Syfy is first in line to the television rights for one of the most popular science fiction novels ever created. With the help of Paramount Television and Universal Cable Productions they will turn the 1961 Robert Heinlein classic into a television series. Although not the first choice for many when it comes to a Heinlein novel that want to see adapted, this is still considered to be one of the best.
Now for anyone that has never read the novel, there are some real tricky things that won’t make it to screen. It would have been butchered on a broadcast channel like ABC, but on Syfy it won’t be that much better. There is a lot of sex, politics and religion throughout the book that will be watered down (or completely taken out) in order to please mainstream audiences. And if that happens, fans of the book will be pretty upset.
Stranger in a Strange Land is about Valentine Michael Smith, a human that was raised by Martians on Mars. He comes to earth when he reaches adulthood and the book spends a lot of time witnessing his reactions to these people that look just like him, but are worlds apart in behavior. Some really controversial ideas were in the book that were tame at the time, but would be considered no no’s today.
There will be a lot of pushback when this show airs, and for different reasons depending on what Syfy keeps or strips out. Fans shouldn’t be surprised if they strip out 90% of the original material and rewrite it for television. Considering how Lucifer turned out on FOX, it isn’t all bad. Just give the show a chance, and it may blow your mind!
How much will have to change from the book to television? Will the original material end up butchered in the process?