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Flash Gordon (Sci Fi Channel)

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In the series, Flash Gordon is a marathon winner whose scientist father disappeared through a Rift in space 13 years ago. As the series opens, something comes back to Earth through the rift, looking for Flash -- which drags him unwillingly into a science-fiction adventure on the planet Mongo, and into conflict with the planet's ruler, Ming the Merciless.

Dale Arden, a reporter for WIAD-4, also gets mixed up in Flash's adventures. Dale, Flash's ex-girlfriend, is now dating a detective, Joe Wylee. The uneasy relationship between the 2 is made even more complicated by the arrival of Baylin, a rogue bounty hunter exiled from Mongo, and the romantic attentions of Princess Aura, Ming's willful daughter.



  • The wars over the water supply are similiar to the "Mirror's Edge" backstory.

Updating the Flash Gordon story

Having Flash travel to Mongo through a wormhole, and not in a rocket ship created by Dr. Hans Zarkov is a significant change to the Flash Gordon story. Flash won't be trapped on another planet, as in previous versions of the story -- he'll be able to travel back and forth between Earth and Mongo. At a press launch, Eric Johnson (the new Flash) explained the change:

Well, I don't want to give away the hook of the show. What they've done is they've updated it. Space travel back in the 1930s and back in the 1950s was this fantastic possibility and there was a belief that anything was possible at that time. As we know now from the space program, it takes a long time to get to another planet. So they've somewhat done away with the spaceship itself and have done the rip in space-time/wormhole scenario, which not only makes it easier and more plausible and realistic, it also allows for Flash to get back home. So he's not just relegated to the planet of Mongo. But it opens the door for his enemies from Mongo -- that, I think, is the biggest change in the update, but I think it broadens the series in a way that no other Flash Gordon franchise has had the opportunity to do.

Creator and executive producer Peter Hume says that he struggled with how to modernize the Flash Gordon story:

I went back, and I read all the source material, which is pretty great, but... there were conceits there that you couldn't get away with today. So it was a bit of a challenge. You had to keep the spirit of the thing, but then update it. But I still want to do, like, Lion Men. I want to do Hawk Men. But how do you do Hawkmen and not make it... stupid and silly? You do get to do the Flash Gordon core characters, but in a way that is not going to be campy. [It's] going to be grounded, because I want all those characters to be real and have real human problems that you can relate to, and I think we've achieved that. I hope we have.

Hume also described the new series' vision of the planet Mongo:

It's more of a Mad Max world that's broken down into tribes. It's sort of oppressed. It's an ecologically damaged planet, and Ming controls the only source of good water and sort of sells it. And his city is almost like a modern-day Dubai. And outside of the city, there's a lot of small tribes. And a lot of those tribes are inspired by the original Alex Raymond tribes. So you'll get to meet those characters.

Midseason Changes

In a recent interview with Peter Hume, it has been said that there will be some changes to the series during the second half of the first season:

So the two big complaints were Ming isn't strong enough or mean enough and that it's not enough Mongo. We're all Mongo all the time now. And I think as you see the development of Ming and we get to know more about that planet and why that planet's the way it is and how he operates and how he's had to operate, I think this show just gets more complex and actually a little bit darker and it's still fun and rompy but there's a gravitas that comes into the second part of the season that wasn't there. Because we didn't know what that was. I mean we were all discovering the show, so I'm really, really proud of where it's going. And I think if people stick with it, they'll be really thrilled that they did because it's not like anything else. It's still a fun show to watch. But it's complex and dark and it does comment a little bit on what's going on today and deals with these big mythic themes and that's my rant.

When asked about whether the rest of the season will focus more on characters than on sets, Peter Hume said:

I think we want to do both of those things. We've gotten a little bit more money freed up to do some more facts. With our budget it's been a bit of a challenge to do that, but we've got some more and they're going to get a lot better.

But also in terms of the characters, I think they're growing and getting more complex as we as writers learn about them as they learn about what their characters are.

And as you build those relationships, there's a lot more twisty turny stuff. There's a lot more depth that you'll see coming out. And there's a lot more agendas and secrets and I think you'll see a lot of growth and depth emerging as the series goes on.

As far as the romantic tensions that are going on between Flash and Dale and then also Ming's daughter, Peter Hume said:

I just think Aura's just great. And there's a weird dynamic with her and Flash. Then there's stuff with Barin. There's a lot of complex triangles going on and Aura will really come into her own and sort of go from being a spoiled little girl and at the end of the season will really have to grow up and make some really hard decisions. And there'll be some big huge twist with her at the end.

When asked if the series was going to go back to the Lion Men and Prince Thun and whether Barin (played by Steve Bacic) will be back, Peter Hume said:

We want to do the Lion Men and we are thinking we were going to do it in 19 and then we changed it and now it's going to be Frigians because we can do snow.

We really want to but we probably won't. We know what we're doing for the rest of the season so we probably won't go back this season. But they'll come out next season.

And then we do have Vultan back and Vultan does a just a fantastic show. He just steals the show. He comes back in a really terrific episode in 13.

Yeah, Steve Bacic comes back. He does a couple more episodes. He's fantastic. He got another job on a Canadian show called Air Sea. So we love him so much we want to have him there all the time. We lost him for a few and we'll see what happens with that show. It ends in February. And if he's available, we'll have him back as much as we can. He just lights up the screen. He's fantastic. And I think he nails that character too. I think he does such a great job.

In "Episode 114: Stand and Deliver", he is amazing. It's just a great performance and there's some stuff going on with him and Baylin and it's a great episode. That's the one that Lynn Hall said this is your best episode yet, and I think it might be. And he's a big part of that.

And when asked if there will be a resolution to the plot with Flash's father this season, Peter Hume said: "Yes. It will resolve itself."


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