Ronald D. Moore is the geek icon that gave us the Battlestar Galactica reboot series in the mid-2000s. It was a hit for Syfy (then still the Sci-Fi Channel) and is considered one of the best science fiction TV series of all-time. Since Battlestar Galactica’s series finale in 2009, Moore fell on some hard times trying to create a new TV series as compelling and interesting as BSG. After a few bumps in the road, Moore is returning to Syfy with the science fiction thriller series Helix, which has the potential to have comparable staying power to Battlestar Galactica.
Production on Helix just began recently. The series follows a group of CDC scientists stationed at a secret laboratory in a remote area of the Arctic. There were sent to investigate a possible global outbreak, but they soon discover something mysterious and terrifying just beneath the icy surface. The series has been compared to John Carpenter’s The Thing, in terms of atmosphere and mystery.
Billy Campbell (The Rocketeer, The 4400) recently joined the cast in the lead role of Dr. Alan Farragut, “an emotionally troubled Centers for Disease Control pathologist whose marriage has recently fallen apart after his wife had an affair with his brother.” Syfy also released an extended plot synopsis and full cast list for Helix:
Helix is an intense thriller about a team of scientists from the Centers for Disease Control who travel to a high-tech research facility in the Arctic to investigate a possible disease outbreak, only to find themselves pulled into a terrifying life-and-death struggle that may hold the key to mankind’s salvation or total annihilation. However, the lethal threat is just the tip of the iceberg, and as the virus evolves, the chilling truth begins to unravel.
Billy Campbell (The Killing, Killing Lincoln) stars as Dr. Alan Farragut, leader of the Centers for Disease Control outbreak field team called upon to investigate and control a potential “hot zone” at a remote Arctic research facility. Hiroyuki Sanada (The Wolverine, 47 Ronin) also stars as Dr. Hiroshi Hataki, director of the outpost and its mysterious viral research program.
Helix also stars Kyra Zagorsky (Soldiers of the Apocalypse) as Dr. Julia Walker, Mark Ghanimé (Emily Owens, M.D.) as Major Sergio Balleseros, Jordan Hayes (House at the End of the Street) as Dr. Sarah Jordan, Meegwun Fairbrother as Daniel Aerov, Catherine Lemieux (White House Down) as Dr. Doreen Boyle, and Neil Napier (Riddick) as Dr. Peter Farragut.
After the success of Battlestar Galactica, Moore couldn’t find a TV series with the same kind of lasting power or narrative as BSG. The prequel series Caprica didn’t pan out as well as Syfy and Moore might have hopes. It lasted only one season in 2010. The Wild, Wild West reboot and A Knight’s Tale TV adaptation didn’t seem like a good fit for Moore either. He was reunited with BSG actors Tricia Helfer, Jamie Bamber, and James Callis on the 17th Precinct TV pilot, which NBC didn’t pick up in 2011.
Now Moore has a chance to have two successful science fiction TV series with Syfy’s Helix and the TV adaptation of Outlander for the premium cable network Starz in 2014. Based on the best-selling book series from author Diana Gabaldon, Outlander is drama/romance hybrid with elements historical fiction and time travel. The series follows the war between two Scottish Clans and the love affair between a Scottish warrior named Jamie Fraser and a World War II-era combat nurse named Claire Randall, who is mysteriously sent back in time to the year 1743.
It’s going to be interesting to see how Helix unfolds. The premise is more than solid and the clips and teasers Syfy has released are appropriately creepy. Moore needs a hit on his hands, and Helix could be the thing to send him back into the pop culture limelight.
Syfy has not set an official airdate for Helix yet, but it is slated to air its 13-episode first season in early 2014.
— Syfy PR (@SyfyPR) July 31, 2013