Saturday, June 29, 2013


I was having lunch with a friend the other day and we were talking about SF television series'. A few minutes into the conversation my tuna-munching-mate said, "someone should remake The Starlost".

The Starlost, an NBC/CTV co-production from 1973-74 was a noble effort to make a 'space' series on video tape, utilizing the benefits of chroma-key and the lower production costs of producing such a series in Canada. We were not talking about remakes, exactly, but the fact that my friend brought it up was interesting -- combined with the fact that he barely remembers the 16-episode original show.

Four years ago I picked-up the DVD set of The Starlost and watched it again for the first time in years, I think of the series now as a noble failure; or, a good try but not quite there. There are some good episodes but most are okay or just plain bland.

Fine, when I watch current SF television shows I almost always react with, "what the (heck)?" To be truthful, The Starlost is not bad on those terms.

Not too many things whip me with narcolepsy faster than too-many-special-effects. Remember, only geeks like special effects over 'story'. As a matter of fact, many of them won't watch a series if there are no spaceships (of today's kewl special effects) even if it is branded as "science fiction".

I've noticed on the Web that a few comments have said "remake this series!" (with the advanced video technology we now possess). The principle is the same as the '70s effort but digital matting has made the effects process seamless; plus now we have CGI, something that was in its infancy forty years ago.

Just technical matters, of course. Technology hasn't helped or solved the great riddle of script-writing, and the all too precious story department is what would potentially separate a Starlost remake from the original, even more than 'imaging', as far as I'm concerned. (Some 'name' writers worked on the first tales of the Ark, but there were terrible time pressures caused by a late 'green-light' in turn furnishing a compressed pre-production schedule, which did not help the matter of finding shootable scripts.)

If a reboot were to be announced my first thought would be: "Why am I expecting to see more effects-laden crap?"


Scott Baker said...

I read a rumor about Keanu Reeves doing a remake. I doubt it would be a TV series, if Reeves is the kind of "old school" movie actor who sees TV as beneath him.

Barry Smight said...

Thanks for the info!

Christopher Leonard said...

I Imagine if they remake it, it would be with three younger actors playing Devon, Rachel and Garth. The Hunger Games and the like certainly have influenced things. There that new show on the CW network with the teens sent from a space station to a post apocolyptic Earth called The Hundred. It made me think of The Starlost and the failed Roddenberry show Genesis 2.

Barry Smight said...

I agree with you on the "younger actors" front, even if the original cast was relatively young -- especially Gay Rowan; she was 25.

Yep, look-alike, youthful casts seem to be the way. Logically, from a story standpoint, it could work and make a lot of sense: Who better wanting to leave your abode and explore than 'kids'?

Thanks for your comment!

Jeffery Wright said...

I am currently working on a re-imagined Starlost ark design, have a look at my work in progress here:

Barry Smight said...

Thank you!

Good work!

Christopher Leonard said...

Have the original cast appear somehow. Since computers have Sir I now. Have gay as the information avatar. Robin and Kier as people in Cedar Grove. Maybe Gay and Robin as parents of Rachel and Kier as leader. One thing that would make things smoother script wise is the average persons knowledge of computers. In 1972 there wasn't a single word to describe many common technology items that exist today. The needed a sentence then.

Len Lekx said...

I agree with Christopher Leonard about having the original cast appear as cameos in whatever rework is done - but disagree with the idea that Gay Rowan should be the Sphere Projector Host. William Oster did such a good job of it, that the role just screams for a similar treatment.

I really think that, however it is re-envisioned, it should be serialized in the same manner that Babylon 5 was done. Have a definite ending in mind, and work towards that end.