The Space Channel is Canada’s top source for space and science fiction related news and shows.
Its newest addition, InnerSPACE, takes a fast-paced, 30-minute look at what space has to offer. The new show’s personalities Ajay Fry, Teddy Wilson and Natasha Eloi take a look at all the topics and ideas fans are most interested in and offer honest and insightful opinions. The high level of interconnectivity and interactivity via email, facebook, webcam and Twitter allows for a dynamic interplay between fans and the show.
CGMonthly got a chance to catch up with Natasha Eloi at Comic-Con this past weekend. We talked about the Space Channel, the evolution of InnerSPACE, how it got started, how she got involved and where she thinks science fiction is going in this new decade.
C&G Monthly: How did you get involved with Space Channel?
I applied. There was a position for a Space News videographer – which is both a reporter and a camera person. And since they had someone who could cover the science/technology/space aspects goings on in the world I wasn’t hired to do anything with sci-fi, fantasy or horror. I was there to be the “Science Girl”. That was back in February of 2000.
So I did that for six-and-a-half years. But as time went on it became more clear that my love was actually sci-fi. I love the genre, I love the fantasy, I love collecting toys and reading the comics. But, all work and no play makes a boring Natasha. After a while, my bosses started saying “Why don’t you start bringing in your interests?” and “We know you like comics and we know you like talking action figures, so why don’t we start talking about that and how to incorporate that into a show like Hyperspace?”
Hyperspace subsequently changed into The Circuit, and then The Circuit changed into what you know now as InnerSPACE. We’ve gone through many metamorphoses. Space News ended in August of 2006 because we realized we had our sister-station Discovery and thought that we should look more towards the sci-fi entertainment, speaking with the fans and that community.
We’re doing this because it’s who we are now, but when CTV bought CHUM – we were part of the CHUM umbrella – we realized why fight our sister and brother station? They have a lot more access to this, not to say that we shy away from it, but we realized where we can serve our purposes best is within the sci-fi/entertainment world.
CGM: What do you bring to the show InnerSPACE?
I produce the one Space show Supernatural with Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles who play Sam and Dean Chester – two brothers. I basically write the script that Teddy Wilson reads after the post-show. It is designed to take the conversation and go a little bit deeper, and go “what are we looking at? What are the topics that we want to talk about?”
I’m on every blog site; I’m reading the magazines; I’m finding out what’s going on and where are they going to take it?
Who would have known that season 6 was going to happen, because we thought Eric Kripke is done, Eric’s not going to go any further, this has to be the end. We’re dealing with the devil right now. How can we go any further than the big apocalyptic battle with the devil and the four horsemen? What? There’s a season 6? So the brothers don’t die? One rides off into the sunset?
This is a show where they killed their main leads [Sam and Dean] how many times, they bring them back. Ok, it’s not going to be the big apocalyptic, fire-and-brimstone-and-the-world-explodes [ending]. Obviously, it’s going to be on a smaller scale. But, how the brothers come out of this will be the basis of how season 6 will be.
From what we’ve been told from the 100th episode party that was in Vancouver a few weeks back, they’re going to bring it back to the beginning. They’re going to bring it back to what it was originally, but the story between the two brothers will have changed. It’s like, “You were just [Archangel] Michael’s vessel, and I was just Lucifer’s. It’s not like we’re gonna be sitting down to Sunday dinner and laughing about all this.” There’s going to be some kind of a spat. My money’s on Sam [laughs].
Beyond Supernatural, though. I also produce stories that are used in the body of the show. I go out in the community [and] find out who’s doing what, who are here, what events are happening, and spin them back into a sci-fi genre format.
CGM: Why does the name of the show keep changing (ie. Hyperspace, The Circuit, InnerSPACE)?
We wanted to find a way to best serve our Canadian sci-fi fans. [We think], ‘this show is ok, but do we still have the audience? Do we still have their voice invested into the show?’ At the end of the day, it is about the sci-fi audience. It is about the media, the movies, the DVDs, the video games [and] the comic books. But the basis is this cannot exist if there are not people there to buy this, and consume this, and want to watch it.
So, we figured let’s change it so it’s about dialogue, it’s about conversation. You have all these websites talking after a show’s done, [like] after Lost is finished. Well, let’s carry the show to where they can talk about this. It serves the purposes of our programming, but it’s also serving our audience.
The way The Circuit was was fantastic, but it was a weekly show. To do a show of that magnitude on a daily basis was not feasible at that time. So we thought how do we still keep this to a high level of performance, but not scale back too much? The quality has to be there, but the quantity has to be there as well. You want it daily, but you don’t want the quality to suffer. In this format, you can sort of appease both worlds.
CGM: Are you noticing a move towards more adult-orientated sci-fi?
It’s always been very adult-orientated. Of course, if you’re looking back at the 70s with Dr. Who and that sort of thing, yeah, it’s all puppets, and muppets and bodysuits. It is what they could get that by the censors. Now when audience members have better technology than the technology on the show, you kind of have to reflect what’s going on with technology.
You have a smarter audience. You cannot underestimate the intelligence of our audience and I think a lot of the writers take that into consideration when they are writing and know the level they are dealing with. You can’t just scrap together a script and think they’re going to accept that. The fans out there, especially the sci-fi fans, they will strip it down, totally dissect it, and then come up with answers that exposes the loopholes.
That’s what InnerSPACE is about. It’s opening up that dialogue and discussing more. We ask fans, we encourage them, to write in and tell us what’s going on, what their thoughts are. If we can get you an answer, we’ll find it.
CGM: Is there still space for family-orientated sci-fi?
Yeah, there’s still space for family-orientated sci-fi. As an example, Battlestar Galactica. I think what that did is it opened the doors like The Sopranos [did]: It opened the door to what people want to see and the types of conversations, and dramas, and acting that they want. I’m not saying you’re going to sit down with the family and watch Battlestar Galactica, that’s not who the audience is. But, I know there’s a lot of kids who watch Supernatural. Some of it’s a little scary, but then lots of kids are into vampires and werewolves, and not everything’s going to be like Twilight, all soft and romantic.
I think, at this time, anything is possible. It’s just [a matter of] finding the creators. Take for example Vampire Diaries. Teenaged girls are watching that. They love that, but it has to be at a certain level where you take into consideration that you can’t have a lot of cursing, cussing, [etc.]. That’s why the term “frack” got away with so much because there’s still profanity, but not as we know it.
They want people to absorb this. They want to get kids at a young age watching sci-fi, but certain things aren’t always for a young viewing audience.
CGM: With the advent of Battlestar Galactica, and other shows like it, there seems to be a popularity that wasn’t all there five or six years ago. Does sci-fi have a new level of respectability?
Bringing it right back to Ron and Battlestar Galactica, the moment they got that Peabody and people actually heard us saying on the panel at Comic-Con, ‘Yeah, I like Battlestar Galactica but I don’t like sci-fi’. There’s still the stereotype of people thinking sci-fi’s for geeks. It’s like in high school where nobody wants to be associated with science because then you’re the geek kid.
You kind of have to wake up and recognize [sci-fi] is now a much broader audience. People in Hollywood especially go down to the San Diego Comicon. Hollywood is in the sci-fi pool. They all know it’s bankable, they all know it’s profitable. Comic book movies are not going away. Sci-fi has gone mainstream now, it’s not going away anytime soon.