Pioneer One, episode one is here!

So the pilot episode of Pioneer One became available for download this morning. I scored a backstage pass to a sneak preview on Vimeo last night, but you can get your very own copy of the groundbreaking “made-for-torrent” series through their savvy distributor Vodo.net

As you might expect it’s not as slick as your typical big media TV drama — at least not yet. My film school snobbery is showing here but it seems to me that there are enough long takes in the first half of the episode to mess with the overall pacing. And likewise for this Linux snob, there are just way too many Macs lying around — what, is this FBI made of money or something?!

There are some impressive visual effects, though — thanks no doubt to director Bracey Smith‘s expertise in that particular area.

The way I see it the biggest challenge facing Bracey and executive producer Josh Bernhard is something that they never had to worry about with The Lionshare — that is, deliberately stringing their audience along with meager helpings of plot only every so often. With the big revelation at the end of this first episode, it looks like they can deliver.

I should point out my rather obvious bias here; Josh and Bracey have honoured me with a mention in the end credits for some reason. If nothing else it’s comforting to know that 50 or 100 years from now someone will see my gravestone and say: “Hey, didn’t this dude get a credit on Pioneer One? I wonder why…”

All self-depreciation aside, you must understand that this project is very big deal, whether you’re a fan of the subject matter or not. If it’s successful Pioneer One could pave the way for a golden age of video storytelling — funded by fans, delivered by BitTorrent, all without any meddling by big media.

What a wonderful thing that would be.

Will Pioneer One replace LOST as the serial drama that you obsess about each and every week? It just might, if you give it a chance…

8 comments:

  1. Episode unseen (I just had to create a banner for theTVdb first so my XBMC wouldn’t look off. I’m a completist when it comes to that stuff.) I have a few comments. First, I doubt it will replace Lost as my weekly fix. After all, how often will it come out? Yes, they’ve funded the first episode, but I doubt they can make the next in a week. Secondly, I hope that this is successful enough to encourage others to try the same. I’m not convinced yet that this is the distribution model of the future. However, I hope that this is good enough to convince some others (Maybe Moore & Virtuality?) that this is the future? After all, it won’t be the future until someone with some clout thinks it is..

  2. Episode unseen (I just had to create a banner for theTVdb first so my XBMC wouldn’t look off. I’m a completist when it comes to that stuff.) I have a few comments. First, I doubt it will replace Lost as my weekly fix. After all, how often will it come out? Yes, they’ve funded the first episode, but I doubt they can make the next in a week. Secondly, I hope that this is successful enough to encourage others to try the same. I’m not convinced yet that this is the distribution model of the future. However, I hope that this is good enough to convince some others (Maybe Moore & Virtuality?) that this is the future? After all, it won’t be the future until someone with some clout thinks it is..

  3. Just finished the pilot. Impressive, especially considering the budget. But that same budget obviously also enhanced its flaws, some of which I thought were unnecesary: dramatically, the pilot was strung out, with the “cliffhanger” for the next episode being too short. Some of the titled introductions made me wonder why the creators bothered, like the chap waking up – to what?
    The acting was a lot better than one would expect, but then one’s expectations are often merely our own shortcomings.
    But the camera work needs to improve considerably. There is no necessity or dramatic imperative to constantly pan hither an tither; a phone rings, big deal, no need to show the phone every time. Some discussion between two or more people might use editing cuts; such a scene, however gains nothing from overactive camera work.
    Overall: 8 out of 10. Remains the question: when will the next episode appear?

  4. Just finished the pilot. Impressive, especially considering the budget. But that same budget obviously also enhanced its flaws, some of which I thought were unnecesary: dramatically, the pilot was strung out, with the “cliffhanger” for the next episode being too short. Some of the titled introductions made me wonder why the creators bothered, like the chap waking up – to what?
    The acting was a lot better than one would expect, but then one’s expectations are often merely our own shortcomings.
    But the camera work needs to improve considerably. There is no necessity or dramatic imperative to constantly pan hither an tither; a phone rings, big deal, no need to show the phone every time. Some discussion between two or more people might use editing cuts; such a scene, however gains nothing from overactive camera work.
    Overall: 8 out of 10. Remains the question: when will the next episode appear?

  5. The scriptwriter badly needs to get a science/technology consultant or two. It’s not like it’s hard to find space enthusiasts online.

    My high hopes were crushed in the very beginning, when the “Astrological survey” caption flashed across the screen. 🙁 The “experts” – the astronomers, the doctor, the clichéd over-achieving generic-space-scientist – spoke vaguely, without any technical terms, even when more technical language could be expected. The “space expert” lost me with “It’s called ‘living off the land'”. Nope, a real space enthusiast would call it “In-Situ Resource Utilization”.

    And how the @#$% it is possible for an unknown spacecraft to re-enter in North American airspace without NORAD or some other military space tracking authority raising an alarm? I realise that there needs to be a dramatic “we don’t know what it is”, but the “blown up airliner” bit was lame.

    Pioneer One so far is just another example why the Science and Entertainment Exchange is badly needed.

  6. The scriptwriter badly needs to get a science/technology consultant or two. It’s not like it’s hard to find space enthusiasts online.

    My high hopes were crushed in the very beginning, when the “Astrological survey” caption flashed across the screen. 🙁 The “experts” – the astronomers, the doctor, the clichéd over-achieving generic-space-scientist – spoke vaguely, without any technical terms, even when more technical language could be expected. The “space expert” lost me with “It’s called ‘living off the land'”. Nope, a real space enthusiast would call it “In-Situ Resource Utilization”.

    And how the @#$% it is possible for an unknown spacecraft to re-enter in North American airspace without NORAD or some other military space tracking authority raising an alarm? I realise that there needs to be a dramatic “we don’t know what it is”, but the “blown up airliner” bit was lame.

    Pioneer One so far is just another example why the Science and Entertainment Exchange is badly needed.

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