There are a lot of web shows out in the world to choose from, and it's not always easy to know which ones are good and which are bad. Transolar Galactica is a resounding "good", along with funny, smart, and fantastically written. A brief summation would be that it is "a sci-fi comedy webseries that follows the exploits of Captain Remmington Trigger and his crew of space misfits as they travel the galaxy in search of adventure."*
Transolar Galactica came into existence after Harum and his friends graduated from Eastern Washington University. They wanted to put together a sketch show to keep their film interests flamed while they searched for jobs:
"Our first sketch (Which is now known as the first episode of Transolar) came about from a conversation I had with Isaac (Captain Trigger) about how hilarious it was that at the end of start trek six, captain kirk tells the crew to take the second star to the right, and go straight on until morning. This being the last film with them all in it, was followed by an emotional head nod by all, and then they flew off into space. Obviously, this command is a metaphor, and it would have been an impossible thing to actually plug into a navigation unit. Which raises the question, where the f**k did they go? We found this funny, and I wrote the sketch based around this joke. But after realizing how incredibly difficult it is to get a sketch show seen by a wide audience, we kind of scrapped the whole sketch show idea, and released Transolar Galactica on it's own. Then boom, we got an incredibly positive response, and a lot of people sharing it and loving it, so we said, why the hell not, let's make another one. (Despite all the characters dying in episode 1). So, Transolar was born."
The rest of season one came easily after that, fueled by fan interest that in turn made the cast and crew excited to expand on the characters. Season one is a fast-paced, explosive death-fest, and Harum and co. have the groundwork laid out to make season two a cohesive story line. When asked if he thought that a full story arc cramped their creative style, Harum replied, "Nope! Not at all, if anything, I think it's completely opened up new doors. I could no longer rely on the simple "who's going to die in this episode hilariously and violently?" Instead it became a study of how the characters interacted with each other and all the humor that can come out of that."
His excitement came through loud and clear in the interview, and I found myself even more hopeful that they would achieve their Kickstarter goal. The cast and crew created scenarios that were fantastically engaging in one-off episodes, so to imagine that enthusiasm and talent brought to a full story is extremely exciting and promising!
Their Kickstarter money will be going entirely toward equipment and sets; season one is all green screen excluding episodes four and seven. If you've seen any episodes then you're familiar with the style and editing, and you can see that an incredible amount of work has gone into the post-production aspect. All equipment and props were borrowed or scrounged together and while they were able to make it work, Harum says it "does take a toll on (the DP/editor), and the rest of us."
The characters that have been brought to life in Transolar Galactica are loving derivations of well-known sci-fi personas. I'm impressed by their accuracy and asked Harum to elaborate on each one:
"I think we all brought a little something to the table as it went along, but after reaching the end of season 1 I can give you my take on each of them: Trigger and Yasaki are basically Zap Brannigan and Kif from Futurama, if Kif were an arrogant asshole that was actually good at what he did. However, Trigger is more if Brannigan and Captain Kirk had a child together-- his ego only feeding his arrogance and power. PO McCall is basically Kaylee from Firefly, only the male version. Reggie is basically Worf from TNG, but if Worf were beaten up by everyone his entire life and owned nothing but Jason Statham films. Samson is basically River from firefly, but if you wiped her memory and gave her the most boring job on the ship."
I commended him on his representation of these characters and asked if he had plans to mold them further, and his answer was an enthusiastic yes. That's just one of the many great things to look forward to if (when?) season two comes to pass! The script has allowed for further exploration of the characters, setting them loose in new scenarios and providing real consequences to show what they're made of. "...they are left to wander out in the massive world and find their place", says Harum.
One thing that stood out to me in season one was the lack of female characters. The viewer sees women only a few times, and I wondered if it was a lack of actresses or a lack of interest in writing a female role. It turns out that it was intentional:
"Transolar's lack of a female presence in Season 1 comes more from what we wanted to do with the show, leaving a whole bunch of already stressed out males, crammed in a metal tube in space, lacking pretty much any female presence."
His answer was one that I didn't expect, to be sure. Harum went on to talk about his preference for writing female characters, and the fact that season two will feature strong female characters, including one named Captain Ashley Quinn that will have "one of the most important roles" for season two. His influences for creating a strong, believable, and decorated Captain come from the game series Mass Effect and his experiences with the female Shepard.
Everything that he said excited me more and more about the second season. I especially want to see this strong female lead and more of his truly laugh-out-loud writing. In closing, Harum had this to say:
"I want (the fans) to know that I appreciate everything they have done for us already, like always keeping me inspired to keep making this show. I want them to know that all their favorite characters (and even some of their least favorite) will be back for Season 2, and that it is going to blow them away. Pieces we are willing to reveal: The climax of the UGCA and Locus Assembly's Civil war is the least of the Transolar's problems, as an ancient force threatens to put the entire universe in danger... Look for hints hidden throughout our teasers and videos since the end of season 1 and you may find more than you thought was there... I think that's it? I mainly just want to thank everybody for supporting my sci fi nerdiness and for enjoying the show."
*quote taken from the Kickstarter page