Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Pioneer One

Pioneer One; Science-fiction pilot, USA, 2010; D: Bracey Smith, S: James Rich, Alexandra Blatt, Matthew Foster, Guy Wegener

An unknown space ship crashes in Edmonton and is quickly transported to a local defunct military base by the US officials. Since it spread radiation over some part of the area, agent Tom Taylor is pressured to call it a terrorist attack by his superiors. However, he and his partner Sophie discover the space ship had Soviet logo on it and carried an astronaut, who was badly injured during the trip. When Mars expert Dr. Zachary Walzer is brought to the base and signs a declaration of confidentiality, Tom informs him that they found a note in Russian, claiming the astronaut is a child of a cosmonaut living on an unknown base on Mars ever since the 80s.

„Pioneer One“ is notable for being the first ever pilot for a series funded by online donations and shot exclusively for Internet, making it inventively available for free downloads by the public, avoiding the „piracy“ nuisance and its complications. As a final result, it's a good achievement, but with some objections: the acting and the sound are at times weak, whereas the camera work is occasionally amateurish (in some scenes it seems almost like a home video, swinging back and forth from left to right to capture as much action in one take, instead of making a cut when it is needed). Still, that can be corrected in the next episodes, while the sole story (a secret Soviet base on Mars ever since the 80s) and concept are genius and tickle the imagination. A few references to little known real events are probably the most delicious (the long rant about Stanislav Petrov, a lieutenant colonel of the Soviet Air Defence Forces who prevented a possible World War III when he refused to act by his orders and identified a „US missile attack“ as a false alarm; Soviet Satellite Cosmos 954 crashing in Canada '79) and thus maybe the series could eventually, despite its limited budget, turn intriguing if developed the right way.


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