I have been a dedicated fan of the late 1990s 1-season TV drama ‘Dark Skies’ for about 17 years, now. Throughout the years I’ve been digging on the Internet for pieces of information about the show, the characters (many of them were based on real politicians and culture personalities of the 1960s), the writers and the actors. Sometime in the early 2000s, while studying TV/video production, I happened to find a mysterious document called “The Dark Skies Bible” on a website which, I believe, does not exist anymore.
In the DS Bible, there was something that blew my mind, and got my imagination running around for years to come. That something were short descriptions for seasons two, three, four, and five for ‘Dark Skies’, and it also came clear to me that the two masterminds behind the series (Brent V. Friedman, Bryce Zabel) had planned the four following seasons to cover the whole (alternate) history from the 1970s to the year 2001.
But it never happened, as NBC cancelled the show after its first season (1996-1997).
I couldn’t possibly see any hope for ‘Dark Skies’ to get re-runs, a DVD release, or a much-needed continuation until we entered the 2010s. The last four years or so have seen much action concerning DS: DVD releases both in the USA and (to my surprise) in UK/Europe, Mr. Zabel’s videos on his YouTube profile, an actual ‘reboot promo’ video comprised of short segments from the original season and from other alien-themed shows/films, Mr. Zabel getting his alternate history book about JFK surviving the November assassination (attempt) ‘Surrounded by Enemies’ published, etc…
But one of the truly great and inspiring things during these few years has been the fact, that through social media, I - and thousands of others - have had the chance to communicate directly with the man behind this amazing saga of conspiracies, ufo phenomena, and government secrecy.
And what a genuinely creative, passionate and friendly professional Bryce Zabel has turned out to be! In addition to all the nice bits of information he has given for the fans through his status updates and YouTube videos, he has repeatedly proven to be interested in socializing with his audience - taking time from writing and, for example, promoting his book - by writing replies directed to specific questions and comments by random fans via Twitter and Facebook, etc.
It took some time for this kind of communication to become a reality over the Internet. And to me, it seems, majority of the actors, directors, writers, and musicians personally registered to social media sites are truly enjoying this possibility - probably sometimes even more than their fans!
As much as I am enjoying this change in the ways of communication with these great creators, part of me can’t help thinking of all the long-lost one-season-wonders from my childhood. Could the best scifi-western of all time, ‘The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.’ (1993), have been saved for a second season if its star Bruce Campbell's almost 300 000 current Twitter followers had had their chance to say 'we want more'? What about (Spielberg’s) Amblin Entertainment production ‘Earth 2’ (1995), the adventurous space/planet exploration drama starring Tim Curry and Clancy Brown? Well, actually, the show’s fans - and this was quite ground-breaking back then! - managed to raise money for a magazine ad-campaign that was directed to the TV industry and audiences in hope for a second season to come true. The executives definitely saw and heard the fans, that’s for sure, but genuine and open communication channels simply did not exist at the time.
Well, the wrongs of the past can’t be made right, but now we have a possibility for ‘Dark Skies’ to return in a form or another. Be it a totally rebooted weekly TV drama, a mini series, or even a book series, I have a very good feeling about this!
As long as we have a way to interact with each other (globally), we have hope of hearing breaking news about the things for which we are so geeked out, hope of giving direct criticism/kudos to those who are responsible for creating them, and hope of interacting with other people feeling the same way.
Pictured is a screenshot of Mr. Zabel’s reply to my comment on Facebook, with more comments from other users (pics & names removed).