Syfy is venturing out into space for its next limited series, titled Ascension. Created and written by Smallville‘s Philip Levens (who will also serve as the day-to-day showrunner), the six-hour series is expected to kick off in November and today, Cougar Town star Brian Van Holt has joined the cast in a major role.
Van Holt, who has also appeared on FX’s The Bridge and in such films as Black Hawk Down and Bullet to the Head, will star as William Denninger, the captain of a starship secretly launched from Earth in the year 1963 by the order of President John F. Kennedy. Denninger’s starship is part of a top secret project to send hundreds of men, women and children to repopulate a new world. The series opens almost 50 years into the voyage, as the vessel nears the point of no return, when the mysterious murder of a young woman on board throws everything about their mission into question.
Denninger is described as “a natural leader, a military man and politician … strong-willed and confident.” He became the captain of the ship because of his heroic actions early in the voyage, when a fire on board nearly destroyed the ship. Denninger, though popular with the ship’s population, is trapped in a hostile marriage with Viondra (Battlestar Galactica alum Tricia Helfer).
Ascension sounds like a truly interesting project from Syfy, and its limited nature should allow for some adventurous and fast-paced storytelling. I’m particularly excited about the ’60s angle of the set-up, and that ’60s space ship looks all kinds of cool. Plus, Jason Blum is executive-producing, so I’m hoping that Ascension won’t skimp on the atmospheric scares, either. The teaser trailer is certainly tense and suspenseful, asking the haunting question, “Who will save them?” Check it out below and let us know what you think.