Friday, April 24, 2015

Pioneer One ~ Earthfall & The Man from Mars

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.

Today on Far Future Horizons it gives us great pleasure to present the first two episodes of the fabulous SciFi web series Pioneer One (2010) produced by Josh Bernhard and Bracey Smith. It is a series that has been entirely funded through donations, and is the first series created for and released on Bit Torrent networks.

Pioneer One is a serialized drama produced and distributed online through VODO and the DISCO network. Downloaded more than 3,730,000 times since May 2012 and winner for Best Drama Pilot at the 2010 New York Television Festival, the show is independently produced and financed by viewer donations. The pilot episode was filmed on a budget of $6,000, raised in advance using Kickstarter. The series itself was released under a Creative Commons license and is distributed for free in collaboration with VODO, as with Bernhard's previous independent film The Lionshare, over the Internet including peer-to-peer networks. So far, six episodes have been produced. Production of the rest of the season is funded through direct donations from the fan base.

The plot that surrounds the entire series involves a mysterious spaceship entering the Earth's atmosphere, triggering a massive response from the American government. Since the ship has spread radiation over hundreds of miles of rural Montana, officials are quick to bring up the possibility of a terrorist attack, specifically the detonation of a dirty bomb, however, that idea is discarded subtly by the leading investigator, asking the rhetorical question "Who would launch an attack on Montana?".

Debris is found in Canada, where an investigation of the crash discovers a live human being in a Soviet space suit. Federal agents working for the American Department of Homeland Security get involved, receiving permission from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to operate in Canada. The man is in an unstable condition and his initial blood work shows signs of severe cancer, with his doctors proclaiming him too badly injured to transport. A note handwritten in Russian found at the crash site says that the man is the child of cosmonauts living at a base on Mars. Not believing the note and wanting to announce a Department of Homeland Security success to the press, the American DHS orders Agent Taylor to bring the man back to the United States as a suspected terrorist, despite his severe condition. Believing the note could be true, Taylor ignores his orders and destroys the permission from the RCMP, forcing his team to stay on site.

He also brings in Dr. Zachary Walzer (a character based on Dr. Robert Zubrin, author of The Case for Mars and the subject of the documentary The Mars Underground), an expert who has written several books about the possibility of human survival on Mars, to discuss the incident. At the end of the episode, a radio signal is heard and the screen display of a computer at Baikonur Cosmodrome is shown.

If you want to see more episodes of Pioneer One, help fund the series through your online donations. Also be sure to visit Pioneer One's page on Facebook.

The complete first season of Pioneer One is available on DVD. There are currently plans to continue the series into a second season. Let's hope these plans come to fruition. 


An object from space spreads radiation over North America. Fearing terrorism, U.S. Homeland Security agents are dispatched to investigate and contain the damage. What they discover is a forgotten relic of the old Soviet space program, whose return to Earth will have implications for the entire world.

The Man from Mars
Dr. Zachary Walzer (Jack Haley)begins the  fight to prove the validity of the Mars story. Can he convince the government to mount a manned mission to Mars? Agent in charge Tom Taylor (James Rich) faces pressure from both the Canadians and his own superiors, and has to make a call.

Copyright Disclaimer
Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

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