In what was the oddest panel/screening I attended at this year’s Comikaze, we were “treated” to the premiere of ‘Nobility,’ a series touted to be a hilarious meshing of ‘The Office’ and ‘Firefly,’ starring a number of notable science-fiction actors, including the great Walter Koenig (‘Star Trek’). Before the screening, we got to see the cast and crew out on the Red Carpet (check out some of the pictures below), as well as listen to a pre-panel where the stars of the series discussed their excitement for the show, and shared their entertaining days on set. On the panel were stars Walter Koenig, Emii, and Darren Jacobs, and composer Charles-Henri Avelange, all of whom discussed the outstanding script and the enthusiasm for the project garnered while talking with series creator E.J. De La Pena.
At this point, things got a little odd, as we were herded out of the screening room and into another screening room, as apparently they did not yet have the pilot episode yet, as De La Pena was running late. After waiting for over an hour and a half in which the audience was showered with free-posters, autograph opportunities with the cast, candy and drinks, De La Pena finally ran into the room with his hard-drive and laptop, as apparently the original hard-drive had crashed the day previously. He and his editors had been recreating all of their work in the past 24 hours, including all sound-design and color-correction work, which I know from experience is no small task. At this point, I grew a little nervous, and I think I was not the only one.
The pilot began, and everything went downhill from there. I will give De La Pena and his team some benefit of the doubt, as they clearly hastily reconstructed the cut, but man were there a lot problems. On the technical side the audio was often out of sync, color correction was not quite there, the show had numerous jump cuts, flash frames, and a file that just kept freezing on us, not to mention that they had not cut out the commercial blacks, so we had to watch them jump around to try to find the beginning of the next act. To the actors’ credit, not everyone was terrible, but it was clear a lot of lines were removed, Koenig’s part seemed stilted and overly cut up, and while they clearly were playing the mockumentary style and interview cutaways for laughs in the first half, it was like they forgot it was supposed to be funny for the last 20 minutes, giving us a barely passable story of intrigue, betrayal and space battles, some of which was cringe worthy. Due to the delay of the screening in the first place, I almost walked out a couple of times, but felt I owed it to my readers to keep going, and see if maybe things picked up.
They did not.
I have some experience with television, and let me tell you, this had a lot of work to do to even come close to the worst SyFy movie I had ever seen (and let’s be honest, that is saying something). The best part of the whole screening for me was the end, and not just because I was overjoyed it was over. You see, there was supposed to be a post-screening panel with the actors, and when the pilot ended and they began calling actors onto the stage, it seemed they had some trouble finding the individuals in question. In fact, as I beelined for the exit, I noticed the man in front of me speed-walking out of there as fast and discreetly as possible was none other than Walter Koenig, who I suppose was none too pleased with the end product. Chuckling to myself, I saw him stop to converse with a friend after we had left the screening room, and I noticed he looked decidedly disappointed with the project.
And yet, there might still be hope for ‘Nobility,’ as that may have just been a hastily thrown together cut after all. Yet until I hear otherwise, my opinion is to steer clear of ‘Nobility,’ and hope the creators learn some lessons from that screening.