Thoughts on Pioneer One

Posted by Tobias Carroll

Last week, I watched the first episode of a science fiction series called Pioneer One. (Via Warren Ellis’s blog.) It’s being produced directly for the internet, and is being funded using a micro-funding model that anyone who’s visited Kickstarter will find familiar. In one interview, writer Josh Bernhard calls it a “blend of two subjects I’ve always been interested in: Cold War history and space exploration,” which about sums it up.

Based on what I’ve seen so far, it’s good-stuff: sober, thoughtful science fiction that makes the most of a small budget, and is able to evoke sizeable concepts without abundant special effects. It’s slow-burning, making use of the pacing of episodic television, and the ending’s left me curious to see where the series is going. (In the old-school CMJ “RIYL” category, I’d say that the feel so far is somewhere between Torchwood: Children of Earth and Rubicon.)

And — to try to tie this back in with something more aligned with Vol.1’s areas of coverage — it’s interesting that, with the rise of music-themed hybrids of cable channels and websites (VBS,, there hasn’t been much done with scripted work in that area.