Syfy’s Riese debuts October 26 on

This one seems to have sneaked up on me… Riese will be an online series presented at  It has some fun names in it… Christine Chatelain plays the lead character – Riese. Chatelain played the Invisible Man’s descendant Clara Griffin on Sanctuary a couple of years ago as well as appearing on Supernatural and Fringe.  Amanda Tapping (SanctuaryStargate SG-1) narrates the series, which also stars Sharon Taylor (Eureka, Stargate: Atlantis), Ben Cotton (Harper’s Island), Allison Mack (Smallville), Ryan Robbins (Caprica), Patrick Gilmore (Stargate Universe), Alessandro Juliani (Battlestar Galactica), and Emilie Ullerup (Sanctuary). It’s a heck of a cross-section of current and past fan favorite actors and actresses from science fiction and superhero television.

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According to IMDB’s summary – “Riese, a seemingly random wanderer, is being hunted by a terrifying religious cult, The Sect. Traveling from nation to nation for years, she is accompanied only by a wolf, Fenrir. Together they must evade the assassins sent by the Sect – who’ll stop at nothing to complete the task they failed to achieve many years ago…” The series will air on Tuesdays and Thursdays starting October 26, 2010 to air seven to eight minute episodes online at

The fact that it’s Steampunk is very interesting – it will be the first series I know about being based in such a world. As they say in the press release – “Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction and fantasy that features anachronistic technology and design elements, often from Victorian-era Britain.” It showed up in a recent episode of Castle where they were tracking a murderer down who liked to live-action roleplay in a Steampunk club in New York City.

Here’s the full press release and a short teaser from Syfy


Stars Christine Chatelain (Sanctuary), Ryan Robbins (Caprica), Sharon Taylor (Stargate Universe), Ben Cotton (Harper’s Island), Alessandro Juliani (Battlestar Galactica) and Allison Mack (Smallville)

NEW YORK – October 13, 2010 – Marking a major expansion of its original content, will premiere the award-winning, steampunk digital series Riese: Kingdom Falling beginning October 26, on every Tuesday and Thursday, it was announced today by Craig Engler, Senior Vice President/General Manager, Syfy Digital.

The critically acclaimed Riese: Kingdom Falling is distributed by Fireworks International, the television and digital distribution arm of ContentFilm plc. Each episode runs approximately seven to eight minutes.

Narrated by Amanda Tapping (Sanctuary), the 10-part series stars a cavalcade of talent from the world of popular speculative drama including Christine Chatelain (The Bone Collector); Sharon Taylor (Stargate Universe); Ben Cotton (Harper’s Island), Allison Mack (Smallville); Ryan Robbins (Caprica); Patrick Gilmore (Stargate Universe); Alessandro Juliani (Battlestar Galactica) and Emilie Ullerup (Sanctuary).

The series will also be available via Sony’s PS3, Microsoft’s Xbox and Amazon.

Said Engler: “We saw Riese and thought they had done just an amazing job, and then we were able to give them some resources and bring Amanda on board to really help them take the series to the next level. I think new and existing fans will love the relaunch of the series on and enjoy all the new additions.”

Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction and fantasy that features anachronistic technology and design elements, often from Victorian-era Britain.

Riese: Kingdom Falling won the Streamy Award for Best Cinematography in a Web Series with a further three nominations for Best Sound Design, Best Foreign Series and Art Direction. The series was shot in Vancouver, BC, created by Ryan Copple and Kaleena Kiff, and produced by Galen Fletcher and Nicholas Humphries.


Eleysia is a dying kingdom where resources are dwindling and compassion is fading. Distrust and anxiety have clouded people’s minds, causing a regression into primitive ways of thinking. People have grown restless, almost feral. Rituals and mythology have resurged, and the darker side of mankind has begun to reveal itself.

Riese (Christine Chatelain), a wanderer, travels across the decaying lands of Eleysia with her wolf, Fenrir. Marked as a heretic by religious group The Sect and the new Empress, Amara, Riese must evade their assassins and discover their true intentions for Eleysia.

Riese is the Crown Princess of Eleysia, forced to flee into the wilds after her family was slaughtered. She will soon serve as a catalyst for a disparate group of supposed heretics, the Resistance, launching them into civil war.

About Fireworks International

Fireworks International is Content Film’s international television and digital distribution division with over 3,000 hours of high-quality and commercially appealing programming including an extensive slate of major drama series, non-fiction entertainment, kids live action comedy and drama series, TV movies, mini-series and special event programming. Recent additions include comedic drama series, REPUBLIC OF DOYLE, primetime drama series, THE BORDER and heart-warming family drama series, HEARTLAND; non-fiction primetime documentary specials HUNTING THE LOST SYMBOL and I KNOW WHAT I SAW; U.S. tween comedy THE ASSISTANTS; high definition multi-platform thriller series VALEMONT, GIRL NUMBER 9 and Sci-Fi thriller, RIESE; new children’s programmes HALF MOON INVESTIGATIONS, FAMILY BIZ as well as the classic anime series, ROBOTECH; plus over 200 U.S. network mini-series and TV movies; and specials including the Annual U.S. PRIMETIME EMMY AWARDS show. This new product is combined with the large and valuable Fireworks library catalogue, which is complemented by a raft of formidable television shows including Gene Roddenberry’s ANDROMEDA, MUTANT X and RELIC HUNTER.

Syfy is a media destination for imagination-based entertainment. With year round acclaimed original series, events, blockbuster movies, classic science fiction and fantasy programming, a dynamic Web site (, and a portfolio of adjacent business (Syfy Ventures), Syfy is a passport to limitless possibilities. Originally launched in 1992 as SCI FI Channel, and currently in more than 96 million homes, Syfy is a network of NBC Universal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies. (Syfy. Imagine greater.)

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Web Series Review: Goon

Hi there…

There are some truly inspired web-based programs out there these days. I enjoyed Spellfury, though I seem to be in the minority… I enjoyed’s Ctrl starring Arrested Development‘s Tony Hale… And now I’ve found Goon.

What is Goon? That’s a good question. And I wish I knew. But that’s part of what keeps me watching… It seems to be one part Lost and one part Twin Peaks, but there are definitely some odd things going on with the story and characters.

Brian (Ryan Schwartzman) seems to be a gun for hire, but may be more than that. Laura (Jennica Schwartzman) is a grad student off for the summer who encounters Brian living at her grandmother’s home and chooses to keep him around for entertainment. Then there are the weird characters played by Josh Gregory, Ben Bandelau, Paul Pesnell, and Vanessa Rose Parker… In one scene, Gregory is tied to a chair with duct tape. In another, Bandelau seems more than a little upset. And in yet another scene we see that Pesnell and Parker have one heck of an odd relationship that seems to end badly for her…

How do all these threads come together? I haven’t the foggiest. But the quality of the production and the deliberate pacing of the mystery has got me hooked. And the use of various camera styles, washed out (almost black and white) backgrounds, and camera angles that bring you into the action.

Writer/director Marc Hampson summarizes it like this: “Following a smoothly executed job, small time crook Brian discovers the real heist has just begun. Eight goons. One score. No honor among thieves.” Goon is an 18-part series that shows some serious promise, not only in the production values but in the storytelling and acting. And you can tell it is a labor of love.

Shot in 8 months (July 2008 to February 2009) in 720 HD by the guys at Brotherhood Pictures (, you’d think this was produced by one of the bigger companies. But it’s a small studio doing an amazing job on almost no budget. And from the behind the scenes clips “From Shelved to Series” you can tell they had a great time putting it together.

I had an opportunity to ask producer Aaron Fairley a couple of questions about Goon and how such a small group of people could produce such a great quality show on the web.

Q: First, since this was such a small production, how did all of you make look like it wasn’t? The production values are amazing!

A: At risk of sounding completely egotistical … talent and determination. I believe we have one of the most talented group of undiscovered talent out there. We don’t let things stop us, if things don’t work out how we planned then we adjust and adapt, sometimes we fall flat on our face, but we keep pushing and get what we want or something even better. I believe Goon looks better than it’s dollar sign for that very reason.

Q: Second, what were the biggest challenges you faced during shooting? And now that you’re presenting the series to the world on the Internet, what have been the challenges in getting the word out?

A: Between major locations that were four hours away, trying to make a schedule taking into account everyones full time job and family obligations, and constantly running out of what’s that stuff??? … Oh yeah, money! There were no challenges. Exept when we had to change some shots that took place in a corn field that we scouted but unknown to us had been harvested the week before.

A big thank you goes to Aaron for answering my questions and Jennica for coordinating that effort.

This is a truly amazing show and one of the best quality online shows I’ve encountered so far that hasn’t been produced by a big company like SyFy, NBC, Ikea, and so on. If you’re interested, be sure to check it out online at and catch up on all the action. I’m five episodes in and happily confused!

This article originally appeared at here.


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