Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Episode 6 out today!

Today is the day folks. As usual Vodo seems to be saying nothing, but I'm going to be cheeky and post a direct link to the torrent given as it's up already. You can get it here.

I have actually seen the finale once, and then all five or so devices I have capable of playing it conspired in strange ways to prevent me from seeing it again.

There are significant gear shifts in pace and it sets the pieces on the board very ably for a second series. It's probably my favourite episode so far, but I'm a sucker for good endings. There are quite a few twists pinging up. For what it's worth I was completely wrong about nearly all my predictions, or at least I'm wrong so far.....

It's great TV, but you'll be able t judge for yourselves in a few hours...

(Sorry for any typos I've been awake since 4.30am)

Monday, 14 November 2011

Some thoughts on the finale....

I've been doing some thinking about the P1 finale. I've been meaning to post this for ages, and here we almost on the eve of episode 6.

The press release says:

It ends with a sudden burst of jaw-dropping events and a surprise ending that will leave viewers reevaluating everything they thought they knew.

So what can this mean? Well here are a few theories. I should say I have no advance knowledge beyond that which appears in the spoilers.
  1. Yuri's not from Mars. This could mean one of two things: a) He's completely lying and essentially MacLellan's theory is correct, i.e. he is a terorrist or some sort of ne'er do well. Personally I think this is unlikely for a whole host of reasons, not least as it would mean the whole Mars theme would be dropped and give Walzer nothing to do as a character. b) He's from 'space' but not from Mars. This could mean he's from the Moon, but would mean Yuri is a liar as he's pointed out Mars on a map and he mentioned life on Mars, which couldn't exist in the vacuum of the Moon. Alternatively he could be from Deimos or Phobos, Mars' moons. This seems much more likely plot-wise and physically possible. 
  2. Yuri's not lying but not told the whole truth.  This could mean a number of things: a) There's a whole city / village of people up there. b) He's not the only one returning. Either someone else has returned or will do in the last episode of this season.
Extra seasons are planned of course, so it has to be some sort of revelation which will open new avenues, rather than him having brought back mars flu and killing the entire ensemble.

What do you guys think? Stay put for some spoilers.....

More details of episode 6


NEW YORK, New York., November 14, 2011 — On December 5th the viewer-funded dramatic series Pioneer One is excited to debut its season finale with an advance screening at the Anthology Film Archives in Manhattan. The series is independently produced in New York City and is currently distributed online. Details of the event can be found at http://p1finale.eventbrite.com/

Pioneer One has been recognized as a game-changer for original content on the Internet.  It’s been noted for its high-caliber storytelling and engrossing plotline, especially in comparison to other web-series as TV Overmind
 notes: Pioneer One has the look, feel, and length of real TV.  Rather than embracing its delivery medium with self-referential gimmicks, Pioneer One offers a slickness of production and depth of story that blurs the line between ‘web’ and ‘network’ television.”

Logan Rapp of Tubefilter
 says “…Pioneer One just might be the best drama on the internet right now. Are you watching it?”

Pioneer One’s first season proved wildly popular with online viewers and has generated an international cult following. Episodes one through five have resulted in over 8,000,000 complete downloads.

The show integrates the historical realities of Cold War paranoia, nuclear brinksmanship and Soviet space ambitions, imagining a world in which the Soviets reached Mars. Based on that piece of history, Pioneer One’s first season takes viewers through a gripping story of a mysterious object exploding over the skies of North America, and spreading radiation over the US/Canadian border.

Fans are now eagerly awaiting the release of episode six, the finale of the first season. It ends with a sudden burst of jaw-dropping events and a surprise ending that will leave viewers reevaluating everything they thought they knew.

Pioneer One episode six will be released on December 13, 2011.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Episode 5 out now!

Ok folks it looks like we are go!

Episode 5 is on Youtube here (be warned that there it starts with an advert for another upcoming VODO film which stumped me for a minute or so).

Although it doesn't appear right now on VODO I'm assuming it will do very shortly.
EDIT: Maybe I shouldn't say this but the torrent is actually available through a bit of URL tweaking, although there's no link to it on the page. Click here for it.

This is the best yet. Hope to give a lengthier review at some alter date. If someone else wants to do a review I'll probably be happy to post it.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Episode 5 release date confirmed

I can now confirm that Episode 5 will be released on the 5th October. That is, this Wednesday!

I'll post up the link as soon as I see it's up.

Episode 6 has a rough release date of the last week of November.

Friday, 30 September 2011

Episode 5 approximate Release Date

According to a recent Facebook post, episode 5 should be released by VODO on the 4th or 5th of October. I'll update as I get any more info.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Spoiler Free Review of Episode 5

What can I say about episode 5 without spoiling it? I'm going to offer some disjointed thoughts:

I think it's no exaggeration to say it's probably the best yet, both in terms of the presentation, pacing and plot. As the trailer suggests, there are more variations in shots, more action and so on. I once read that nobody ever walks away from watching a film thinking "That was well edited." If you've noticed the editing, it's not well edited, if it is well edited you don't think notice it. This applies here (in a positive way); over the course of the series the technical aspects and the performances have strengthened with each episode and with this one I had to force myself to remember it was made on a tiny budget, which I suppose isn't really the point.

"All it takes is a little imagination"

Some major character arcs are resolved and a number of outstanding plot points are resolved. Subtle background character motivations have come to fruition and there's a possible new romantic triangle.

"They never tell me anything".

As a proud beard-wearer I'm more than happy to report that the bearded Russian character doesn't disappoint, in fact he's my new favourite character and I certainly hope we see him again. There are some pretty major reveals in this episode... or are there? It seems that investigations are going in two directions, and not everyone can be right... or can they? I thoroughly get the sense that the next episode finale will be very different in scope and style.

Some sprinklings of comedy are especially welcome.

If you're quick and in the NY area you can get down and see it tonight.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Exclusive Interview with Jack Haley aka Zachary Walzer

I'm very pleased to be able to bring to you an interview with Jack Haley, who plays Zachary Walzer. I'd recommend you take the time to read it:

P1: The first actor who played Zachary Walzer of course had to bow out for union reasons. How did you come to take over the role?

JH: That actor was Matthew Foster, who I thought did a great job in the original version. In fact, he's the one who deserves the credit for that inspired water fountain moment in that hallway scene with Taylor, so I was lucky to inherit that little bit.

I had actually read for Walzer with Josh and Bracey back when they were first casting the show. Thinking back, I originally had a different take on the character, I had him as more of a gum-chewing wiseass. A few months later when I'd pretty much forgotten about the audition, they called me in to read for another character, Dr. Avery Frank -- Walzer's colleague that outs him on national TV in Episode 4. They offered me that part, and we even shot the scene, but the next day they told me they'd lost Matthew, said they really liked what I'd done with Avery Frank, wanted to know if I'd like to read again as a replacement for Walzer. (They reshot the Avery Frank scene with an actor terrific actor named Steve Rimpici.)

I had really taken a liking to the Walzer character so I was excited to have another shot at it. I came in and read a little with Jim Rich, and we clicked. They offered it to me on the spot. Not having seen the full scripts, I didn't realize at that point how large a role Walzer was. We only had a few days before we started shooting, and I have to admit I was a little overwhelmed when I saw how much Walzer likes to talk! I crammed the lines into my brain as fast as I could, and headed up to Binghamton, where most of the series was shot, and we jumped in.
I remember feeling a little nervous about being the new guy in what I could see was already a very solid ensemble, but everyone was very welcoming, cast and crew. These guys love to have a good time on the set which kept things calm and fun even when the pressure was on. I loved what we were doing.

P1: I'd love to see the deleted scene of you as Avery Frank! I hope that goes onto the DVD. Given the funding format of the show (shooting full length episodes on a budget of donations) what would you say are the good things and what are the difficulties you encountered as an actor, compared with other things you've been involved with?

JH: Well, you know, we'd all love to have twenty million dollars to spend on the thing. The advantages of money are obvious: you can get a very slick look, make every location look perfect, do a lot more with different kinds of shots, all that good stuff. Plus, yeah, I wouldn't mind some slice of that twenty million dollar budget being my fee! But I do think there are some good things that come out of doing it on a low budget.
For one thing, you know that everyone working on the project is doing it because they love what they do. Really, everyone on the project -- sound people, make-up people, production people -- they all were incredibly committed and enthusiastic. The hours people would go without sleep! (Especially Bracey, the guy's a machine.) I love acting and do as much of it as I can, but working with all these people giving so much, it really gets that fire burning even hotter.
I guess the other thing that's nice about the low budget feel, when I compare it to some bigger budget things I've done, is the feeling that it's the art that comes first, not the money. I've done small parts in a couple of national televisions shows and some commercials, and there's a very strong feeling that you are there to do a very specific job. If you're not asking where to stand or which hat to wear, you should probably keep your mouth shut. You can really feel that money meter running, it's an interesting feeling of pressure. Don't get me wrong, it's a lot of fun, but there's not a lot of freedom.
On Pioneer One, if an idea popped into my head for something to add to a shot, some business or just a general approach to a scene, I'd pipe right up, and Bracey and Josh were always very ready to listen. Made it all very collaborative and gave me (and I hope everyone) a chance to flex some creative muscles in a way that you don't get to in those big pricey projects.

P1: I think those things shine through in the final product too. I'd like to talk a bit about Walzer himself now. Can you give us some insight into how you see him? Do you base him on anyone or any aspect of someone, or his he you in essence? (Though I'm assuming you're not a Mars expert in your free time).

JH: As part of my research, I read up on the work of Dr. Robert Zubrin, who's an actual Mars expert. I read his book, "The Case for Mars" and watched video of some of his old testimony before Congress. I don't know if I'd go so far to say that my portrayal of Walzer is based on him as a person; I don't think you'll see Zubrin's gestures or way of speaking or anything. But the ideas about going to Mars and how to go about it are certainly Zubrin's. He's got some fascinating ideas about that -- he definitely sold me on the feasibility of a mission. Personally, I think it's something we should do (go to Mars). It's exactly the kind of thing this country needs now, something we could rally around, something that the world would see as admirable. We desperately need something like that. It's a shame that we stopped at the moon, decades ago. Our society should move forward with space exploration, the sooner the better.
As an actor, though, I generally use parts of myself that I have in common with the character, focus on them, sometimes heighten them. I was drawn to Walzer's commitment to his life's work. We both have taken on causes that are outlandishly difficult to achieve. Going to Mars, making a career out of acting -- long shots, both! But they're the kinds of things that a person simply must keep pursuing because they're much more than just jobs, they're passions, reasons to get out of bed in the morning.

And, like Walzer, I'm a big nerd at my core. I was the kid in junior high school playing Dungeons and Dragons with his geeky friends in the computer lab. Walzer's an outsider, especially once he starts working with Taylor and the Homeland Security folks. Despite his credentials and distinction among his colleagues, I think he kind of finds himself back in the school locker room trying to hold his own with the meathead jocks. Brains versus brawn, now that's something I know about.

Walzer thinks in black and white, probably to a fault. To him, if it's not something you can back up with the scientific method, it's not worth discussing. His wife called him "obsessive." I'm not generally quite so absolute in my thinking as he is, but get me arguing about politics, and I'm right there.

My favorite part of Walzer, though, is the very tender compassion that starts to come out as the series progresses (possibly to his own surprise and consternation). It starts with Yuri, the lost, helpless young man that represents everything Walzer's ever dreamed about. But once that compassion starts to emerge, and once he starts to see the convictions and passions of the people he's been thrown in with, that compassion starts to extend even to his rival, Tom Taylor. I loved working with that conflict, fighting against the guy he sees as utterly clueless, but involuntarily beginning to understand him as the series progresses. Josh did a great job writing that, it was fun to play.

So, as you can probably tell, I love this character!

P1: Dungeon's and Dragons! Yes I also enjoy the chemistry between Tom and Walzer; it's a bit of an 'odd couple' relationship. Can you tell us anything about the future direction of your character? Any spoilers? I'm guessing you won't be able to tell us who the person was on the other end of the phone...

JH: Don't want to give anything away, but yes, you will find out who that was on the phone, and you'll get to see Walzer in something of a new light. Some twists and turns on their way, get ready for the unexpected. Without getting into detail, I can tell you that you'll see Walzer start to struggle with some more human problems, that his black-and-white, scientific-method approach to life will start to let him down a bit. Episodes 5 and 6 are my favorites, not just in terms of the Walzer story, but all the characters, their story lines, the whole show. Looking forward to the upcoming release.

And as far as where we head after season 2? Well, that's all brewing in the mind of one Josh Bernhard. I've heard an idea or two from him that I wouldn't dare even hint at, but I'm hopeful we'll get a chance to see more of the lives of these characters and, of course, the ongoing repercussions of that mysterious fallen capsule.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

epiosde 5 trailer stills

I've posted some stills and theories of the episode 5 trailers over in spoilers

Friday, 22 July 2011

Episode 5 teaser out!

There is a teaser for episoder 5 out:

I'll be posting some stills over in spoilers along with some other stuff I've been storing up forthwith.

Teaser looks great doesn't it?

Saturday, 25 June 2011

News round up

Not had too much time recently to devote to the blog but here's a round up of recent events:

Filming for episodes 5 and 6 wrapped on the 23rd which I'm pleased about. I'll be posting some stills from their live Ustream stream of the filming at some point in the near future. There wasn't much spoilery there though.

It's actually been a year can you believe since the first episode came out.

The most important piece however is that a Facebook post recently stated that $35,000 is needed to finish the season, and as of today the amount of donations is $28,021 which makes a shortfall $6,979. I'm probably preaching to the converted here as I'm sure anyone reading this has donated already but I would ask again on behalf of the show to give what you can. I can only hope that people who donated at the start will have a new incentive to donate again now that the end is almost in sight. No one's getting rich off this.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Yuri's childhood home has been found

Someone has claimed to have found a presumably man-made base on Mars. There's a good round up here, and you can see it on YouTube here.

It's kinda funny how this sounds in 'real life'. This smacks of someone wanting their 15 minutes of fame, but I'm no expert.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Who watches Pioneer One?

I thought it would be interesting to see who watches Pioneer One, and what the different demographics think of it. How can I do this you ask? Well I polled everyone in the world by post and have most of the answers back now... No, I looked on their IMDB page here. I get the following points from this, assuming this represents accurate polling, which is a big if.
  • Most people dug it and gave it a 10.
  • The older people are, the less they seemed to like it. I read somewhere though that this is common across the board. Kids will either give something a 10 or ignore it, but older people will give things 4 and 5 out of ten. Even with stuff they really like, they're less likely to give a 10 too, sine they have more to compare it to.
  • It's viewed more outside the US. I suspect this may be down to voting than anything else.
  • It's watched far more by males than females, although I'm also guessing males simply vote more on website then females.
  • It's predominantly watched by 18-44 year olds.
  • Those two points aside, the one girl under 18 who did bother voting loved it.
  • Non-US viewers liked it somewhat more than US viewers. Interesting this one, though again perhaps down to polling bias.

What do you make of the stats?

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Some video links and spoilers

Episodes 5 and 6 are currently shooting, and you can watch them on ustream. I've not been able to watch as much as I'd liked, and thus not seen anything spoilery.

There have been quite a few new shorts and videoblogs which are well worth checking out.

Click here for some spoilers.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Epiosde 4 Easter Eggs

I thought it would be fun to unravel the headlines from Amercian Morning Report. I'm having issues with the image uploader, so I can't put them in order, but they read:


I like the way the first news cast didn't have any headlines about the situation in Calgary, but they are now creeping in. I also like the slightly futuristic news.

Bear Fact and Applecurry are both references to Lionshare, Josh and Bracey's previous movie (which I hope to review sometime soon). Nice to see they're in the same universe.

It looks like Tiangong 1 is finished, and there are tensions between the US and China evidently, I wonder if this will come into the plot at all? There's a wink at unnecessary prequels and remakes.

I'm guessing Bill Duke for governor is an Arnie joke as they were both in Predator, but I could be wrong.

Feel free to leave your opinions in the comments.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Message to the Naysayers

I've been doing some thinking recently about the Pioneer One naysayers. This was brought to a head by me finding a hitherto unknown-to-me P1 "fan" community on Orkut. This section is a Brazilian forum for discussing P1. When I joined last week there were already 700 members, and this currently stands at 713. When I saw this I got excited, although none of it was in English. After a few trips to Google Translate, I found however an enormous amount of negative comments, and indeed posting a link to this blog resulted in some negative feedback. Whilst, of course, everyone is entitled to their opinions, I couldn't quite work out why people would spend time returning to a site to slag something off repeatedly. I've seen plenty of online web series that I don't like, and I just stopped watching them (and TV - Heroes season 3 anyone?).

Anyway a lot of this negativity seems to float around two points, the first is that the plot is too slow and/or not Science Fictiony enough. Again, each to their own, but I find the slow plot a plus, and as I've said before, more like a novel than a conventional action packed drama. The second, that it doesn't contain enough SF elements is something the creators have always admitted up front: its just that nobody really listened. P1 is an interesting and relatively rare blend of SF, procedural and political drama, and for some people just don't like their genres blended.

The second criticism is in the quality of the production, pacing, acting etc. I can't find the comment now, but I saw something online that went along the lines of "It's not as good as Lost, is it?" This inane comment got me thinking: how does P1 stand up to Lost when adjusted for budget? I did some back of the envelope calculations regarding the costs involved in Pioneer One comapared to Lost:

Lost's pilot lasted approximately 90 minutes and cost $12 million, thats $133333 per minute of screen time.

P1's pilot was 35 minutes long and cost $6000, that's $171 per minute of screen time.

This makes Lost 780 times more expensive by my calculations.

Now I ask you if you think Lost is 780 times a better show than P1? I would say a resounding no. Now I know I've picked the most expensive pilot of all time (so much so the executive who greenlit it was sacked), but you see my point.

Pioneer One is made by people who stopped talking about how they were going to make it big one day, got off their arses and actually did something.; for this alone they should be supported.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Want to be on Pioneer One?

If you are in Binghampton area it looks like you could be an extra on the show, details here. The scene will be a huge press conference.This would be a great way for the time-rich cash-poor generation to help out the show.

Saturday, 30 April 2011

Pioneer One miscellania

Here is a round up of various P1 miscellania:

Josh and Bracey are interviewed on a Slice of SciFi here (I have to admit I've not had time to listen to this).

There's a Twitter based campaign to get Nathan Fillon to do a cameo on P1. This would be beyond amazing.

There's also a Twitter based competition which would let you name your own character on P1.

This is a great interview with Josh Bernhard with a pretty interesting comment about an 'episode 7'. You can digg it, if that's your thing, I believe it's got to the front page (I signed into Digg for the first time in 2 years just to Digg this).

Friday, 29 April 2011

Name a character in Pioneer One!

There's a competition on to name an upcoming character:


It doesn't cost you a penny and would be great to get Pioneer One to be a trending topic.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

The epic sweep beginneth

The term 'epic' is much overused these days, but this episode gave us a hint of what the scope of the whole story arc will be, and I'm guessing it will indeed be epic. The creators have often said that the events at Calgary are only one small part of a much larger story, and we see some of these larger pieces put into place in this episode.

The episode is split into three. Plot 'A' predominantly shows events at DHS HQ, and as I said in a previous episode if you'd only seen this episode you'd be forgiven for thinking McLellan was the main character here. I enjoyed the disconnect between that HQ was thinking about Yuri - that they were beginning to believe their own lie that he was a terrorist - and Taylor's gradual realisation that Walzer is correct (or at least appears to be). I also really liked the combative Collins. We've seen a few lines of his head-to-head a while ago in a teaser and it was good to finally see the whole thing.

Something that struck me here is that McLellan and his men are not the good guys here at all, they basically spend the whole episode lying and scheming, but I found myself on their side (a bit like in Silence of the Lambs when Lector is escaping - you're on his side despite the fact he's the bad guy). Also, McLellan seemed to know that the off-stage Miller was about to be sacked. Is there a conspiracy here going all the way to the White House? We also get confirmation that some level of the Russian government knows about the cosmonauts. I thought this was a pretty big reveal as it tells us at least that this was a government backed enterprise (though I suppose everything was in Soviet Russia).

Back on the base story arc B continues to deliver. Yuri and Jane's romance (we can call it that now) continues to run its course. Why didn't Yuri know the word for lonely? Did Jane get it wrong (can anyone confirm?) or has Yuri never heard the word because he's lived in the same Martian tent with his parents all his life? Note also the way he didn't actually say 'Mars', but 'the world', I bet that's going to become important somehow. The big reveal plot-wise however, and one that almost got lost in the mix, is that Yuri can speak English.

The closing scene showed Walzer on the phone, I'm assuming this was a colleague he'd been getting in to help him with something (maybe Dr. Avery Frank?) or was it something more sinister? And moreover, what wasn't 'a good idea'?

One thing I don't get though: on suspecting a leak about Dr. Walzer's presence on the base, surely they would have immediately blamed Clive Anderton, the hired and fired source of another leak from episode 2?

The 'C' arc showed a number of different TV pieces of people opining and arguing on the events from an outside point of view. These were all skilfully done and gave an excellent perspective as the public begin to put the pieces together.

From a production point of view the little ps and qs are also getting slicker. One of the establishing shots of the DHS HQ seemed to pan round the building as if filmed from a helicopter, I've no idea how you do that on a budget of $6000. There also seem to be more extras knocking about in the background.

I'm going to round off this review by saying that there have been four episodes now: enough to get stuck into story properly, and it would be criminal for the creators not be able to make the story they want to because of lack of funds, so please donate. Not only will you be supporting a great TV show but also helping a paradigm shift in entertainment. History remembers those who shift paradigms, not those who tried to prevent them from happening.
Pioneer One is GO!


This is a good 'un!

Episode 4 out 12 pm EST / 5 pm GMT

Currently flogging this from a mobile which is a bit tricky. See pioneer one Facebook page for the announcement.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Tomorrow is the big day!

Don't forget folks, tomorrow is the big day for episode 4. If you've not already signed up for notifications at Vodo I'd advise you to do the same, but I'll be posting download and streaming links as soon as they become available.

I can guarantee you will enjoy this episode. I suppose one of the good things about having such a restricted budget is that there won't be any filler episodes; each one has gotta count and take things in a new direction, which this episode certainly does.

Feel free to post your comments on the blog if you feel so inclined.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Five questions

A few days ago Josh "The Co-Creator" Bernhard proposed I ask five yes or no questions which he would answer. Click through to the Spoiler Section to find out more.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Epiosde 4 Pre-release Review

I have a confession to make. The previous spoiler post was somewhat disingenuous because I have in fact seen episode 4 as a pre-screener. This somewhat gave me a confusing sensation like my parents giving me presents a week before Christmas, but never mind. What follows below is an impressionistic, unstructured spoiler-free review.

As mentioned in the interview, this episode 'Triangular Diplomacy' gives a perspective on the events of the story from the outside world. In fact if this was the first episode you saw you might be forgiven in misunderstanding who the main characters in this are. It's almost a quarter of the way in before we see our friends at Calgary and I think most of the story here takes place off-base. As a result the feel of this episode is much broader and less shut-in than previous couple.

I don't know enough about the technical side of film/tv making, but on an impressionistic level the overall quality of the show is also certainly improving. I don't just mean audio and video quality but things like the framing and the angles seem more developed. As usual the music is spot on. I'm starting to get a feel for the structure of the episodes now; they all have an opening formula.

The final scene also sets up a whole new intriguing plot thread, which of course I shan't tell you here.

Here are some random tidbits:

- There's more unsubtitled Russian.

- Watch for two Lionshare references.

- Watch the clocks.

UPDATE: As per the comments, I realise I didn't actually come right out and say that I really enjoyed this episode. I did really enjoy it. I thought it is an excellent addition to the corpus, which shows a fascinating new angle on the story.

Known Knowns and Known Unknowns

Click here for a spoiler round up for episode 4.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Deimos maybe easier to reach than Mars

There's an interesting article about how it may be easier to reach Deimos - one of the moons of Mars - than Mars itself. You can read it at io9.

I have slightly mixed feelings about Lockheed Martin's involvement in the 'race' to Mars, but that's another story.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Episode 4 release date confirmed

I have received information that the likeliest date for the episode 4 release date is April 28th or 29th. This is provisional however.

There will be some new posts in the very near future.

EDIT: It has been confirmed that it will be the 28th!

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Some episode 3 easter eggs part 2

Here are all the various appearances of the dots representing earth in the night-sky of Mars. The last pic is not an easter egg as such, but it's a beautiful shot, and would make a good desktop background: (blogspot seems not to want to let me put any text between the pictures).

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Some episode 3 easter eggs part 1

Well the blog has gone crazy since I posted that review!

Ok I've flagged up some Sound/music themes in this episode:

Walzer's stutter; Walzer's music and it's use in SETI; Vernon's radio interference; "I hope you like Motown".

Here are some visuals. First the newscasts: unlike episode 2 they seem to all be about the events occurring on the base. I an't see all of that headline, but I can read: C MILLER SHARPLY CRITICISED FOR INACTION

RCMP stands for Royal Canadian Mounted Police which makes sense. Sorry if you all knew that already.

Yuri's hospital label suggests episode 3 takes place on Sep 27th 2011, which would make Earthfall on the 24th. If there's ever a need for one I'll do a timeline.

That's all for now, will post some more easter eggs tomorrow, and feel free to request some in the comments.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Initial Review of Episode 3 - Me Looka, Me Laika

This is an initial review, just to get my thoughts out on the page before they fade. I'm not going to bother recapping, because if you can read this it means you have an internet connection and can watch it for yourself.

Out of the gate I want to say I loved this episode.

Watching this episode I got that feeling when you work somewhere for a few months, and then get to know your work colleagues and you realise what motivates them. Without descending into soap opera, we get to see extra sides to Taylor, Walzer and DiLeo. In Taylor's case we see his (ex-?) girlfriend and his aspirations there. For Walzer I enjoyed seeing his somewhat naive view of what the situation was about, especially after decades of frustration with the US view of manned Mars missions. We literally got to see a new side to DiLeo in learning his first name, taking him out of the realm of being predominantly comic relief (not that there's anything wrong with comic relief).

Another star of the show here was Jane, or rather the chemistry between her and Yuri. Laura Graham's depiction of an overwhelmed Jane attempting to apply things she knows in an extraordinary situation was genuinely moving. Somehow Yuri, who sits up once, screams once and says only one word manages to convey something meaningful in his attitude towards Jane, maybe because we know its possible that this is the only female he's ever seen apart from his mother.

The music in this episode was still beautiful but the quality seemed better and more integrated somehow. Just from having seen it once, I'm guessing any Easter Eggs here were mainly audio rather than visual. I'm primarily talking about the intentionally-unsubtitled Yuri's word which means 'Firebird', suggesting he speaks at least some English.

That said, and I'm far from an expert in these matters, the visuals seemed more proficient as well. More establishing shots and pans or something, I don't know.

"I can't imagine what your life has been like". With those words it occurred to me this is in some ways a series about human-alien contact, it's just that the alien both human and Martian (like the protagonist in Stranger in a Strange Land), and that communication is almost as difficult as if he weren't human.

Also nice to see Laika, Walzer's dog, enter the P1 canon, although readers of this blog would already have known about this. ;)

Each episode in this series -which started out great- has got stronger and stronger. If this trajectory is continued in episode 4 in three weeks I'll be a very happy man. I really hope they get the funds together to tell the story the show deserves for episode 5 and 6. But if you're reading this you've already donated for those episodes, right?

Monday, 28 March 2011

Discuss episode 3 here.

Please feel free to post your thoughts and discussions here. Initial review coming later today fingers crossed.

Episode 3 out now!

Episode three appears to be online a bit early. You can get it here. Click on download.

Time of Epiosde 3

According to this tweet, the show should be going up in a little over three hours now! If you're getting it on BT don't forget to seed.

Episode 3 in orbit today and some theories.

Well folks today is the day. I haven't been able to devote as much time as I'd wished to this blog in the run up to episode 3, but I'll be watching it tonight and posting a review as soon as I can. I'd invite people to post their thoughts and so on in the comments.

I just want to get a couple of things off my chest quickly before epi 3 comes out. There are two bits in episode 2 which I think may prove to be important. One bit is where Clive says that the shuttle approaching Earth was at a different trajectory on Wednesday and must have slowed down to catch Earth. This is overlaid by Walzer's discovery of a Martian rock, and I wonder if this isn't some deliberate misdirection to give us some information but make us forget it straight away.

The second part is at the end where Walzer says something like 'the evidence fits with the boy's story, but I can't feel like there's something big that I'm missing'. Combine this with Josh Bernhard's comments about episode 4: "The next episode is called "Alone in the Night" and we'll be spending a lot of time with Yuri, our supposed Martian cosmonaut." and I think we have a twist approaching.

Let me know what you think and don't forget to donate.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Casting Call for episodes 5 and 6

The casting call for some characters that will appear in episodes 5 and 6 have been posted on Craigslist. You can read it in the spoiler section.

Friday, 18 March 2011

'Gloriously Retro' Treasures of the Soviet Union's Space industry

BBC website have posted a great article about the Soviet space race with some great visuals here.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

P1 discussed by Vodo at SXSW 2011

This is an interesting video from a guy behind Vodo, the promoters and distributors of Pioneer One and a number of other creative works, and all round P2P heroes. Pioneer One is discussed:

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Episode 3 release date announced - March 28

Just got this email literally seconds ago:

We are pleased to announce the official release date for episode 3 of Pioneer One: Monday, March 28th. An official release date for episode 4 will be announced soon, but we plan to release it within weeks of 3.

We also have a start date for production on episodes 5 and 6: May 5. Whatever money we raise between now and then is what we'll have to make those episodes, so we're hoping 3 and 4 will get us some new fans who want to see more!

Sunday, 13 March 2011

50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's flight.

The Guardian is a British newspaper and has a fascinating piece about Sergei Korolev, the man behind the Soviet Space Race. You can read the online version here. They also have a great gallery of Yuri related images here. Yuri is of course probably the inspiration behind the naming of Yuri in episode 2. Hopefully in 3 we will find out his real name.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Video Blog #18

The latest video blog has just been released about the music for the show. There are some very mild spoilers.

Some further episode 2 easter eggs

Here is the last batch of things I noticed in episode 2. You can click on any images to make them bigger.

Judging by the things on Tom's desk I'm guessing he's not got much of a home to go to:

I can't really make out much of this. It's some sort of schematic. I can read at the bottom:
Marc Gates / Please have this information verified or corrected prior to fabrication (all holes are 5/8'' or 1 1/4 slots) Call if there's ?s / Thank You / Frank M Amberg.

You'll be pleased to see the production team aren't wasting your hard earned donations on Windows Vista licences, but are using Linux instead. It's Gentoo, kernel 2.6.17. No idea what the command line stuff is about though. I also have no idea what operating system the DHS actually use.

Two envelopes addressed to Sofia and Tom. Sofia's one got a few seconds close up in an establishing shot.

Feel free to post any observations in the comments. Also if there are any other easter eggs out there I've missed then let me know.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Another update about releases dates

The folks at Pioneer One have just announced that episode 3 will be out by the end of the month (March), and episode 4 about two weeks after that:

Newscast Easter Eggs

Here is a list of the news items as appearing in the headlines during the press conference in episode 2. It's an election year, as mentioned McLellan.

They read:


I'm not aware if these are taken from a specific point in time, it sounds like headlines from the possible near future to me. You can read about Intro 48 here.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Walzer's Diagrams

In the first of a few posts I'll be doing on easter eggs, here are some screenshots of Walzer's workings as seen in episode 2. I've no idea if any of this makes sense, so if anyone can knows please post a comment.

These two are the board in the abortive seminar:

Disclaimer: I love maps! This looks like an old-ish possibly Dutch map of Mars. You can see "Assumed 16th March 1983" and "too late" written on it. It has similarities with an 1883 map you can view here: they both have the names M├Ądler Land and Huygens Land. If anyone can find a decent copy of this map on the net, or identify it, please post in the comments. I'm going to be doing further research on this.

This is the diagram Walzer uses in the flashback. My favourite easter egg I think in this episode is the date: six days before 9/11. If the committee were wary of funding a Mars mission before 9/11 they certainly weren't going to do it after.

Please post a comment if you have any insights or observations.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Update on episode 3 and 4 release dates

Just a quick post to say that according to this Tweet the release dates for Episode 3 and 4 will be released in a few days, with plans for 5 and 6!

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

NASA investigates possibility of return trip to Mars

An interesting article on some of the difficulties involved in getting to Mars (and back) here.

Monday, 28 February 2011

New Twitter

There is now a Twitter account attached to this blog, which I'll use to tweet each new post, if that's the way you like to do things:


Friday, 25 February 2011

Exclusive Interview with Josh Bernhard

I'm very pleased to present an interview from Josh Bernhard, co-creator of Pioneer One. The last question contains some mild spoilers.

P1FS: First of all thanks for agreeing to do this interview.

JB: Sure! One of the things we were most looking forward to with doing this show was being able to have a dialogue with our viewers.

P1FS: The show ticks all the boxes for me: mystery, geekiness, retro-technology. Your approach of making the show available for free and funded from various sources is very brave; are you meeting your targets? Have you had to rethink your approach at all?

JB: Thanks, though I'm not sure I'd call it bravery! We wanted to tell this story, took stock of what resources and opportunities we had, and decided this was a way we could make it happen. And we constantly rethinking our approach. Not necessarily from the bottom up, but definitely recalibrating. Six months ago we thought we might be somewhere different by now, and six months before that we thought something else entirely. We've exceeded some of our target goals and fallen short on some others. But after the first two releases we have a much better idea of how to use our resources most effectively, and that's affecting how we're moving forward.

P1FS: I heard in an interview recently that you see more of an affinity with TV shows like the Green Wing [JB: West Wing I think we had mentioned, GW is the hospital show yeah?][P1FS: Yes, I'm going to quote Homer Simpson here: "Doh!"] and I think 24 than with the usual suspects like the X-Files and Fringe. How happy are you with the label of 'Science Fiction', with all the baggage that this brings?

JB: I have absolutely no problem with being labeled science fiction, it's just not the first label I'd slap on the package. And that's not dithering, because I think to do so would create false expectations of what the show is going to be. We just want to make sure that "Mars" and "space" are not all somebody hears before they stop listening, because the premise, while a little high concept, is really more of a launching point for the drama. I'd describe it more as a piece of speculative fiction, but people give me funny looks when I call it that so I decided to shut up!

That said, both Bracey and I have pretty strong credentials in the sci-fi department, and we're making a show that we would want to see ourselves.

P1FS: The pacing of Pioneer One seems to me to be very like a novel. Are there any particular authors or novels that have influenced Pioneer One?

JB: Thanks, that's one of the things I like about it too. Our show has a serial narrative and is more of a slow burn, and it builds to something that I think will be very satisfying.

P1FS: The central concept of the show is a really great one, how did you come by that idea? Did you decide you wanted to make a web series and get the idea, or the other way round?

JB: This is probably the question I'm worst at answering! I can't say for certain, but those who know me well have pointed out my long-standing interest in both the space program and Cold War history, so I guess it was natural that's where my head would end up.

The story came first, and this was the best way to tell it. If I thought it would work better as a one-off, we would have made it as a movie instead.

P1FS: The soundtrack to the show is beautiful. Can you tell us more about it?

JB: Thanks for asking about that! This is really a question for Bracey to answer, since wrote the signature pieces himself and is overseeing the rest of the score. We have a few composers (Felix Bird, Josh Cipolla, and Mike Sweeney) working on different sections but Bracey is very concerned with creating distinct melodies and themes that will recur throughout the show.

P1FS: There are a bunch of other web only TV series, but it seems to me that Pioneer One has been by far the most successful to date. What's your secret?

JB: That's very flattering, what gives you that impression? I guess it depends on by what measure you judge. The only thing I can say is that from the beginning we've thought of the show we're making not as a web show but as a TV show that appears primarily on the web. It might be a semantic distinction, but that's the mindset we're operating with.

The biggest boon for us in terms of exposure has probably been our distribution through VODO and our association with their DISCO Distribution Coalition. Part of what I meant earlier when I said we took stock of our resources was that we knew we had a venue to get the show out there through our relationship with VODO, which started when they distributed a movie I wrote and directed called The Lionshare. [P1FS note: hope to do a post on this in the future.]

P1FS: How are episodes 3 and 4 shaping up? Can you tell us something exclusive about the upcoming episode?


JB: Episodes 3 and 4 are both in stages of near-completion, which is why the gap between these two releases will be short. The next episode is called "Alone in the Night" and we'll be spending a lot of time with Yuri, our supposed Martian cosmonaut. Episode 4 is titled "Triangular Diplomacy" and will give us a perspective on the events of the story from the outside world.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Spoiler round up

I have posted some spoilers in the spoiler section.

I've set up a separate section for these for people who want to avoid them, but I'll always post a link on the main blog.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Q & A with Screening in NYC

I neglected/forgot to post about the screening of episode 1 in New York last night, perhaps because I was jealous that I was unable to go (I live in the UK). The blog here covers the evening here in an update towards the bottom of the post. It looked like a great event and I recommend you have a read of it.

Apparently there is some P1 fan fiction out there; if anyone can lead me to this I'll post a link.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Zachary Walzer ≈ Robert Zubrin

I have just come across this interesting titbit here. Zachary Walzer seems to be very much like a real life person Robert Zubrin. Apparently not happy with only being the lead advocate for the human settlement of Mars, he also invented three-player chess. I bet he's an interesting dinner party guest.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Another interview

Another interesting interview with Josh Bernhard here.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

What do these numbers mean?

This is worse than Lost! The final scene of episode 1 shows a lone old computer (anyone know what make it is?) at Baikonur Cosmodrome showing the following output. I've had a look at the numbers and all I can make any sense of are the bottom numbers which are clearly the grid coordinates for Calgary (the region of Nose Hill Park to be precise). This suggests to me the current location of the shuttle and it is still sending some sort of signal.

Does anyone have any idea what the other numbers might signify? Put theories in the comments, anything welcome.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Friday, 11 February 2011

Approximate episode 3 and 4 release dates announced.

The mysterious entity behind the Facebook page for Pioneer One has mentioned in a thread that the release dates of episodes 3 and 4 will be March, exact dates TBA. There are also a ton of pics in their album. You can look at them here, I think you'll need a Facebook account though.

UPDATE: New information has come to light you can see here.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Another Easter Egg

I just found another easter egg; this is from the original version of episode 1 where you see Zachary's office. There's a close up pan across his board and this is clearly visible. I think Commies from Mars is a much better name than Pioneer One (joking). What's interesting is that this is absent from the refix version with the new actor.

The state of the Russian space program

The BBC news site has a timely piece about the current state of Russian space flight, with a bit about Mars towards the end.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Episode 1 Easter Egg

I was rewatching episode 1 and realised the camera zooms in on this cartoon right near the beginning. This is the best quality I could get. The asteroid's thought bubble reads:

"Aha Puny life on Earth! You can't stop me now! Your time is up! Mu-ha-ha-ha-haaa!!"

and the caption reads:

"But what the asteroid hadn't counted on was the plucky courage and dogged tenacity of one young man. Albert Snipe asteroid hunter."

I assumed it was thematically linked to the show but now I've typed it out I'm not so sure. Maybe it's a hint at what's to come?

Monday, 7 February 2011

Some 'spoilers'

I've posted some things gleaned from the video blogs about future episodes in the Spoiler section.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Episodes and some interesting Video Blogs

You can find the episodes here, but also a number of video blogs from the creators and actors showing some 'behind the scenes' stuff, along with at least one actor who presumably will be appearing in episode 3.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

About us

This is a fan site about the web-only Science Fiction series Pioneer One. Pioneer One is freely available to watch on the net and is funded entirely through donations.

You can watch and donate here.

About the show:

A mysterious spaceship enters Earth's atmosphere, spreading radiation over hundreds of miles of rural Montana. Officials are quick to bring up the possibility of a terrorist attack, specifically the detonation of a dirty bomb, but an investigation of the debris in Canada uncovers a live human being in a Soviet space suit in an unstable condition. A note handwritten in Russian found at the crash site says that the man is the child of cosmonauts living at a base on Mars.

If that doesn't sound interesting to you then move along.

Episode 1

This is a place holder for a synopsis of Episode 1

Interview with creators of Pioneer One

A very informative in depth interview with Josh Bernhard and Bracey Smith, the creators of Pioneer One here.

First Post


I'm planning this to be a fan site about the internet only Science Fiction series Pioneer One. As far as I can see there aren't any fan sites yet, so we'll see how this goes.