Friday, July 25, 2008

Bogus Series, or Overtly Optimistic Indie Producers?

To this day I still scratch my head about this one. So take this as a warning when using IMDB as a reference. The entry you may be reading might not just contain erroneous information it my be totally bogus to boot; or not entirely up-to-date in the realm of daylight reality. . .

So there I was, looking through my message history to check up on movies I've posted about, when I noticed this strange entry: "() re: vaporware".

"Huh?" thought I.

Well I clicked the link and got an error. The message (heck the entire entry page) was apparently no longer there.

"Interesting," thought I.

Took me a while to figure out what this was for, as it was a post I'd made some time ago. But the long and the short of it is this: One of the biggest frauds perpetrated against sci-fi fandom has finally had it's listing removed from IMDB. I am, of course, talking about the vaporware scam (?) called Starhyke, supposedly starring Babylon 5 alum Claudia Christian. Great actress so I figured if she was involved this must be something special. To misquote Puck, "What fools we poor mortals be!"

I know, harsh words, but at some point you have to see the spots and call a leopard for what it is. I don't like to say it but it's been a couple years and, seriously, if Star Trek fans can manage to produce fan series like Star Trek: Hidden Frontier and Star Trek: New Voyages then an, presumably, professional production company shouldn't have any problems getting a series out of post and onto the air. So, yeah, this leopard showed it's spots.

But you know what I'm not angry, though I should be, mostly I am just disappointed. Claudia Christian is a great actress and I was really looking forward to seeing her return to a sci-fi series on the small screen. At least that's how I felt when I furst stumbled on the entry for Starhyke two some odd years ago. Still nothing. Sucks.

I even posted in it's IMDB message board asking if anyone knew anything about this since there was NOTHING online save a static page that was more of a mock-up place holder promising information. Problem was the year it was promising there to be information posted by had long since come and gone.

Now don't get me wrong I'm not bashing the premise of the series, which is supposed to be a comedy (starring Claudia Christian) about a spaceship from the future flung into the past where they have to deal with primitive social customs and mores totally alien to them. What gets my hackles up is this is a non-entity, vaporware, a series that wasn't. The premise itself wasn't too terrible sounding, if a bit clich├ęd, and there could have been room for some fun antics. Alas, there appears to be nada, zilch, zippo in the way of actual epsiodes.

Oh, sure, there were statements about principle photography being finished; years ago. But if principle photography, as was claimed, had been finished and they were just waiting on the CGI SFX then, sorry to say, there's no hope for this if it hasn't appeared by now. Think about it. They're claiming principle photography finished, well, now it would be something like 3+ years ago. If true I'm sure the actors have long since moved on to bigger and better things.

It boggles the mind. No airdates, no webisodes (that I know of), no DVDs just. . . Empty claims and vacant promises. How does IMDB allow such non-entities to post listings?

At one point someone claiming to be involved with the production came by the IMDB message board and stirred up a hornet's nest with their comments and excuses. Funny thing is buried in all the vitriol was actually a few informative posts which, one day, just disappeared along with all the negative comments and aspersions made by this mystery individual. Now you may be thinking, "But, Kester, I'm sure the modstaff and adminstaff had a good reason for removing such messages."

I don't doubt that. I'll grant some of the messages were worthy of removal. But they also removed messages that contained technical information and details allegedly about the status of the series, and virtually all my posts disappeared as well. But THAT is not what really irks me as it just showed the guy was a fraud claiming things that were obviously BS. (He claimed the series would be airing soon on certain UK stations but then revealed the series had NO BACKING by any major studio and that this was all done independently. Which means this series was, at best, a overreaching fan production, at worst fraudulent BS.) It's the loss of posts about the status of the CGI and excuses about difficulties with the CGI that were noteworthy. There were also links and, if you Google for the series today you may not even be aware that what snapshots you are seeing now are NOT the CGI shots of the ship(s) originally shown a couple years ago.

That's right this leprous lesion on IMDB had been around for YEARS. I don't know what IMDB's policy is on fan productions or how they determine what are fraudulent entries but it should have been obvious about the third time they CHANGE THE YEAR on the entry this was vaporware. I mean, honestly, a entry for a series that has aired NOWHERE has no plans on being aired ANYWHERE and is, essentially, a fan production without an actual episode that can be seen? What's that all about?

I sure don't know. All I do know is I got suckered like a lot of other people. So kudos to IMDB for finally removing this entry, even if it seems to have taken way too long to realize this wasn't a legit entry in the first place.

}end rant


lightworx said...

I can confirm that Starhyke is a real production and not “Vaporware” as you put it.

Principle photography wrapped back in 2004. However, since that time we’ve had every problem imaginable. We’ve managed to sort all of the issues and although the financiers pretty much abandoned us over 2 years ago, we will complete the series by the end of September this year (2008).

Once the series has been completed we will sign contracts with the channel and the series will be broadcast in the UK and then released on DVD worldwide.

The CGI designs haven’t changed, the Nemesis is still exactly the same design as the original concept drawings, although there are a number of images from different stages on the website.

As for IMDB, we never put the series on the site in the first place, it was a fan of the show who knew about us from other productions we’d worked on. Because the series was not confirmed as completed after 3 years, IMDB deleted the listing. Once we’ve finished the postproduction we will re-list the series. As for the date being “upped”, I wasn’t aware it had ever changed.

Whatever you might think, creating a television series is rarely a fast process when it’s fully funded by a channel, it’s even worse when it’s a private venture where the finance can (and often does) vanish over night. It takes at least 2-3 years to get a first series off the ground, even if you have a track record in the industry. In our excitement for getting the series financed and into pre-production back in 2004, we were a little to eager to tell the world and started publicising the series well before we should have, which is why it feels like the series will never happen. Shows like Battlestar Galactica, Heroes, Bionic Woman, Doctor Who and The Prisoner have all taken just as long to get on air as our series, but they weren’t publicised until almost at the end of postproduction, plus their money was secured by a channel.

The series will be ready next month and will be aired sometime in early 2009. The website will be updates as soon as we have confirmed dates.

It’s not been easy and hopefully once the show has been finished and is aired we’ll not get laughed at or scorned for wasting 4 years of our lives to get the series finished.

I hope that puts your mind to rest.


Jonathan (G Brown, Producer)

Kester Pelagius said...

Thanks for the update and I hope my post didn't sound too tetchy. I know, I know information posted to the IMDB should be take with a grain of salt.

Regarding the CGI designs the one's currently on the Starhyke site (which looked fantastic BTW) seem different from the ones I recall, but then that was something posted by someone at IMDB ages ago. I know, I know; appologies for any confusion.

Much luck with getting Starhyke to air and onto retailers shelves.

lightworx said...

Hi Kester

No problem, we sometimes get a little protective of the series as it seems that everyone wants to stick the boot in when we're putting so much (financially and physically) into finishing the show.

There will be a screening of all six episodes in early November, if you’re able to get to Bristol I’d be more than happy to sort out a couple of tickets for you to see the show for yourself.

Email me at if you’re interested.