we think of space, we think of lofty ideals, passed on down to us from JFK and Star Trek. However, an oppressive belligerent power will
act the same up there as they do down here. Indeed, China’s saber-rattling off the coast
of Taiwan will bedevil an American manned space mission in Josh Bernard &
Bracey Smith’s Control (trailer here), which screens as
part of the 2012 New York Television Festival’s Independent Pilot Competition (IPC).
NYTVF is the only meaningful festival of its kind showcasing independent talent
looking to break into episodic television, in the same way scores of film
festivals act as launching pads for indie films in search of theatrical
distribution. There are real development
deals to be won at this year’s festival.
The dollar figures may not be much by studio standards, but they would
constitute a significant step up compared to the budgets of many competing
pilots. In the drama category, Smith
& Bernard’s Control may well be
the pilot to beat, which is not all surprising, considering their Pioneer One won the drama competition
two years ago.
American and Chinese navies are engaged in a war of nerves in the South China
Sea. Simultaneously, an American
spacecraft is racing to beat their Chinese rivals to a resource rich asteroid. Long in development, the American mission
continued, even when China precipitously laid claim to the asteroid, in open
defiance of international law.
Apparently a quasi-private enterprise conducted with official government
sanction, the mission obviously just became a whole lot more complicated.
flight director isn’t helping much either.
Not only did he call the president a feckless ditherer on national
television (but in more colorful terms), he is also carrying on a not so secret
affair with the chief medical officer, who happens to be married to the flight
all the genre-related pilots screening in the Drama 1 programming block, Control
is by far the one that leaves audiences most eager to see more. Shrewdly, Bernard & Smith end on a
monster cliffhanger that cannot possibly be as bad as it seems. Though the flight director resents the U.S.
Military’s secret involvement in the mission, he might be happy to have them
around when it is all said and done.
Based on the pilot, Control has
the potential to become a cool submarine-warfare in space story, much like the
classic Romulan episodes on the original Trek.
tone of Control is sort of like a
cross between Apollo 13 and Ben Bova’s
geopolitical sci-fi thriller novels. To
their credit, Smith & Bernard do not appear to have many naïve notions with
respects to the current (and presumably near future) Chinese Communist
regime. It also looks reasonably
realistic, thanks to the control room full of computers bought on the cheap due
to a tech firm’s bankruptcy (finally, the stimulus plan delivers).
Perhaps most importantly, despite all the
intrigue and political infighting, it looks like it will still tap into the warm
fuzzy feelings many viewers get when they think about the Space Program,
particularly in its Apollo-era heyday. Showing loads of potential, Control is definitely worth seeing when
it screens again this Friday (10/26) as part of the 2012 NYTVF’s IPC Drama 1 program at the Tribeca Cinemas.
Labels: NYTVF '12, Sci Fi shows