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SciTech Watch: The Finest SciFi TV You’ve Never Seen

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Hardly any of the current crop of Science Fiction television shows are of any interest to me. With the exception of Doctor Who, none of the currently airing shows have grabbed my attention. And even Doctor Who is not really science-based Science Fiction, but fantasy woven around scientific or historical facts. There really is a science-based science fiction television out there! I’ll wager that anyone outside Canada or the northern United States has never seen it. So join us this week as SciTech Watch explores the world of Regenesis, the Finest SciFi TV You’ve Never Seen.

Regenesis is an hour-long television program created by Christina Jennings and produced by Shaftesbury Films. Airing on Canada’s Movie Central and The Movie Network on Sunday nights, Regenesis began its second season on March 19th. Regenesis is set in Toronto, Canada and follows the work of a fiction biotechnology advisory commission that was set up by Mexico, the United States, and Canada. Officially named the North American Biotechnology Advisory Commission, it is known in the show by its acronym, NorBAC. NorBAC has a staff of scientists whose job it is to look at any activities or science in the areas of nanotechnology, biotechnology, and bioweaponry. As a reference point, think the Crime Scene Investigator series on CBS or House on Fox with more science and less gore.

Regenesis has a higher science content that any other Science Fiction TV series I have encountered. The characters regularly deal with biological and environmental threats in a detailed fashion, managing to educate the viewer without long pieces of boring exposition. The first season of Regenesis dealt with topics such as bioterroism, Mad Cow disease, power blackouts, and Spanish Influenza. The Spanish Flu story arc is particularly interesting given all the press around the current Bird Flu and the recreation of the Spanish Flu genome. So far in the nine episodes of season two, arcs have included HIV as bioterrorism, a cure for juvenile diabetes, and acid rain on Mexico City. There is even a link off of the Regenesis web site to the Ontario Genomics Institute where they discuss the science involved in each episode.

This show has an ensemble cast, with the Chief Scientist, David Sandstrom, played by Peter Outerbridge, and the lab’s Executive Director, Caroline Morrison, played by Maxim Roy in most scenes. The remaining cast include Conrad Pla as Carlos Serrano, Mayko Nguyen as Mayko Tran, Dmitry Chepovetsky as Bob Melnikov, Sarah Strange as Jill Langston, and Greg Bryk as Weston Field.

Most episodes of Regenesis contain two or more story arcs. Some arcs are completed within an episode, some within a few episodes, and some story arcs last an entire season. The multitude of arcs make each show more realistic in that the characters are dealing with multiple events and problems not all related to a single story arc.

The bad news, right now there is no airing of Regenesis in the United States and it is carried by two premium cable TV services in Canada: Movie Central and The Movie Network. You can get a podcast stream from the Regenesis Remixed podcast site. The Remixed site has MP3s of show music and is hosted by the music producer for Regenesis‘s soundtrack, Andrea Higgins. New in season two is the ability to download video summaries of episodes in iPod video format. The first six of these video podcasts are available at the Regenesis site or you can subscribe through iTunes.

My apologies to Tony Steidler-Dennison for stealing his Roadhouse tag line The Finest Blues You’ve Never Heard for my column title.

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  • Turns out that the first season of Regenesis is available on DVD at the UK Amazon site. However, the DVD is encoded for DVD Region 2 (Europe, Japan, South Africa and the Middle East including Egypt), so unless you have a region-free player it won’t play on North American DVD players.

  • Steal away, John. I appreciate the mention.