SyFy might not compete with the bigger networks when it comes to total viewers, but on everything related to fandom, the station does extremely well. In fact, SyFy’s percentage of hardcore addicts is among the best on television. Showrunner Ronald D Moore found that out firsthand almost a decade ago with Battlestar Galactica, and now, he’s hoping to find it out again with his latest creation Helix.
Not a ton is known about Helix except that it follows a team of scientists investigating a a disease outbreak in the Arctic. The teaser let fans know to be prepared for thought-provoking creepiness, and if all goes according to plan, this panel will give us a few more hints at where this might be going.
Here’s the official description…
Leave sunny San Diego behind for an artic chill as Executive Producers Ronald D. Moore, Steven Maeda, Writer/Co-Executive Producer Cameron Porsandeh and more discuss Syfy's hotly anticipated new series, Helix. Get an inside look at the thriller about a mysterious outbreak on Earth's coldest continent. The truth will spread! Moderated by Entertainment Weekly’s Geoff Boucher.
11:53 AM: And we're off with casting news. Billy Campbell will play the lead and Hiroyuki Shinoda will play the villain, as of about ten minutes before the panel started.
11:54 AM: BSG creator Ronald D Moore admits he didn't even want to read the script when it was first sent to him. He repeatedly said no blind before he finally, begrudgingly agreed to read the first few pages to shut people up. Long story short, he loved it and got on board.
11:56 AM: Here's the basic plot of Helix: there's a virus outbreak in the Arctic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sends out a team to train and contain the virus. Unfortunately, the specialists sent there quickly realize the research that was supposed to be happening was never started. Instead, some crazy, unethical shit was going on, and now, the outbreak could potentially affect the entire world.
11:59 AM: Ron Moore is very excited about playing with structures in television. Battlestar Galactica jumped ahead an entire year mostly because Moore had never seen that abruptly happen on a proam. Helix will coincidentally make many of those same sharp lefthand turns, though it's unclear whether those variances will happen with time or other narrative devices.
12: 03 PM: SyFy executives really want this show to be one in which fans are actively guessing where it might go. The network is interested in pushing back to its science fiction roots, and they think this aggressive and gripping look at medicine will be perfect.
12:05 PM: There will be a lot of looks into the past. Character backstories will slowly unfurl throughout the season, revealing motivations and origins.
12:06 PM: The show will feature two former lovers who are forced back together under the worst of circumstances.
12:07 PM: Like the rest of us, Ronald D Moore is currently working his way back through Battlestar Galactica. This time he's watching it with his fourteen-year-old son for the first time. They just started a few nights ago, and not surprisingly, his son is on board and wants to know the frak is going on.
12:08 PM: This show will feature far less action than BSG. The word "creepy" has come up more than a few times.
12:11 PM: The audience seems pretty invested, which is impressive for a show that's aired exactly 0 minutes of real footage. This baby a few seats down from me, however, is NOT feeling it. Cries, shouts, punches at her mother. She's doing everything she can to let the crowd know Ron Moore's vision isn't speaking to her.
12:13 PM: Ron Moore loves the state television is in right now. Unlike movies that tend to produce either big budget films or moody efforts aimed at winning Oscars, television has so many different networks with different goals. Places like SyFy and the premium cable networks are willing to give a vision 10 or 13 episodes to let a show slowly develop without pressure to jam everything into a pilot.
12:15 PM: Fun fact! The cylons look like people on BSG because they couldn't get enough budget money at the beginning to make cool robots. In retrospect, Moore thinks not having that money did wonders for the show.
12:19 PM: There will be plenty of clues embedded in the episodes designed to let fans get a new experience on the rewatch.
12:25 PM: Some guy is here from Alaska. He wants to know WHERE in the Arctic Circle this show takes place. Sadly, the official location is Arctic Circle, and it is not based on any of the towns this dude might vacation at.
12:29 PM: The black goo seen in the teasers on this show is not the same black guy seen on other science fiction programs.
12:31 PM: After getting verbally harrangued by an old man, SyFy executives admit they are working to return the network to its roots with more scripted dramas.
12:33 PM: The show begins shooting in Montreal next week. All of the primary casting is done with.
12:34 PM: Helix was chosen not only for its relation to DNA but also for the dual nature of it.
12:35 PM: Ron Moore would rather serve under Admiral Adama than Captain Kirk.
12:36 PM: And we're done. Thanks for tuning in.