Guardians: Outlook (Virtual Series)
|Created By:||JJ Estes|
|Running Time:||45-55 Pages|
|Number of Episodes:||10|
|Series Debut:||September 1, 2005|
|Series Finale||July 27, 2006|
Guardians: Outlook is a science fiction virtual series created by JJ Estes. It was developed by Sayber Space Productions and released at a number of virtual networks, including Monster Zero Productions. The series followed the crew of Earth's first starship capable of interstellar travel, the Outlook, as it explored the galaxy.
The series was a re-imagining of Estes' original virtual series, Guardians. The series was preceded by two feature length scripts which established the revised universe and several prominent characters. The series ran for ten episodes before being put on an extended hiatus. While on hiatus, the show was canceled.
The first Guardians story, as recognized by creator JJ Estes, was written as a short story in mid 2001. Due to its brevity and simplicity, the story bears little resemblance to the modern incarnation of Guardians. The story follows the pilot of an experimental spacecraft that uses wormholes to travel great distances. The experiment is successful, but the mission fails when the ship crash lands. The crew, excepting the pilot is lost in the crash. The pilot is later captured by a native of the planet and his fate is left unresolved.
In 2003, Estes was looking to produce a serialized prose story to publish on the Internet and settled on Guardians. A staff of writers was formed out of volunteers from Estes' email newsletter, Sayber Space, including Lee A. Chrimes. The first story was produced and released to Sayber Space readers. The story received minimal interest and though work was started on a second story, it was never completed.
Under advisement from Chrimes, Estes decided to use his plans for the prose series to create a virtual series. The first set of stories planned for the prose series was revised into a twenty-two episode season and the decision was made to write the series in script format. The majority of the staff from the prose series carried over, however by the time the series was into active production of episodes, only Estes and Chrimes were working on the series. They wrote the majority of the series, excepting one episode written by T. Henrik Anttonen.
The first series produced eleven episodes before going into a mid-season hiatus. During the hiatus, concerned about the quality of the series resulting from the small staff size, Estes decided to restart the series rather than finish its current incarnation.
As part of revising the original series, the first episode was expanded into a feature length script, Guardians which aired separately from the revised series. Considered the pilot of the new Guardians universe, the feature was written as a stand alone project which was left open to allow for the series to pick up where it left off. Estes wrote the feature alone and released it several months before the new series was set to premier.
In between the release of the feature and the premier of the series, a second feature was produced to bridge the gap between the two. The second feature, Guardians: Passage, introduced several characters from the original series that had not been reintroduced in the first feature and established several key concepts related to the upcoming series. Passage was planned by all members of the staff at the time and co-written by a majority.
The revised series was given the subtitle of Outlook to separate it from its predecessor, and to establish that the series was focused on the ship of the same name. Many stories from the original series were rewritten for the new continuity, though several episodes were completely new. Along with several new plots, the series introduced three completely new characters. The series ran for ten episodes before it was put on indefinite hiatus. It was later canceled entirely.
JJ Estes has expressed interest in continuing Guardians in some way at a later time. Recently, Estes has proposed a miniseries, currently called Guardians 1.5, which would tie up loose ends left with the cancellation of the series.
The original Guardians series was not cast. When the series was being revised into Guardians: Outlook, the decision was made to cast the main characters to bring the series more in line with other virtual series.
- Nicholas Brendon as James Gravis
- Laura Prepon as Anna Davies
- Peter Stormare as Ivan Burakowski
- Takako Matsu as Aya Himoto
- Dominic Monaghan as Engel Diederick
- Parminder Nagra as Lakshanya Nair
- Edward James Olmos as Ruben Leskevicius
- Brian Cox as Harrison
- Denis Leary as Stansen
Because the Outlook Project is overseen by the United Nations, the crew of the Outlook was meant to be international. Every member of the main crew of the ship is from a different country. This aspect of the Guardians universe was never fully taken advantage of in the limited runs of either series.
In the pilot feature, a race of aliens called the Guardians contacts Earth and invites humanity to participate in a galactic summit. At this summit, it is revealed that the Guardians, so called because their race serves as the enforcers of the laws established by the Galactic Council, are being wiped out by a plague. Due to a technicality, Humans have been nominated their successors. The Guardians predict that, in a century, their numbers will be too depleted to carry on their duties as Guardians, and at that time, Humans will become the next Guardians. This puts Humans in a dangerous position, as being the guardian species is a highly coveted position, and a highly aggressive species, the Kaylitians, want it.
Until the mantle of Guardians is passed on, humanity is under the protection of the Guardians, however, once the hundred years are over, humans will be on there own. The Guardians give humans a few advanced technologies under the table, including wormhole technology, to speed up development. The United Nations forms a new military branch, the UNEF to explore space with the motive of establishing humans in the galaxy and progressing to a point where humanity will be able to defend itself from aggressors once the Guardians are too weak to protect us.
The series revolved around the crew of the Outlook, the first interstellar ship produced by Earth, as they explored distant planets and dealt with problems on Earth, such as the Alien Truth Movement, a terrorist organization adamant that alien contact was a hoax and dead set on destroying the UNEF.
A common problem with Guardians in all its incarnations was how fast new staff members disappeared. For simplicity, only individuals with a credit on a Guardians script are included in this list. Also, staff titles changed regularly for even regular staff members. Staff rank during the production of Guardians: Outlook is used here.
JJ Estes - Creator/ Showrunner
George Willson - Senior Staff Writer
Lee A. Chrimes - Staff Writer
Jordan Hyman - Staff Writer
T. Henrik Anttonen - Staff Writer