore) wear gloves and face masks. These are supposedly skilled scientists with biological expertise? This is an unknown thing from and alien source and they never even consider pathogens.

    The ship has this fancy memory room which shoots lasers into a person’s eyes while they remember things. There is no effort to explain it at all or why it exists. The person using it just seems to hang out and think about old memories. Everyone loves using it. Turns out the only thing it seems to do is feed this information to a boogie man that then uses the knowledge to scare and torment the people. And, of course, the things people choose to remember in there are the exact things a boogie man would want to know. Its just a pointless thing so they lazy writers can set up scares.

    In sci-fi gravity during space travel is handled in three ways. There is no gravity and ships are built so that their thrust simulates gravity when the engines are firing (The Expanse). Large ships have big sections that rotate to create down-force to simulate gravity (The Martian). Mankind has mastered artificial gravity and people can just walk around ships without concern (Star Trek). The Nightflyer has HUGE sections that spin, clearly for generating down-force to simulate gravity. But in some scenes the ship clearly has artificial gravity because crew just walk around like normal in the non-spinning sections. Sci-fi writers should have a clue about such things.

    Melantha was genetically engineered. At one point only Melantha can fix something because of radiation that she can tollerate for 3 minutes but would kill anyone else. The hazard is just the location, not the problem. She struggles and claws her way across the room to the problem. At 3 minutes she just fixes the problem then passes out on the floor. Suddenly a normal human crew member walks in, strolls across the room casually and saves her.

    It is truly a pathetic effort; The whole series is chock full of lazy, uneducated writing.
    Expand

See all 25 User Reviews

Related Articles

  1. 2018 Fall TV Preview: 25 Notable Shows

    2018 Fall TV Preview: 25 Notable Shows Image
    Published: September 2, 2018
    Which new and returning TV shows are worth your time this fall? Get the details on the most noteworthy fall debuts, including Maniac, The Romanoffs, Homecoming, Star Wars Resistance, The Haunting of Hill House, House of Cards, American Horror Story, and more.