We at She-Fi had the great fortune of interviewing award-winning writers, Davin Lengyel (Space Janitors,) and Mika Collins (Travelers, The Pamplemousse). They have co-created a fascinating new sci-fi web series called Deep Six, which uses real science to inform the story’s plot and create conflict for the characters. Deep Six is a story about 250 astronauts and their military security team who are on a moon base in a real star system called Tau Ceti. They are pioneers in humanity’s first attempt to explore planets outside of our own star system, but an accident occurs, disconnecting them from all communications with Earth. Isolated and vulnerable, something (or someone) is out there with them, attacking them.
What makes Deep Six different than most other sci-fi shows out there is a devotion to only telling stories using real physics, real science. One of the creators, Lengyel, has a degree in engineering physics, so making a push for scientific accuracy was a vital element to the series. They even have several science consultants on their team, including Jamie Matthews and Rob Godwin. Matthews is a professor of astrophysics at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. He’s also the mission scientist for Canada’s 1st base telescope, which has observed the planetary system in which Deep Six takes place, Tau Ceti. He makes sure that the story ideas the writers come up with stay true to real science. Collins and Lengyel informed us that finding story ideas that were scientifically accurate was a difficult feat, 9 out of 10 ideas in the writer’s room had to be scrapped.
Another thing I really liked about Deep Six is the rich and dynamic characters, and their relationships with one another. Lengyel informed us that Collins excels at creating compelling characters, which was one of the reasons he wanted to work with her. The two of them talked about the characters’ traits and unique relationships with such great passion and excitement. The characters they described were eclectic and unique, and brought a certain amount of humor and levity to a framework of dramatic sci-fi.
Instead of having one lead character, Collins and Lengyel wanted to create a feeling of realism, in which there were real consequences and dangers. After all, the astronauts are out in an unknown star system, and anything could happen. So by not having one main character, they are free to promote, introduce, or kill off anyone at any time, allowing the story to be more true to life.
Another aspect of the production that was dear to their hearts was the role of women in space. The three main characters in Deep Six are female. Not only is Collins a writer for the series, but she also plays one of the main characters. She plays Nemain Briggs, an expressive, rebellious, free-spirited woman who embarks on a secret mission. Another lead character, Athea Hixon, is a strong, military badass who is prone to anger issues. She’s not one of those Starbuck types that fly off the handle in the face of authority. In fact, Athea takes military hierarchy very seriously, and is highly respectful of higher-ranking officers. The third main character is Siege Dietrick who is unlike the left-brained scientists and commanding military types she’s surrounded by. She is emotional and perceptive, and starts to intuit that there’s something else out there before anyone else does. Unfortunately, no one listens to her. She is the daughter of a renowned scientist who is also on the mission.
There are some well-known actors among the cast for Deep Six. Tahmoh Penikett, known for his role as Karl “Helo” Agathon in the Battlestar Galactica reboot, has a featured role. He plays a self-assured fighter pilot named Duke Cagle. Duke is 2nd in command amongst the military personnel. He’s a natural born leader, and the people he commands have great respect for him. Kristian Bruun, known for his role as Donnie Hendrix in Orphan Black, plays Carl Mandala, the Operations Manager of the base. He also runs a covert black market and trades weed and chocolate with Collins’ character, Namain. (Collins went to theatre school with Bruun so they’ve acted with one another before. She told us that the illegal trades of weed and chocolate between their characters would add humor, and be lots of fun). Scott Yamamura and Any Hull, who played characters in Lengyel’s other series, Space Janitors, (which he co-produced with Geoff Lapaire), also have lead roles in Deep Six.
Lengyel will make a small cameo in one of the episodes as a character called Fast Joe. When a female pilot is under obvious duress, Fast Joe runs right by her without a thought to helping her out. In Space Janitors, Lengyel made a cameo as a character named Slow Joe, who moved very slowly, blocking the path of characters that were in a hurry.
Deep Six is now in post-production, and does not yet have a release date. Once finished, it will be available to view online for free. A streaming site to view the series has not yet been decided upon, however once the series gets closer to its release date, I’ll write a follow up article with pertinent information so people can view it online.
It’s definitely a passion project for the show’s creators. In the interview, it was obvious that they are very excited and passionate about the series, and had put a lot of thought, and hard work into its creation. According to Collins and Lengyel, the actors put a lot of effort into becoming these engaging characters, delivering emotionally moving performances.