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Thursday, 1 January 2015

Starfall TV series & interview with actor, Bill Oberst Jr.

Some crazy fool asked me the other day if I liked Star Trek. I know, I know. Now before you go asking just what kind of batshit crazy question that was, I must add that the person who asked it doesn't know me overly well. In fact they probably have little clue that I spend many of waking hours forcing my own particular brand of self-indulgent ramblings here on this blog to the world and that the words 'Star' and 'Trek' have been known to appear on occasion. Well I suppose that ignorance is bliss., some of you would undoubtedly say that the person in question is lucky to be oblivious to my musings. You may well be correct. After I had stopped smiling for a moment at his question, I tried to regain my usual professional and friendly composure. "Of course I love Star Trek" I replied. That final sentence was my one main mistake.

For I had made a mistake of gargantuan rookie proportions, I had fallen into his cunning trap - not only was he a Trekkie/Trekker, he was a hardcore Trekkie/Trekker. The thing is, I do love Star Trek - I grew up with the original series, adored the film spin-offs (I know I'm not being original, but The Wrath of Khan is sheer perfection) and also loved TNG, DS9 and Voyager. Alas Enterprise was complete pants, sorry, but it was. However, like some of the people around the  Star Trek, and indeed the Star Wars universe, some of the fans scare me - big time. There is absolutely nothing in wrong adoring whatever aspect of ones nerdy and geeky world you choose, but there is a fine line in here. In other words, we all have an opinion so stop taking your viewpoint so damn seriously - it's not a competition to be the best fan, you know!

So the look of disdain and derision on the face of my questioner was plain to see when I mentioned that I didn't actually have a preference for my particular favourite phaser, or even possess an in-depth knowledge of the operational specs of the Enterprise. 

Great Red Fist of the Ardi Jennet 
Don't get me wrong, I am in no way mocking ones obsessions, it's just that occasionally, some things seem to bring out the worst aspects of fan dome in many of us. This is particularly so when it comes to science fiction TV it seems.

So when I began to hear some months ago that a proposd new and fresh Sci-Fi series, Starfall, was in production, I was caught in something of a quandary. On the one hand, it was about time that a vibrant new show hit the scene, which is a genuinely exciting thing. On the other hand however, my hardcore obsessive friend had also heard of the series too and was already something of an expert. Oh well.

What actually sealed the deal in terms of my interest for the series was that one of the principle characters in the show features an old friend of The fifth Dimension. The good friend in question is a certain icon of contemporary horror, Bill Oberst Jr. I was lucky enough to chat with Bill earlier this year at the time of the release of Werewolf Rising on DVD, in which, well quite frankly, he stole the show in his role of a very very bad man with certain Wolf-like tendencies. If you want to read that piece, well you could do no wrong in visiting I found out that Bill would be appearing in the new Sci-fi show I thought it only right and proper that I pester and stalk him until he finally relented and talked to me again. 

But before I divulge to you another in the fab (some, well me, would say classic) series of Fifth Dimension interviews, let me pass on to you good people some information from the people behind the legend that could become Starfall.

The Ardri Jennet - sorry hardcore fans, I don't have the ship's specs....
The 150 years since the galaxy first knocked on Humanity's door was marked by a Solar System-wide civil war and nearly a century of human enslavement. Then came “emancipation,” heralding in a new era where human beings would be accepted as equal members of the galactic community.

It hasn't quite worked out that way.

Aboard the frigate Ardri Jennet, Lieutenant-Captain Will Hunter and his flawed, secretive crew—working for the same people who once promised, but failed to protect Humanity—now struggle against prejudice and bigotry in a galaxy that views humans as backward and barbaric. Certainly not equal.

And a new threat will rise, one that challenges ethics, skews allegiances, overturns priorities. Hunter and his Jennies will battle external foes and intimate betrayals in their determination to do the right thing in a galaxy gone morally grey. And suddenly lethal.

This is STARFALL."

Blimey, sounds good, eh?

The Kickstarter campaign, to gain extra funds for the post-production of the already completed pilot and the airing of the series in 2015, has recently ended. Work is now well under way to bring this new series to the public. I for one cannot wait.


For this who don't know much about Bill (shame on you) - here is a little taster 'borrowed' from his Wikepedia page. 

"Known for his work in horror and cult films, his career includes projects in film, television and one-man-show theater performances.[2] He first received recognition for his portrayals of icon and humorist Lewis Grizzard as performed in theatrical tours across the Southern United States.[3] 

His role as the creepy 'Facebook Stalker' in the online interactive video film Take This Lollipop, which uses the Facebook Connect application to bring viewers themselves into the film through use of their own pictures and messages from Facebook,[4][5][6] brought him widespread attention after the project received multiple Webby Awards nominations,[7] three awards at SXSW,[8] and a 2012 Daytime Emmy award".

For a more detailed biography of Bill's career, visit his IMDB page at

Q) First of all, Bill, many thanks for talking to The Fifth Dimension again. What have you been up to since we last spoke at the DVD release of Werewolf Rising?

A) Stuart, thank you for the chance to connect with you and Fifth Dimension readers again! Since we last spoke I've been working; did 10 feature films this year and guested on CBS's CRIMINAL MINDS. I am driven to work, a gift from my retail dad, I think. He had a store that we kids all worked in and his motto was "If you got time to lean, you got time to clean." So we learned to keep busy. To this day I have respect for work and loathing for laziness. 

Q) You're well known as a stalwart of the contemporary horror genre, so what attracted you to a Sci-Fi project?

A) I'm a huge sci-fi buff - I just never get to do it! The Trekkie in me did back flips when John Ellis and Tyler Bourns invited me on board for STARFALL. I am attracted to the thought that humanity will make it out into space one day (or, for that matter, that humanity will make it at all.)  

Bill, suitably rocking the space uniform.
Q) Tell us a little of your role in Starfall & how it fits into the overall plot.

A) I play Hanso Baash, Chief Engineer of the ship Ardri Jennet. STARFALL is set in a universe dominated by aliens who consider humans barbaric; a species fit only for slavery. Hanso is also non-human but his race is entirely dominated by the females of his species. For a male to do anything besides take care of the family nest is viewed with suspicion. Hanso's native culture is like America in the 1950's but with the gender roles reversed. So even though he is a whiz of an engineer, he has an inferiority complex and no self-confidence. 

Q) In my opinion, we've been crying out for a genuinely strong character driven science fiction show. Will this be it?

A) Stuart, if the show gets picked up and funded; if STARFALL is given a chance; I believe the answer is yes. If I didn't believe that I wouldn't be there. Like any actor, I do a lot of work just to pay the bills, but when it comes to sci-fi, I want to be a part of something superior; something that excels.

Q) Have there been any specific challenges for you so far peculiar to this role?

A) Yes. Because Hanso's culture is female-dominated and because he has chosen to leave that culture for a chance at a career, he is very much alone. That, plus his built-in low self-esteem, make playing him a balancing act. He has to be both competent and unsure; good at his job but bad at believing in himself.

Hero poses r us.
Q) I think it's fair to say that Sci-Fi fans can sometimes be a little 'passionate' when it comes to series such as this. Are you prepared for the possibility of that happening if the series really takes off?! :-)

A) Oh my Lord, yes! You are talking to a man who has stood in line at conventions waiting to meet my favorite actors; a man who knows dialogue from his favorite sci-fi movies and episodes by heart; a man who, when he met the art department head of WRATH OF KHAN, held the poor man hostage asking about sets, props and whether that was Ricardo Montalb├ín's real chest (it was.) I understand the passion. That's the fun of it! 

Q) When can we expect to see Starfall?

A) John Ellis and Tyler Bourns know the ins and outs of that. I hope in 2015. Actors don't know much of anything, you know, we just get the call when the time comes. 

I've seen this episode & he frightened the s**t out of me.....
Q) What career plans next for Bill Oberst Jr.?

A) I've got 5 feature films to shoot in 2015 so far. CBS recently named my CRIMINAL MINDS character one of the 14 Most Notorious Serial Killers in the show's 10-year history, so I am openly salivating for a chance to return to the show. My current feature film release is the the arthouse horror film COYOTEand my next feature release is the Civil War-era drama THE RETRIEVAL. Meanwhile I am touring with a one-man stage show of the Torah/Biblical book of Genesis and hoping to play Lon Chaney in a film project (I've heard from two writers working on screenplays with Chaney as a character since being presented the Lon Chaney Award in San Diego this fall.

Q) Finally, what are your plans for the New Year?

A) I'm a pretty boring and conservative guy, Stuart. I like to go to bed early on New Year's Eve and get up early for a good workout before dawn on New Year's Day. Then I am ready to roll. In a business with a 98% unemployment rate, I had better stay on my toes. 

I've said it before and I'll say it again, in my couple of years as an intrepid, and dare I say it, magnificent blogger, I've had the pleasure to meet and talk to a whole heap of great of people, the vast majority of whom have been perfectly approachable. I really don't want to sound overly sycophantic, but Bill Oberst Jr. is up there as one of the nicest and most genuine of people you could ever wish to meet. Bugger, he's talented and decent, how bloody annoying! At least I'm halfway there myself ;-)

For a little taste of what is hopefully to come from Starfall, here is a nice teaser trailer.

As soon as I get my hands on any preview material for the upcoming series then I pass on the details to you good people. My sources (in others words, reading their Facebook page) tell me that, in order to make sure the post-production is well and truly nailed, the web series is being anticipated for a mid-2015 release.

The team behind Starfall is such:

J.E. Ellis, creator, executive producer

Christiaan Champagne, co-executive producer

Les Zigomanis, creative consultant

Tyler Bourns, director, executive producer

Scott Nakada, production designer

Richard Hescox, concept artist

Petter Wahlback, composer

The Facebook page for Starfall can be found RIGHT HERE

The Twitter link for Starfall can be found by searching for @StarfallTV

The Indie Go-Go link is

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