This blog has received a phenomenal amount of attention due to the "Star Trek" Re-Boot post from last week and, as a consequence, a lot of "Dark Skies" fans have sent e-mails asking for updates on what amount to three questions:
- Will there ever be a DVD set released?
- Will the Sci-Fi Channel re-air the series again?
- Will the full story ever be told?
I'll get to those answers in a moment. First, for those of you who are scratching your heads saying, "Dark What?," a quick refresher.
"Dark Skies" was an NBC series with just possibly the most off-the-wall twist on the UFO phenomenon that you've seen. We constructed an entire premise -- and shot 20 hours of episodes -- laying out the case that John F. Kennedy was assassinated because he was going to tell the nation the truth about UFOs if he was re-elected to a second term. It got weirder from there.
In the course of that first and only season, we told the story of the years from 1961 to 1967. Characters who had a personal encounter with flying saucers included Ronald Reagan, Carl Sagan, Timothy Leary, Jim Morrison, Dan Rather, Bobby Kennedy, Jack Ruby and others, and we told stories set in Vietnam, the Civil Rights movement, the Space Program, etc. Man, was it fun.
In order to sell the series, Brent Friedman and I created an ultra-classified "Briefing Book" which laid out the entire history of UFOs going back to 65-milion BC through our present day. It was sealed with a gold foil seal and wrapped in brown paper tied in twine and stamped "Top Secret." The essence of the pitch was that Brent and I had met a man named John Loengard who wanted to get the truth out about UFOs and felt that telling the story as fiction was the only way. This led to the so-called "Loengard letter" which was the centerpiece of the notebook. Click on it to see a larger version if this isn't readable on your screen:
Is John Loengard a real person? Did he really write that letter? We always said that he was and he did.
Alright, then, let's answer those questions:
Will there ever be a DVD set released? We live in a world where everything will some day be released so the short answer is probably yes. Will it be soon is a tougher question. SONY (previously Columbia Television) owns the rights and has to make that decision. If fans want the DVDs, they will have to lobby SONY for them. If the company does make them, however, Brent and I kept all kinds of extras and goodies to put with them. For example, there were two versions of the pilot two-hour episode produced. Over the years, I've soft-lobbied several powers-that-be at SONY to let these out, but if people keep a steady stream of fan lobbying up, they may move it up the pipeline.
Will the Sci-Fi Channel re-air the series anytime soon? I have no inside knowledge of this, but I'd bet probably not. Sci-Fi did air the entire series run many, many times in the aftermath of the NBC cancellation. Maybe if they do an alien invasion week or a similar theme, "Dark Skies" might be a part of it. Again, if fans want this, they need to lobby the Sci-Fi Channel directly.
Will the story ever be finished? Tough question. As I said, Brent and I did arc out a five-year plan to tell the story that, at the time, moved from the pilot opening in 1961 at the beginning of the "New Frontier," ended the first season in 1967's "Summer of Love," and envisioned catching up to the present day near season five. We used to say that if we were cancelled we'd finish telling the story even if we had to stand on street corners and hand out photo-copies, but families and other jobs have kept us from finding a real way to go forward. I'd like to think that "Dark Skies" would make a fine comicbook series, or a perfect series of two-hour movies for the Sci-Fi Channel but, honestly, I can't say I'm optimistic about either of those options. It's a shame because we were looking forward to telling the story of the Hive's invasion of Earth during events like the moon landing, Watergate, Reagan firing the air traffic controllers, Clinton's impeachment and even the War on Terrorism, that kind of thing.
So that's what I know which, admittedly, is not much. For those of you who would like to read the original pilot script, we've put it together as a PDF for easy download:
As fans already know, this script was co-written with the amazingly talented Brent Friedman, someone who I'm friends with and collaborate with to this day. One of our main characters, the head of Majestic-12, Frank Bach, utters the line that became our mantra: "The truth is overrated." This is our JFK episode film.
And here is the script for my favorite episode, a solo sample, "Prey in Darkness."
This script deals with the New York City power black-out of 1965 and how it ties in with the death of columnist Dorothy Kilgallen and her investigation into the death of John Kennedy. Both Jack Ruby and Dan Rather have speaking parts. It's pretty crazy stuff, but I like it.
I hope you enjoy reading these as much as we enjoyed writing and producing them. As we said in our main titles (which won an Emmy) --
"They're here. They're hostile. And powerful people don't want you to know."