The future tense
It's a grave new world in YTV's locally shot sci-fi series 2030CE
By PAT ST. GERMAIN
Teen hero Hart Greyson (Corey Sevier) is every kid's fantasy. His generation rules the planet, there are no parents to spoil the fun and at the ripe age of 15, he's set to embark on a brilliant career in medicine.
Alas, there's a dark side to this brave new sci-fi world, as viewers learn in the debut episode of locally made series 2030CE (Common Era) on YTV tonight at 9:30 p.m., when Hart is plunged into a mystery involving the global corporation that dominates post-apocalyptic society.
"He's trained to become a doctor and there's a conspiracy that goes on and he gets put down to a lower rank of an eco-technical worker -- which means he's doing all the dirty jobs like being a fireman, cleaning out toxic dumps and stuff like that," Sevier, 18, said during a break in shooting at an abandoned Winnipeg cement plant last summer.
"It's kind of a mystery why they've done this to him, they've kind of messed up his life ... so it's kind of a struggle to find his way back to the top and figure out what's going on."
The Toronto-based Sevier, star of TV's Lassie and Little Men, also worked in Manitoba-made feature A Wilderness Station with Roswell's Brendan Fehr last year. He's been acting for more than 10 years, but 2030CE is his first foray into sci-fi.
"It's fantasy, but it does have a definite realism to it," he says.
Under surveillance by corporate government Nexes, Hart, his little sister Rome (Tatiana Maslany) and best pal Robby (Neil Denis) set out to expose the conspiracy while maintaining an illusion of obedient conformity.
In the first 13 episodes -- YTV has already ordered a second season -- viewers learn that a disease called progressive aging syndrome kills off most adults by age 30, and that people who defy Nexes may be subjected to genetic remodification.
"Everything at first is supposed to seem very happy, very wonderland," Sevier says. "Hart starts to see the other side of Nexes."
Co-creator Dennis Foon says a series mythology takes shape as the story progresses -- he hints that progressive aging syndrome is not what it seems -- and there's a heavy emotional platform on which the kids, most of whom are orphans, operate.
There's also a whiff of romance for Hart, with fellow eco-tech Jakki Kaan, played by Vancouver actress Jessica Lucas.
Lucas, 15, says Jakki and Hart don't get along at first, but sparks eventually fly.
"There's chemistry between us definitely."
Co-produced by Winnipeg's Buffalo Gal Pictures, Regina's Minds Eye Pictures and other partners, the series rounds out Buffalo Gal's resume, which already includes documentaries (The Genius of Lenny Breau), documentary series (Whole Notes), feature films (The Law of Enclosures) and movies of the week (Children of My Heart, Society's Child).
"What's interesting on this one is we're creating a future world so creatively it's quite stimulating," Buffalo Gal president Phyllis Laing says.
Several local talents put their stamp on the show. The crew includes Norma Bailey (The Sheldon Kennedy Story), who directed two episodes, production designer Rejean Labrie (Inside the Osmonds) and young actors such as Jennifer Villaverde (Manitoba Theatre for Young People's Mirror Game).
Thursday, January 31, 2002
Teens rule future earth
By KEVIN WILLIAMSON
It's Blade Runner meets boy bands.
2030CE, a new youth-oriented sci-fi series that debuts Wednesday on YTV, unfolds in a future 30 years from now where teenagers rule the world.
If that conjures up images of bubblegum pop music, flying cars up to Inspiration Point and aliens taking English as a second language in high school, think again.
Thanks to an "apocalyptic" environmental collapse, teens are charged with rebuilding society in a world best described -- as most science fiction is -- as "Orwellian."
And thanks to a new-fangled incurable disease, no one lives past the age of 30.
"It's definitely got a 1984-type feel," says Corey Sevier, the series' 17-year-old star.
Sevier plays Hart, a 15-year-old graduate of medical school who wants to find a cure for the Progressive Aging Syndrome that's knocking off the world's adults.
Instead, Nexes, the all-powerful Big Brother of this world, assigns Hart to serve in the lesser eco-technical class which is in charge of the toxic clean-up after the environmental and economic collapse. Eventually Hart stumbles across a band of underground rebels determined to expose Nexes' corruption.
"I'm very excited, just totally thrilled," says Sevier. "It's a very physical character so there's a lot of demanding stunts. It's action-packed but also has good family values."
That included, for Sevier, climbing the TD Tower, Winnipeg's tallest skyscraper, an effect achieved with digital wizardy. "There's a fair bit of CGI effects. I've seen the final cut of the pilot and was really impressed."
Acting opposite effects, he says, "is definitely a challenge ... But I compare working with a green screen to working with animals because you don't get any feedback from animals either."
The creators of 2030CE -- including Mind's Eye Pictures of Regina and Edmonton and Winnipeg's Buffalo Gal Pictures -- have committed to proceeding with 13 episodes without any international partners or foreign sales yet. The filmed-in-Winnipeg show has already been renewed for 13 more episodes by YTV.
Sevier, for one, believes young viewers will latch onto the show -- and its teens-rule-the-world premise. "It's edgier than your average kids show. There's a lot of depth." - Take from here.