Show Idea – The Starlost

Yes, this will be a remake of the CTV series from the Seventies. But unlike our other show ideas, this one is not in the public domain or under the protection of a Creative Commons license! So don’t start thinking you can run off and produce an episode of the series just like that. This show will require a negotiation phase with the series creator, Harlan Ellison, and whichever company hold the rights to the existing series.

When faced with the upcoming cataclysmic end of their world, the inhabitants of planet Earth build a giant space Ark, capable of preserving a sample of Earth’s population during their long journey towards a new home in another solar system. The Ark is subdivided into many pressure domes, each inhabited by a subset of Earth’s former population split along racial, geographical, political and religious lines.

Ark vessel art by Scamp
Ark vessel art by Scamp

A hundred years into the trip, the Ark itself suffers from a major “incident”. The great ship is crippled, its technical crew either dead or incapacitated, and the domes are sealed tight, effectively isolating the communities from one another.

Four hundred years and many generations later, the inhabitants of the Ark have forgotten about the world they live in, and are unaware of the final death blow that awaits them.

The Ark’s only hope of survival is a trio of young people from the community of Cypress Corners, a strict and highly religious farming community that has shun most forms of modern technology for generations. Can this unlikely group learn the truth about the world they live in and possibly save it before it’s too late?

The goal of this show is to allow Canadian expatriates from around the world to participate in the filming of a regular Canadian television series. Despite the CTV’s catastrophic rendition of the series back in the seventies, the basic premise of the storyline is still very solid even to this day. And the setting of the series, a ship composed of multiple domes each one representing a different culture from the planet Earth, makes it possible to shoot each episode in a different part of the world, faithfully recreating the world of the Ark for the television series.

We can bring back The Starlost to Canadian television and do it right. Vancouver, B.C. has already been the home of many major science fiction franchises for many years now, clearly demonstrating that Canadians can now produce high quality science fiction television shows, filled with high quality special effects, yet still fulfilling the need for an extremely strong and highly engaging storyline.

If this ambitious Canadian project sees the light of day, we’ll rescue The Starlost from its Canadian made catastrophe, correct the mistakes of the past, and possibly create some great Canadian science fiction television the world might eagerly want to watch.

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15 Responses to Show Idea – The Starlost

  1. scifi fan says:

    Has anything developed concerning the project or has the idea been dropped/

    From FC: Haven’t had time to do anything about it yet. I’ve been too busy working on launching my TV channel. But it’s still under serious consideration.

  2. George says:

    Best hurry, Harlan Ellison is something like 75 years old. From what I’ve heard he’s not much for polite negotiations either.

    I just bought The Starlost DVD set and though I remember it as being great when I was a child; upon watching it now…well…it’s truly miserable. Except the episode with all the kids on the bridge simulation. They were great. So were John Coclios and John Barry.

    I agree the premise is quite sound. It could do with a modern re-boot. If they could save Galactica…

    From FC: I’m very much aware of Ellison’s reputation. I’m still trying to figure out how to approach him about this. After all, I’m a citizen of the country that ruined the entire project in the first place.

  3. Holger says:

    Hi there! I live in Germany and did not know about this series until the DVD release. I don’t think it was ever broadcast on German television. As a SciFi fan I have always enjoyed “End of the world” stories. From what I have read about The Starlost before I bought the DVD set it tended towards that direction in a unique and interesting way. Even though the show is considered being one of the worst SciFi shows ever produced I must admit I rather liked it. But that must have something to do with the fact that I did not concentrate on the clearly miserable special effects – I have seen better effects in Sesame Street – or the often poor acting but on the story itself. It is just a fascinating concept! If someone came up with a darker “reimagining” of The Starlost á la Battlestar Galactica (which I think was extremely well done, oh, and was produced in Canada… hm…) it could become a killer show! Yes, I would like to see a reboot, a new version of this show! Something BG-like. But then… let’s face it: I am a SciFi-fan. I don’t know if a new Starlost would have a large enough audience to survive a complete first season…

    From FC: If this television project of mine works out, and if I can afford it, I’ll finance the entire first season myself. I hate seeing promising shows being canceled after only three or four episodes.

    For a summary on how this project became a Canadian made disaster, check out The Starlost on Wikipedia. But to get Harlan Ellison’s complete side of the story, try to find an out-of-print copy of the book “Phoenix Without Ashes”, which is the novelization of the pilot episode. Read the introduction which occupies almost a quarter of the book, and see how a promising television project went down the toilet with a proverbial flush.

  4. Gunnysack says:

    Hey there FC

    Just stumbled across this, and it’s the best news I’ve heard in ages. The original Starlost may have lacked somewhat in budget (therefore execution), but the premise of the series is what gives it such amazing potential… perhaps the most of any sci-fi anywhere. I think this project would be very well-received.


  5. I’ve known Harlan for 46+ years. Do you want me to talk to him? If so contact me and we’ll make arrangements.

  6. Stephen Holton says:

    I’m wondering if a Facebook page would help rally support for this? I’m willing to create it (assuming there isn’t one already)…

    Is this a serious enough attempt to proceed?

  7. Stephen Holton says:

    Looks like their is a facebook fan page – but not a true campaign page/site to show how many people want to reimage the series… it may be worth pushing.

    From FC: Let’s first find out if Harlan Ellison is even interested in going through a second attempt at bringing this series to life. The first attempt had already left a lot of people very, very angry, including industry veterans such as Douglas Trumbull, Ben Bova, and even Gene Roddenberry!

  8. Steven South says:

    I am a from the US and remember this show when I was young as well. I still feel that this would be an awesome project and could use a dose of good old fasion story telling, along with some truely good spfx. I wish you the best.

    I actually created a Google Sketchup version of the original model along with a updated version

    From FC: Nice work! It’s a beautiful reproduction!

    Unfortunately, despite being a more realistic concept better suited for long term space travel, the design I have in mind for the Ark will probably anger as many fans out there as when Starbuck was transformed into a violent, foul mouthed, cigar smoking woman! 🙂

  9. Hi,

    I watched that series here in Brazil when I was a kid, back in the 70s. One of most remarkable character was that Freud-like guy who played the computer library interface.

    If this this is going to revive I hope the story move toward the original plot instead of some sort of “aliens” & “zombie” crossover that is so common nowadays.



    From FC: I promise. No aliens this time. But I’ll still ask Walter Koenig to play the part of an elder in one of the episodes.

  10. Steven South says:

    Here is something you may not have seen yet…

    Maybe there is hope for a series?

  11. Steven South says:

    An animation I put together after FC’s comment to my Aug 24 post…

    I hope you like…


  12. Glen Strathy says:

    I would love to see this series redone well. Personally, I think it would be interesting nowadays to make Rachel the main character, rather than Devon, and make her a stronger character. A smart, skilled girl rebelling against an arranged marriage would be more compelling.

  13. Michael Perseo says:

    I was just telling my wife about this show this evening. She doesn’t remember it, but I enjoyed it while a child of the 70’s. Would love to see a remake. My wife a former manager of Special Programming at a local TV station would make a fantastic producer or other member of the design team. Her contacts are many. Her network is vast. We live in Ottawa. We would love to hear from someone or help to take the lead on the project to get it to its initial presentation stage.

  14. Michael Perseo says:

    Try this again as my email will not be published….

    mjp.0331 at hotmail dot com

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