This is the translation of the review which appears in Fantascienza.com at http://www.fantascienza.com/magazine/telefilm/13966/pioneer-one-pilot/
An intriguing mystery and a classy production created with a fistful of dollars combine to challenge the great productions with free web distribution. Pioneer One’s pilot gives us hope in the future of non-television series.
Six thousand Dollars. That’s four thousand eight hundred and seven euros. What can you do with six thousand dollars? Maybe you can buy a second-hand, probably broken, car. Or a wonderful ultra-flat new generation TV. O would it perhaps be better to get a nice I-Mac and an I-pad? It’s a nice amount, but not enough to do great things with, and it certainly wouldn’t change your life. But if you put this sum in the hands of Bracey Smith and Josh Bernhard, it becomes something unbelievable: the pilot episode of a series. And what a pilot! Its added value is not the money, but the passion with which it was made, the passion for an art which has now become mostly nothing more than show business. Passion is what turns a fistful of dollars into a story you can tell, a story to see and enjoy.
A mysterious space shuttle crashes in Canada, leaving hundreds of miles of radiation behind it, all through Montana. The American government sends a team to shed light on the situation, where they are astonished to see that that not only is it an old Soviet Union shuttle, but there is a young man inside it who wears an ancient spacesuit and is seriously ill with a cancer which is devastating his body.
I’ve had the chance to exchange a few words with Bracey Smith, who told me how lucky they were to find a cast who not only literally worked for a slice of bread, but who were enthusiastic about the project and also had the qualities to make it all happen. Bracey is right, the actors are wholly in-part, starting from the protagonists Thomas Taylor and Sophie Larson, played by James Rich and Alexandra Blatt. But one of the most impressive scenes is the one in which Norton (Laurence Cantor), a super-expert on cold war mechanisms, performs an extremely interesting monologue in a style somewhere between the Godfather and a retired James Bond. For economic reasons, the episode has been given a theatrical slant, so to speak, with long takes which may slow it down, but which at the same time give an impression of realism and eliminate the glossy atmosphere which is now typical of Amerian tv series. Another aspect for which to give it credit is its challenge to the classic system of tv series distribution. In fact, Pioneer One has been distributed through an unusual channel, the torrent system, finding support not only on the Vodo platform – which is specialized in the Internet distribution of independent films - but also in all of what the English call the “infamous” websites, like Pirate Bay or EZTV, from which people normally download illegally. Perhaps this shows that a new path towards free tv series is possible, you just need willpower, passion and some enlightened minds who will believe in this kind of project. The system of donations puts the spectator in a privileged position. You can download the show, watch it, and if you like it you have the possibility of making a donation which will enable the program to go on. I find this concept exciting, I think it is a promising path, so I wish the pair Bracey Smith/Josh Bernhard all the possible luck for their project, as the future of internet series distribution may depend on them. But no pressure.
Translation by Ippolita Vigo