- Damon Dark
Damon Dark Format Science fiction, drama Created by Adrian Sherlock Starring Adrian Sherlock Country of origin Australia No. of episodes 50 Broadcast Original channel Channel 31 Melbourne Original run September, 1999 – June, 2010
Origins of the Series
The series began as a semi-professional TV pilot episode called Damon Dark: "Timeslip" and when this was not picked up by TV networks, its creator made a continuation for community TV, through ERA (Eastern Regional Access) a branch of Community TV 31 in Melbourne. It was first broadcast on the local community television station Channel 31 Melbourne from September to October 1999, in an 11 PM, Thursday night timeslot and told the adventures of Damon Dark, an agent working for a Department Six, a secret service branch investigating and fighting against hostile alien incursions into Earth society. In the original TV run, the alien menace was unseen, operating through human agents which they either employed or controlled in some way. The final episode of the original run featured an alien which could adopt a human shape. The UFO itself was unseen, too, having landed under the sea. The series initially followed a similar format to The X-Files, with Damon and various female Agents, first Candy Ryan, then Veruca Stone, setting off on an investigation, usually centered around UFO sightings and conspiracies.
Continuation of the Series
A more expensive TV pilot was produced in 2000, with a different cast and a professional television director involved. Again, the pilot was not taken up. However, with the rise of YouTube, Damon Dark found a new audience in 2006, where it has been revived and continues to this day as a web series, featuring Adrian Sherlock in the role he originally created. In 2007, the Damon Dark format was reinvented to better suit the web series. Damon had begun working for friendly aliens known as Transdimensional Control, who had recruited him to fight in a Galaxy-spanning war against a force called the Cygnus Collective. Each episode then typically began with Damon appearing from thin air, out of a "time portal", in the location for the story. The series continues via these exclusive YouTube episodes. In December 2008 Damon Dark returned to broadcast television in Melbourne, with the controversial episode "Terror 9/11". Because of the low budget, the web series has largely been set on contemporary Earth. Apart from its longevity, the series has also been notably influential on other aspiring film makers,such as Trea Cotton and Miguel Maldonado. Some of these contacts have assisted in developing and perpetuating the series. Because of the nature of independent productions it is unclear if Damon Dark is actually the longest-running independent series in the world. It should be noted that any episode guide to Damon Dark in its present form is bound to be incomplete, as new episodes are being made on a regular basis.
Damon Dark was the first television to feature Niobe Dean. Although famous on the Internet for her starring role in Broken Allegiance, the actress later became a professional within the industry, most famously appearing as Sally Kirk in Neighbours. Another Neighbours luminary to appear was Andrew Dunn[disambiguation needed ], an actor who had also appeared in the movie Chopper. Both appeared in the Damon Dark serial "Maddox".
A third actor with professional credits was Chris Heaven, who expanded his cameo into his own spin-off series.
Though Sherlock directed two of the original three stories himself, the second, "Maddox", was directed by Karl Siemon, who has since gone on to become a professional cinematographer with five movies to his credit including Radio Samurai, The Razor Eaters and Hotel Motel.
Ed Bishop was also due to be involved with the series during its early inception, as detailed further in "Unmade Episodes".
Adrian Sherlock himself has been a professional in the acting business for many years, appearing uncredited in ABC TV's award-winning Boy Soldiers (1990) and his own stage show Naked in the Fernery in 2007. He's also appeared in uncredited featured roles in TV commercials and a short-lived ABC TV legal drama called Inside Running (1989) where he played the Clerk of the Court.
The First Television Broadcast (1999)
The first three serials consisting of five episodes were broadcast on Melbourne's Channel 31 from September to October 1999.
The Pilot (2000)
After Adrian Sherlock had completed the first Damon Dark series, Producer Jennifer Douglas decided to co-produce a semi-professional version. Using a script from Sherlock, sponsorship was obtained and TV drama director Chris Langman and James Kalish directed the episode.
The fundamental change was that Douglas had decided to recast the central role, with Bruce Hughes playing Damon. Bruce Hughes is an actor of considerable professional experience, including a role as Commander Wellington in the popular children's science fiction series Ocean Girl and a role in the 2007 movie Ghost Rider. Adrian Sherlock's own recollection was that "This was sad for me, but I liked the actor."
Continuation of the Series (2006-2011)
When the revamped pilot didn't take off, Sherlock decided to resurrect his creation for the Internet generation. Back in the lead role a series of new adventures were successful on YouTube achieving around 200,000 hits by 2009 figures. Reactions to Damon Dark on YouTube have included interest from musicians, actors, special effects creators and aspiring screenwriters all offering contributions to the webseries. Some Damon Dark episodes have also been uploaded to Openfilm.com, Dailymotion and Revver.
Recently, the 2009 episode "The Cosmic Magician" has introduced a new adversary for Damon Dark, a time-meddler played by Oliver McNeil, who had previously achieved a degree of recognition in the British media and on YouTube for an independent series called Barry the Demon Hunter in which McNeil played the title character, a hero inspired by Joss Whedon's series Buffy and Angel. McNeil followed up this first Damon Dark appearance with "Revenge of the Magician".
In 2010, British film director Brett Gerry wrote a blog about the impact of Damon Dark on web video and became involved as a writer, scripting Damon Dark episode "Hidden Camera, Hidden Truth" in which Damon Dark's life is seen apparently by hidden video cameras in his home and two part story "Is there anybody out there?".
The Second Television Broadcast (2009)
Damon Dark returned to community TV with the YouTube episode Terror 9/11 being shown on Australian television in late 2008. The screenings, in many Australian States, were part of a series showcasing Australian short films, "The Anthology of Interest", produced by Graham Garfield Barnard.
Possible cancellation of the Series
In July 2010 Sherlock decided to cancel the series, deleting the YouTube account and looking at taking Damon Dark to the stage and other mediums such as a series of original audio plays. However, Adrian Sherlock was persuaded by online fans to continue the series and returned to producing new episodes in December 2010. In 2011, a second YouTube account was established, TheDamonDarkChannel, which is exclusively dedicated to a small number of episodes deemed to be the "best of" Damon Dark. As of late 2011, having become a YouTube Partner, Adrian Sherlock has begun making a new series of Damon Dark which takes the character in a different direction. In this new version, Damon has lost his memory and while he claims to be a stranded time-traveller, no one believes his claims. An unseen psychiatrist character recurs in the series, trying to convince Damon that his memories of time travel and alien encounters are mental delusions. As the series is depending upon its creator to continue, it may never be truly considered cancelled while the possibility exists that he will produce new installments.
List of episodes
Episode Title Production Date Duration 1. "Time-Slip" 1996 The first completed pilot episode. D-6 Agents Damon Dark and Candy Ryan (Susan Leigh Anderson) arriving at their HQ after returning from a UFO case and losing contact with their superiors. They are shocked to find their own murdered bodies in their office, and Agent Patrick (Rob Philips), now under alien control, is the assassin. It transpires that they've passed through a hole in time into the next day. They manage to return to the previous day and face their would-be killer. But he has also followed them from the future and now there are two Patricks! The plot was inspired partly by the UFO episode "Timelash" and the Twilight Zone episode "Death Ship". 2. "Maddox/It's After Me" 1998/9 A three part-story, Maddoxand It's After Me (a fourth and final instalment) comprised this story. In Maddox, Candy has been replaced by Agent Veruca Stone (Niobe Dean). Damon and Agent Stone (Niobe Dean) investigate the bizarre death of Veruca's boyfriend, Agent Jason Tanner, of a brain storm, caused by an alien implant. They discover Simon Maddox (Andrew Dunn) a powerful Media mogul, is helping the aliens to take control of the government with mind control signals, using the mobile phone network. In the follow-up episode which concludes the series, It's After Me, the alien creature who Maddox was working with uses shape-shifting powers to try to kill Damon so it can take his place. We learn about Damon's childhood fears and relationship with his mother (Faye Douglas), which the alien impersonates in order to get close enough to try to kill him. 3. "The Possessed aka The Bomb" 2006 Damon is searching for UFO evidence when he is lured into a trap by an old friend and former Agent, Gary Sutton (Robert Trott) who wants to exact revenge for abandoning him to an alien race. Gary is a zombie with a massive doomsday bomb ready to nuke the Earth! 4. "The Human Host" 2006 In The Human Host, Damon discovers that the aliens have programmed Gary's mind with the order "KIll DAMON DARK" from a glowing UFO and are growing clone duplicates of him. A friendly recreation of Gary is ultimately returned to Damon and to D-6. 5. "Time as a Weapon" 2006 Damon Dark's comedy episode, as he lets the clone of Gary move in with him, and then gets turned into a baby. Gary has to work out a way to restore Damon and save the Earth from a black hole... 6. "The Time Entity" 2006 Damon reveals that he's been dismissed from Department Six following an incident where he shot a serial killer who murdered his girlfriend. He has been recruited to act as an Earth Agent for the mysterious cosmic agency known as trans dimensional control. They send him back to face the serial killer who has been resurrected by an alien intelligence. 7. "Night of Terror" 2007 Damon investigates when two boys lose their father on a camping trip after a meteorite came down in the area. A grim development shakes Damon Dark. 8. "The Dark Planet News Broadcast" 2007 Mock-documentary style AUDIO PLAY with a montage of images, in which the voice of a newsreader narrating the tale of a rogue planet which is discovered approaching the Earth from deep space, causing chaos on Earth. Damon Dark is called in to investigate and he ultimately leads a space shuttle mission to take on the planet's unknown inhabitants. 9. "The Ghost" 2007 AUDIO PLAY with a montage of images in which Damon awakens in a haunted house with the ghost of an old man for company and discovers a time warp linking this situation to the UFO crash at Roswell, New Mexico. 10. "The Souls of Cygnus" 2008 Damon Dark returns to Earth after ten years as an agent for Trans Dimensional Control, an alien force for good in the Cosmos. He and another member of the agency, Mr.Chronos (Ray Jones), arrive at the home of Gary Sutton via space-time wormholes. There they face the Collective, disembodied survivors of dead planet Cygnus 12, ghostly invaders in search of new bodies and the main aggressors in the Cosmic War. Damon must risk all to save Earth from being assimilated into the Collective's group-mind. 11. "End Game" 2008 Story arc with individually-titled chapters. Destination Moon, Earthbase One, Trial of a Traitor, The Destroyer. An alien complex is discovered on the far side of the Moon and Damon Dark must get inside it and learn its secrets...this leads to him being called a Traitor by his superiors and a hit man called The Destroyer is sent to eliminate him. 12. "Terror 9/11" 2008 The Collective cause Damon and Gary to land in the World Trade Center 30 mins before its destruction. 13. "Death Trap" 2008 Damon Dark arrives in an empty space shuttle which is programmed to crash into the Sun. 14. "The Undertaker" 2008 A rogue agent called The Undertaker makes life Hell for Damon Dark. Story arc which introduces Vincent Kosmos (Singer and Actor Chris Heaven), a lovable rogue time-jumper. Chapters individually titled: "Dark Revelation", "The Undertaker", "The Time Thief","The Demon's Embrace", "Encounter in Space." See also "Perils in Orbit." 15. "The SOCRAD Attack" 2008 Damon Dark crosses the path with the robotic SOCRAD and is joined by time thief Vincent Kosmos, first introduced in the Undertaker story arc. Two chapters, parts one and three, are presented as Damon Dark episodes while parts two and four of the story are presented as part of the spinoff series Vincent Kosmos. Damon and Vincent appear together in the final chapter. 16. "Darkness Falls" 2008 A horror episode about a possessed doll, containg the spirit of a dead lady named Mary Raven, the Doll Maker. 17. "Shadow Walker" 2008 Concerning the legend of the Doppleganger, the twin which draws energy from the person it resembles, this story sees Damon hunted by his twin. 18. "Misspent Youth" 2008 Teenage film maker Jack Knoll guest stars as "Young" Damon Dark, with another teenager, Josh Tuckwell as "Young Vincent Kosmos". 19. "The Shapeless" 2009 The first episode of 2009, simplifies the series format. Damon is revealed as having resigned his past role with Transdimensional Control. Now, he is simply a time/space traveler. In this episode, he faces a creature which takes people's shape, sending them into the past so it can replace them. 20. "The Space Prison" 2009 Vincent Kosmos dies, giving his life to save Damon. 21. "The Cosmic Magician" 2009 Oliver McNeil (star of U.K webseries Barry the Demon Hunter) plays a time-meddler who resents Damon Dark for foiling his schemes to mess with Earth's history. He mentions trying to change the outcome of the siege of Troy, impersonating Hitler and being "outed" as a Warlock in the Middle Ages. 22. "The Parallel Man" 2009 In a parallel world where Hitler won the Second World War, Damon's desperate duplicate longs for freedom. He tries to open a dimensional rift to our world. 23. "Escape from the Mirror World" 2009 The Tempus Project, a time-travel research unit based in Arizona U.S.A, opens a rift in the dimensions and pulls Damon's other self out of the Nazi Empire-dominated parallel Earth! They also find a parallel Vincent! (This is developed further in a follow-up chapter called 'Vincent from the Mirror.' 24. "Fear in the Night" 2009 Robbed of his ability to time-travel, Damon returns to work as a UFO hunter for the secret service. They don't believe his claims of time-space travel...but he must face a new alien menace who are coming to Earth and taking a human shape in order to infiltrate and kill. 25. "Revenge of the Magician" 2009 The Cosmic Magician takes his vengeance on Damon with a voodoo-style psychic attack. His only hope lies with Dr. Lansing (Trea Cotton), the head of the Tempus Project. 26. "Earth Under Siege" 2009 Damon awakens to find himself trapped on a prison space station in Mars orbit. A meteorite strike frees a prisoner, a fearsome alien creature. As it closes it, Damon contacts Dr.Lansing on Earth. The SOCRAD are now part of the Collective and they are attacking Earth. Damon comes up with a plan to explode a bomb on Earth, the station's nuclear destruct device. Lansing can transport the bomb to Earth but if Damon detonates, humans and aliens alike will die. Can Damon become a mass murderer for the sake of the greater good? 27. "From out of the shadows" 2009 Damon investigates when all the students go missing from a local college and comes face to face with a powerful new adversary, Hecate, the Witch (Gillian Martin). 28. "The return of Hecate" 2009 Damon explores a grimy boiler room and hears a disembodied voice, warning him of the return of his new opponent Hecate (Gillian Martin) who is taking humans for her mysterious masters. 29. "UFO Hunter?" 2009 Mockumentary style "news story" in which Damon Dark kills an unseen alien-possessed human and then disappears after calling his friend Gary to say aliens want him to work for them. The news story suggests he may be a deluded killer who murdered an innocent man, and the ambiguity is challenged. 30. "The Face of the Enemy." 2009 Damon meets the Chameleon, a shape-changing alien whose body has been acquired by a powerful member of the Cygnus Collective.
Ed Bishop initially agreed to appear as "Ed", an ageing UFO expert in Damon Dark: Shadowfall, the first story following the 1999 season. Ed Bishop's own suggestion was that "Ed should be a bum on skid-row, washing dishes in a restaurant" when Damon meets him, because "nothing runs downhill faster than a thoroughbred". Funding for the story fell through and the project was abandoned, though Shadowfall was eventually recorded as a tribute audio play in 2005. The story was reported in more detail, including some plot information, in an article titled "The Bluffers Guide to UFO" in Issue 11 of English magazine Scifi Now. The character of Ed was a reference to Ed Straker, the UFO hunter played by Bishop in the early 1970s SF series UFO.
Damon Dark has also been self-published by Adrian Sherlock in novella form, with the first book, Damon Dark: Biodome. However, possibly the most significant spin off is the creation of a "sister" webseries featuring a professional actor Chris Heaven. Heaven had appeared in the film Garibaldi il generale and was the writer of two television projects. His own series, Vincent Kosmos, began life in 2008. In 2009's Damon Dark episode "The Space Prison", Vincent Kosmos died in a manner reminiscent of the death of Mr. Spock in the Star Trek movies, sacrificing his life to save Damon Dark. Vincent Kosmos has since returned from the dead for a third season. Jack Knoll has also announced he is producing a spinoff webseries about the adventures of Young Damon Dark, concerning Damon's first UFO and alien encounter during his formative years, based on Damon Dark's backstory. More recently, Trea Cotton has produced the pilot episode of his own spinoff, The Dr.Lansing Chronicles, featuring his own character who debuted in Damon Dark. Damon Dark maintains an "open door" policy and has welcomed contributions from writers, actors, musicians, CGI animators and others from around the world who want to become involved and contribute to its development.
- ^ http://www.innersense.com.au/mif/master_list.html
- ^ http://home.iprimus.com.au/niobe/Actor.htm
- ^ http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0242493/
- ^ a b http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2578298/
- ^ http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1037298/
- ^ http://www.geelongcity.vic.gov.au/Services_In_Geelong/Arts_and_Culture/The_Arts_Bulletin/Arts_Bulletin_Archive/Arts_Bulletin_2007/Arts_Bulletin_227/
- ^ http://afc.gov.au/filmsandawards/filmdbsearch.aspx?view=title&title=DAMDAR
- ^ http://www.scifinow.co.uk/magazine-issues/scifinow-issue-11/
- ^ Sherlock, Adrian (2007). "Damon Dark: Australia's Own Sci-Fi Series On Line!". Straker11.com. http://straker11.tripod.com/biodome/index.html.
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