The Syfy 2014 Press Tour made its way down to Orlando this year and we were excited to join them and find out just what the network had in store for us in 2015. Over the years, we have seen the network shift away from great scripted science fiction programming to reality TV. Before the panels began, moderator and Editor at Large for Blastr Aaron Sagers introduced Syfy President Dave Howe, and Bill McGoldrick EVP Original Content to the stage to discuss the dedication and thought process of the heads at Syfy.
Bill McGoldrick started by saying that for 2015 Syfy was going back to great science fiction programming. He describes himself as the “ultimate fanboy, and looks forward to a lot more scripted and non-scripted programming”. One of Bill’s goals is to change peoples perception of Syfy stating “There is an astounding level of commitment at the network”, which he has witnessed in his first year at the network.
Dave talked about some of his favorite upcoming shows on the network including 12 Monkeys, Ascension, Helix, Killjoys and the newest green light series Childhood’s End. For all your Sharknado fans, he also revealed that the third film would take on the #FeastCoast starting in DC and working its way down to Orlando. “People want smart science fiction and smart writing. High quality shows are a must” said Dave when asked about the networks move back to scripted programming.
Bill and Dave said they look forward to going back to series like Battlestar and Taken which were ambitious, high quality programming. Syfy is dedicated to offering streaming access to viewers as alternative choices away from the cable companies. They pointed out the premiere of Helix and how they doubled up the first 2 episodes and streamed the third online ahead of time for fans to get a first hand look at the new series.
For all you zombie fans, Syfy also announced during the 2014 Press Tour that Z-Nation was renewed for a second season! Below check out our top picks for favorite upcoming and returning shows. Sadly we didn’t get anything on Childhood’s End at the event, which we are really looking forward to, however we did find out today that Game Of Thrones star Charles Dance will be joining the cast as an alien overlord!
12 Monkeys – Premiering Jan 16th @ 9pm EST
“Our Future Is History” is the title theme to the new series, based on the film of the same name. But don’t let the fact that its based on the film deter you, because although the basic premise is based on the film, this is not a cover series for the movie. The series verges away from the film and becomes its own thing. The series stars Aaron Stanford in the role of title character Cole, which was played by Bruce Willis in the film and Amanda Schull who plays Katrina Bennett.
Co-Executive Producer Travis Fickett says “The story might not be linear, but the emotional journey is.” Schull was excited at the idea of working on a series that involved time traveling saying “It’s every actors dream to do time travel with alternate realities.” The series is currently filming in Toronto and just wrapped up episode 10.
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Helix – Season 2 Premieres Jan 16 @ 10 pm EST
“Playing God Has A New Price”. Playing God is nothing new on Helix, but in season 2, the new price for playing is far higher than anything we have dealt with yet. Arctic Biosystems might be gone, but the immortals are still in power and there are still so many unanswered questions.
Season 2 will pickup 15 months after the events at the end of season 1. Rather than the isolated arctic climate of season 1, we will be on the isolated climate of an island off the coast of the pacific northwest. According to EP Steven Maeda “It’s a different claustrophobia. On an island there’s still that sense of getting trapped”. When talking about her characters arc in season 2, Kyra Zagorsky said “She is still tortured in season 2. Episodes 2 and 3 are the most bizarre and creative I have done.”
Given we are dealing with immortals, it is important to play a little bit with ‘time’ and Steven says we will do exactly that in season 2. He didn’t offer much more clarification then that, but expect some flashbacks to fill in some of the gaps. On a real life and somewhat bizarre twist, the technical advisor for the show is actually working on one of the Ebola teams right now for the CDC. The show uses some real life talent to help the science be as real as possible.
One of the fun aspects for Steven Maeda was changing up the title sequence for season 2. He wanted the style to feel the same as season 1 but reflect the new theme and environment of season 2. Hopes to continue that for any additional seasons. Matt Long has been brought on as a new main character. He will play a doctor from the CDC. He will be joined by another character named Michael (as seen in the preview above) played by Steven Weber.
Social Hashtag: #Helix
Killjoys – Coming to Syfy in 2015
Killjoys has promise in the Syfy lineup but the network is behind on getting them socially ready in time for fans to get interested. At the Syfy press tour, we got to see an exclusive clip that still has not made its way online. The series stars Hannah John-Kamen and Aaron Ashmore. Killjoys follows a fun-loving, hard living trio of interplanetary bounty hunters sworn to remain impartial as they chase deadly warrants throughout the Quad, a distant system on the brink of a bloody, multiplanetary class war.
The producers behind Killjoys are not new to the game and are Orphan Black producers Michelle Lovretta and Consulting Producer Emily Andras. This gives me some hope for the series. After watching the preview I got an almost Firefly-esk feel to the show. Syfy EVP Bill McGoldrick says firefly fans will enjoy the show. While the show has the tone and feel of Firefly, it is not a western. Also, don’t expect any aliens. Its all about the humans living on a planet with 3 moons.
Michelle Lovretta says “Killjoys are a hybrid form of law enforcement. They have a system they have to work within”. Aaron Ashmore said his favorite weapon on the show was the ship itself, which is named Lucy.
Social Hashtag: #Killjoys
Face Off – Returns Jan 13th @ 9pm EST
One of the few reality TV shows on Syfy that actually fit the network in the sense that its not annoying, Face Off brings us a behind the scenes look at make-up magic. Host McKenzie Westmore sat down with press during the 2014 Press Tour to share the news that the series would return for season 8 on Jan 13th and it would be a battle of the champions. The show will be bringing back some of your favorite winners from past seasons to battle it out as mentors.
Of the new judges coming in for the 8th season of the show, McKenzie commented that several made her geek out but she couldn’t share who they were just yet. Be sure to tune in and find out who the new judges are next season and be sure to watch the series finale this Tuesday.
The upcoming eighth season (it’s coming January 13 at 9/8c) will once again feature an entire new crop of artists showcasing their knack for special effects make-up, but this time they’ll be joined by three returning Face Off champions: Laura Tyler (Season 5), Anthony Kosar (Season 4) and Rayce Bird (Season 2).
The returning champions will pick a few of the new crop of artists to mentor. While Laura, Anthony and Rayce won’t be competing in the season’s challenges themselves, they’ll be a source of guidance and wisdom as they help the new artists of Season 8 conjure their many make-ups to the best of their abilities.
Even though the champion trio aren’t official competitors, they do have a bit of a stake in the game: Whatever artist emerges as the winner of Face Off Season 8, their corresponding mentor will also take home top honors as well.
Social Hashtag: #FaceOff #FaceOffSelfie
Ascension – 3 Night Event Begins Dec 15th @ 9pm
It’s Mad Men meets Star Trek meets Lost ~ Al Sapienza
In the vein of past Syfy mini-series such as Taken, Alice, Tin Man and Battlestar Galactica, Ascension is a six-hour event set to debut on December 15. In 1963, the U.S. government launched a covert space mission sending hundreds of men, women and children on a century-long voyage aboard the starship Ascension to populate a new world. Nearly 50 years into the journey, as they approach the point of no return, a mysterious murder of a young woman causes the ship’s population to question the true nature of their mission.
We could very well have another Battlestar level success here for Syfy if this ambitious 6 hour back-door pilot gets a series order. Much like Battlestar, this mini-series event is meant to be a 6 hour pilot episode to bring us into the world of Ascension. The hope from syfy is that the ratings are high enough to order a full series from it and turn it into the next Battlestar success.
Given the ship took off with the best and brightest of the human race in 1963, those on the ship were away from all the political challenges, changes and movements that took place on Earth, which means this small microcosm is going to go its own direction both in social standings and political movements.
“We don’t know about the civil rights movement, we don’t know about women’s lib” says actor Al Sapienza when asked about the isolation of the crew from humanity as they reach the half way point in their journey, the point of no return. The actors had to forget what they knew of history and study the 1960s to prepare for their roles as characters isolated from earth.
Because it is a 6 hour pilot, you get backstory on how each person was picked to be on this mission. Population control is in place, restricting child birth. Each year they look at the numbers who die and use that to determine licenses for those who can have children. Genetic parking and arranged marriages are a norm on the ship.
Social Hashtag: #Ascension