A Cold War relic returns amid fears of terrorism but turns out to be a forgotten Soviet space mission. What it brings back will have implications for the entire world.
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Cast

Series cast summary:
James Rich ...
 Tom Taylor (6 episodes, 2010-2011)
Alexandra Blatt ...
 Sofie Larson (6 episodes, 2010-2011)
...
 Secretary McClellan / ... (6 episodes, 2010-2011)
...
 Zachary Walzer / ... (5 episodes, 2010-2011)
Guy Wegener ...
 Vernon (4 episodes, 2010-2011)
Aleksandr Evtushenko ...
 Yuri (4 episodes, 2010-2011)
...
 Jane (4 episodes, 2010-2011)
E. James Ford ...
 DiLeo (3 episodes, 2010-2011)
Joshua Wynter ...
 Captain Benton (3 episodes, 2010-2011)
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Storyline

A Cold War relic returns amid fears of terrorism but turns out to be a forgotten Soviet space mission. What it brings back will have implications for the entire world.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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The race has already begun.

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Drama | Sci-Fi

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Release Date:

16 June 2010 (USA)  »

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Budget:

$24,000 (estimated)
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16:9 HD
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User Reviews

 
Deserves more credit
23 December 2011 | by (Edinburgh, Scotland) – See all my reviews

Other have already spoken of this series as a "pioneer" for a new model of funding, so I'll focus on the dramatic and entertainment merits of the show.

First of all, the production is surprisingly good for it's low budget (reportedly $6k for the the pilot). There are some instances where the low budget becomes apparent - e.g. when the characters see something that's clearly meant to be amazing or shocking, we see it in the actor's reactions rather than the thing itself - but low budget is the card that the series has been dealt and the team work around it very well.

What surprised me the most was the quality of the acting. Sure, some of the fringe roles are a bit ropey - but the central cast are excellent. If anything, the lack of mainstream TV experience of the stars is a boon - it's refreshing to see characters on screen who behave in a normal human fashion, as opposed to the hyper-emotion that's become standard these days.

There are some clichéd moments that serve to convey character relationships and something more inventive would have been nice - but it's a 6-episode series, so there's less room for subtle development. On the other hand, one of the hallmarks of low-budget film making is that the director is often more interested in a specific moment or shot and less interested in how to get there. Thankfully, that's avoided here and the plot advances in a logical yet organic way.

As with the acting, the low budget actually helps with the special effects. In mainstream TV sci-fi, we're used to slow motion action, big red fireballs and CGI backdrops. This series' low budget means that they couldn't do any of that. Instead, the SFX is quick and brutal and the main focus is on the people dealing with the aftermath - just as it is in real life.

The writers have a belter of a sci-fi concept here. I'd love to see this series come back for a second season. The danger is that more money for season 2 might move the show in a different direction - but I hope that the show runners remember that Pioneer One's greatest strength is its humanity.


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