Fans have been waiting for six years to finally see SPACE COMMAND…ever since the initial Kickstarter back in 2012 took in $221,000 from more than 2000 donors. During that time, show-runner MARC ZICREE created a studio, built sets (no, not all by himself), cast actors like ROBERT PICARDO, DOUG JONES, MIRA FURLAN, BILL MUMY, and a host of other noted sci-fi and Hollywood veterans, filmed scenes, sold shares to investors, and planned out post-production.
Then, last November, a second Kickstarter raised an additional $108,000 from 1,126 backers…enough to fund post-production on the first hour of the two-hour pilot “Redemption.” Post-production includes things like editing, VFX, sound, music, compositing, and a host of other tasks that take a bit of time. But finally, last month at San Diego Comic Con, Marc debuted the first half-hour of Space Command: “Redemption” to a live audience.
Shortly thereafter, Marc shared a special video link so that donors could also see that first half-hour segment. It was really well done—especially considering that the budget was the merest fraction of what gets spent on shows like Discovery or The Expanse.
I expected, when the newest Kickstarter campaign launched late last month (to fund post production on the remaining hour of the pilot), that the link to the completed Part 1 would be shared with the general public.
Surprisingly, it wasn’t.
Yesterday, I interviewed Marc (great interview, by the way; it’ll be posted tomorrow) and asked him about that. It turns out that Marc was just waiting for a few last-minute tweaks. Apparently, the version that had been posted to donors was rushed out to be ready for Comic Con, and now Marc wanted to fix a few things before showing it to everyone else.
But now those fixes are in (and apparently, a few more are still to come), and the video is available for the public to see. HOORAY! There’s a short 5-minute introduction by Marc—which you’re welcome to watch or skip—followed by the complete first half hour of “Redemption.” Enjoy…
And remember that you can donate to their latest Kickstarter up through August 27 by clicking here:
22 thoughts on “SPACE COMMAND: “REDEMPTION” (part 1) is now available to the public!”
Hmm, nice fan film, but it looks exactly that – like a fan film, not like a pilot for a proposed network series. The VFX would have to be considerably ramped up for that, especially in the car scene. Also, as others have pointed out on YouTube, the plot isn’t 100% solid (yet, maybe things will become clearer in the last 90 minutes).
Robert Picardo is excellent, as is Doug Jones. I didn’t like that captain at the beginning, but came to appreciate him more as the story went on. Overall I’m looking forward to parts 2-4, but again: the visuals are a bit disappointing, considering how much time and money went into it…
Considering that the budget for this first half hour was barely $250,000 and the budget for a half hour of Star Trek: Discovery is $4.25 million, I think you might be setting your expectations of quality a little too high, Olaf.
But listen to the interview with Marc Zicree that I’ll be posting tomorrow. He addresses the car scene and other issues…and apparently, the VFX are still a work-in-progress. Let me know what you think after hearing the interview.
What surprised me wasn’t the VFX- not great- but the quality of the writing. Rather than an homage to sci-fi greats, it was clumsy and cliched. up to about 22.04, every single scene was a classic science fiction trope that had simply been daisy-chained together. Given that Zicree’s great fundraising pitch is his history as a writer, I was very disappointed.
Don’t write it off just yet, Nadav. This was only the first 30 minutes of a 2-hour pilot for a 12-hour first season of a 5-year epic.
Go back to the first 30 minutes of Babylon 5’s pilot episode. Nearly all exposition. But look where THAT epic series took us! 🙂
Jonathan, the thing about cliches is that they are cliche because they’ve been done before, and often. Bablyon 5 debuted 25 years ago. I’d like to think we have improvement in the quality of writing, and not repeating the same thing after more than a generation.
I’m bummed by this, and I don’t think this will get picked up by a network. The pilot is not up to a broadcast standard. Some of the performances are great- Picardo in particular- but name one other character that isn’t a stock character being trudged out? Any network interested would, at best, take a concept and start over. But even there, I don’t see anything special about the concept or the execution.
After 30 minutes- a broadcast slot for a show- we have nothing to inspire us as to story, raison detre, what the ‘space command’ is about, anything, really, about why anything is happening in this world.
Having a Muslim in the future is an unusual touch, but a virtual carpet is just insulting and betrays religious ignorance.
Cliches can also be traced back thousands of years, Nadav. Many of Babylon 5’s themes were taken from long-standing legends and myths. G’Kar was the use Cassandra, cursed by Apollo with the ability to foresee the future but have no one believe her (and who ultimately wound up in the service of Agamemnon…remember the name of Sheridan’s old ship?). There were elements of Arthurian tales. There was the Odyssey in there, too…plus the classic hero’s journey. There were elements from World War II and from way back to Roman times. Emperor Cartagia was Caligula, Londo was Nero, and Vir was Claudius. (Yes, I know Nero came AFTER Claudius. I didn’t write the thing!) 🙂
Anyway, I simply want to point out that Babylon 5 took from some literary and historical “cliches,” too.
As for Space Command inspiring us, I felt ready to be inspired. After only 30 minutes, when the full story arc is a 12-hour season or a 5-season saga, I don’t feel the need to “rush” things just yet. Now, if the pilot ends and I’m still not feeling inspired, then yes, Marc will have dropped the ball. But I’m willing to give him time to develop his characters and their stories.
I’m listening to the interview right now, and it will be interesting to see what (kind of) changes will be made. I don’t however think that animating the hair or adding reflections to the windows in the car scene will do the trick. It just looks outright fake, even the exterior scene where the car crosses the street. As do much of the other shots, something’s just wrong about the compositing, there’s too much smoothing going on, the flames look fake when the ship is entering the atmosphere, and so on.
And yes, of course Discovery has a much higher budget, but I’m not comparing it to that. I’m comparing it to Prelude, which had a similar budget, right? Or taken Horizon, which had that smoothing as well due to the virtual sets, but there it was ok, as it was designed as a fan film. It’s ok here too, if you take it as an independent fan/hobby film, but it just doesn’t look professional enough for a network to pick it up. Just my opinion…
Only pointing out the obvious, Olaf, but Prelude and Horizon didn’t built actual, practical sets. Space Command did. So even though the budgets for Prelude and the first half hour of SC were probably about the same, money for SC also went into sets and more elaborate costumes and make-up…and more actors. Prelude had six people on screen–all of them seated for most of the time. Those are easier shots to get. SC had twice as many actors in more locations both green screen and practical. Also, SC tried to do more with some of the composite scenes. Prelude never had more than one person on screen at a time, and never traveling (until they did the Vulcan scene). So in many ways, SC was trying to do more challenging things than Prelude. As for Horizon, most of that was simply Tommy Kraft’s own insatiable pursuit of perfection while not charging himself and working full time for three years. Comparing his budget to anyone else’s, therefore, isn’t a fair comparison. Marc Zicree can’t afford Tobias Richter working non-stop for three years.
In other words, I think you’re still setting the bar waaaaay too high. You’re looking at everything Space Command DIDN’T do as opposed to everything they did. It’s easy to find fault with manhy things in this world. I simply choose not to. For me, it’s all about the glass being 80% full rather than 20% empty. 🙂
No, I don’t think I am. It was Marc Zicree who talked about getting this on a network, not I. If this was to be/remain a self/crowd funded web series, I’d be mostly fine with it. I just can’t imagine this getting up to standards high enough for a professional production so that a network would pick it up…
The rest are good arguments BTW, but don’t help negate my point 😉
These days, there’s a lot of “networks” that one might be able to get onto. Also, if one of them likes the concept, there’s nothing stopping them from throwing a few million at it to re-shoot some scenes and make better VFX. Who knows? For the right amount of money, Marc might even let them start over completely from scratch.
Or maybe it’ll just stay a crowd-funded project forever. Would that be so bad? As Marc said in our interview, if Gene Roddenberry were making Star Trek today and it got canceled after two seasons, he’d likely just crowd-fund season three! 🙂
If as the saying goes, the glass is half full, or half empty, then it depends on the person, that’s because if you drank 50% then the glass is half empty. Or, if the person only filled it half way, then it’s half full. A glass can’t fill itself, or empty itself. For every action, there’s an equal reaction.
My brain hurts!
Where did my comment go? Yesterday evening it was still awaiting moderation, now it’s gone? What’s up, Jonathan? 😉
Sorry for the delay, Olaf. It’s been a busy day filled with a doctor’s appointment for my little one in the morning, dropping him off at camp, then a trip to his school to drop off some paperwork, grocery shopping, a bit of work for a new client, some blogging, and then working with an artist on a secret project. Then there was more daddy-ing, including making dinner for the kid, exercising for me, and getting Jayden showered and into bed while my wife is in San Francisco for four days this week taking depositions. Then a little dinner for me, watching the first episode of “Cloak and Dagger” from earlier this summer, and then back to the computer to finish a blog and then hit some of the comments awaiting moderation.
While I’d love to approve and respond to everyone’s posts almost immediately–and sometimes I do–it’s not always possible. Again, my apologies.
I’ve had a further thought, which might be completely out of line but may be an interesting question for Marc in your next interview.
Looking at Marc’s long list of credits, almost all of them involve him stepping in to other people’s creations- whether as staff writer or producer, Marc has almost exclusively taken existing major characters and used them to tell new stories. A rare exception appears to be ‘Magic Time’, written with Barbra Hambly. However, creation of new major characters does not appear to be his forte.
I would contend that the weakness of the Space Command pilot on display is that most of the major protagonists are flat characters or stock characters. I’d be interested in how Marc approaches the challenge of creating a new world as opposed to playing in other people’s sandboxes.
“I’d be interested in how Marc approaches the challenge of creating a new world as opposed to playing in other people’s sandboxes.”
1) Most times in Hollywood, writers aren’t afforded the luxury of creating their own characters from scratch. You want to come on board The Orville or Discovery, chances are you’ll be writing existing characters, not creating completely new ones. Marc’s career history isn’t that unique.
2) If you want to see how Marc tackles a completely new world and characters all his own, then stay tuned. Sure, the characters might seem flat or stock right now, but let’s see if we feel the same way in November when Part 2 is released.
Patience, people. Rome wasn’t built in a day…although you could argue that it was crowd-funded! 🙂
Jonathan, I’m not suggesting that Marc is unique. What I am interested in here is the basic difference between being a world-builder and a world-user. I would suggest that being a world-builder is new to Marc, and developing characters from scratch in an episode is a different skill. I haven’t watched most of Marc’s work (never a B5 fan, and Animorphs- I preferred the books!) but his strongest work seems to be in taking well established characters and putting them into new situations.
Look, most pilots don’t get picked up. However, the fundamentals of a network pilot are the ability to display clear and interesting characters in a dynamic environment on the one hand, and a regularly shootable and budget-friendly story design.
Here, I struggle to see either. In a half hour of air time, we don’t have anything, well… interesting. There is not much story to speak of. Personalities aren’t developed. Tell me, in all honesty, which character (not actor) you desperately wanted to learn more about? Any network pilot needs to be able to tell you this and hook you in within half an hour, when the next batch of programs come on TV. If not, dead in the water.
By the by, there is a big difference between cliche, pastiche and literary tropes. (subject of much of my first thesis). Reuse and combination of literary tropes is normative. Dracula has appeared in hundreds of settings. Something is cliche where it is not transformative or novel.
Finally, with regards to the series staying fan-funded, I think the people who have been encouraged to buy shares, for thousands of dollars each, would be rather disappointed if the whole thing never progressed to network- it would be worse than the Axanar rage. This has been sold as an investment, and a hefty one, too.
Well, many times Hollywood investors are left disappointed…so this wouldn’t be the first time. I don’t think those who are buying shares are doing it solely for the pay-off.
As to which characters I want to learn more about, I’m intrigued by three in particular: Mira Furlan’s character at the beginning, Robert Picardo’s character (a man with a moral compass in a place where none is needed), and most of all, Doug Jones’ android. Sure, I’ve seen similar characters before, but I want to know more about where they’ve been and where they’re going. Now, truth to tell, I ascribe that as much to the acting as to the writing…perhaps more so. Then again, would Star Wars have been as good if we didn’t have three Oscar-winning actors delivering the lines George Lucas had written? Was the original script to Star Wars really that good or inspired? Or did it just come together perfectly?
Do I think Space Command will sell? It’s hard to know right now. Much worse stuff has made it onto TV…even recently. My suspicion is, though, that if the concept does sell, there will likely be many changes and a lot of starting over from scratch. So the bigger question is: will Marc take such a deal? Is the money and prestige more important than the creative independence and artistic integrity? We’ll just have to wait and see! 🙂
Everything’s fine, I was just wondering why it was gone completely (now it’s back) and not just stating that it’s still awaiting moderation. I have two kids of my own, so I know how it is 😉
Yeah, I don’t know how WordPress handles comments in moderation. It might wait 24 hours and then hide them. But don’t worry, I still see them here…unless they get marked as spam.
I finally got around to watching it and..I’m pleased with it overall. Sure some VFX shots could be better but if the price of having better Space scenes in something named Space Command is to have rolling car shots looking like they did the 1960’s The Avengers….I’m fine with it. Also it’s really really hard not to fall in love with a Starship that lift off like Fireball XL-5 🙂
I just hope to heaven that launch ramp is reinforced REALLY strongly. Otherwise, eventually, one of those Fireball XL-5’s is gonna plow through the bend and just keep right on going straight! 🙂
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