The summer of Sci Fi Channel programming excellence continues with “Flash Gordon.” The series is a retelling of the tales of the classic intergalactic hero from the thirties, and stars Smallville’s Eric Johnson as Flash. The network has ordered 22 episodes and is set for a prime-time launch in August.
While the new Flash Gordon series is based on the 1934 Alex Raymond comic-strip about three friends who battle Ming the Merciless from Planet Mongo, key plot features have been modernized to offer an up-to-date retelling of the story, which includes time-travel and a modern-day setting with issues affecting Earth.
Gina Holden plays the role of a hard working career woman and Flash’s love interest, Dale. During her live Q&A for the Sci Fi Digital Press tour, she was asked if she had any comments to her popularity in Japan, and answered in fluent Japanese to a stunned panel of her acting peers that included Eric Johnson as Flash, Karen Cliche as alien Baylin, and a drole Jody Racicot who plays Dr. Hans Zarkov.
Peter Hume is one of the key writers and also serves as a producer for the series. Also producing are Tom Rowe, Matthew O’Connor along with RHI’s Robert Halmi, Sr. and Robert Halmi, Jr. (Sci Fi’s upcoming “Tin Man”, “Earthsea”) as executive producers.
Sci Fi Channel’s Mark Stern, Executive Vice President of Original Programming moderated the panel of actors for “Flash.”
Stern noted the work of the crew, who labored under a tighter budget than most Sci Fi series are afforded. Despite that fact, the 12 standing sets we toured in bucolic Langley, British Columbia were top notch, and showed the dedication and cleverness of the art department that included art director Peter Andringa, production designer Clyde Klotz and Nick Dibley as prop master. All were supported by skilled carpenters, painters, electricians, grips and set dressers.
Costume Designer Heidi Samuda worked hard on a limited budget to make the most compelling and texturally rich costumes for the cast.
“It was a challenge, we used artisans and items from local crafts people, as well as scrounging in various places to find the most interesting array of materials and textiles,” Samuda said.
Use of color was noted, as the royal court of Ming wears red, and no one else is allowed. The use of muted earth tones and olives were saved for alien Baylin, the muted palette also dominates the court concubines. Samuda and her crew had fun mixing retro fashion touches of hats and gloves to infuse glam and glitz from the thirties and forties into the final designs of the cast apparel.
Stern said “We’re really excited about this re-inventing of Flash Gordon. The series will be totally relevant to today’s society and the issues we all face without camp, or losing the fantasy appeal of the original story.”