Sci-Fi Zone is comprised of a group of people from Melbourne, Australia who love talking about Science Fiction movies, TV shows and their collectables. In May 2019 we launched a weekly talk show (filmed in an actual comic book store) which has since evolved into a number of different video programmes - both prerecorded and broadcast LIVE - covering numerous topics. As a result of having such an expansive and varied catalogue, we now feature a vast array of educational and entertaining shows which cater for all Sci-Fi enthusiasts.
So if you're keen to become a part of our ever expanding family (we call ourselves Zoners), then feel free to tune in to any of our current or previous productions and help us rejoice in everything that's great about Science Fiction media.
THE COMPLETE HISTORY
Sci-Fi Zone was created on July 31st, 2016 by Michael 'The Vile' Laizans and Darren Maxwell, however, it was never conceived to be a talk show web series, far from it in fact.
The original plan for Sci-Fi Zone, or 'The Zed' as it affectionately became known, was to be a face-to-face social discussion group where Science Fiction fans could get together and chat about their favourite movies and TV shows using the traditional Science Fiction convention panel/seminar style format.
Despite being officially launched to the public with great enthusiasm on March 13, 2017, over a year had passed and nothing had progressed beyond the design stage. The primary issue was that in this Internet dominated social media age, The Zed simply wouldn't survive as a local community discussion forum. Consequently in April 2018 Darren and Michael reluctantly agreed The Zed had no future and was shutdown before it even started.
But everything changed on June 18, 2018!
Darren became inspired by a highly successful news talk show called 'The Project' and an Australian Football League TV talk show called 'The Front Bar.' After seeing the simplicity of these show's structures along with their high entertainment value, Darren realised creating a Science Fiction version of these two programmes every month was an obvious step to take.
A BIG STEP FORWARD
One incentive Darren had in creating The Zed as a video programme was the realisation it would be able to cover every Science Fiction movie and TV show ever produced and not be limited to just one specific franchise. As a result The Zed had a massive canvas to work with which was particularly encouraging considering the amount of great movies and TV shows in existence and those still yet to come.
Yet to turn The Zed into a reality Darren required a production team both in front and behind the camera. Fortunately he was surrounded by many friends from the fan community who had skills and extensive experience both in film making and Science Fiction media, this was particularly beneficial because The Zed would not only feature presenters who really knew their subject matter, but it could also be produced with a reasonable degree of quality.
After securing a filming location inside an actual comic book store, the first episode of Sci-Fi Zone featuring hosts Dags, MPS and Clare premiered on May 20, 2019.
From here the stars, history and fate awaited.
It's May 2019 and a new adventure is about to commence for the team
Immediately after the first episode premiered viewers requested one major change to the show's format, it needed to come out weekly!
Consequently Sci-Fi Zone was hastily restructured into what became a very successful and entertaining weekly series running from June to November 2019.
Sadly in less than a year after being launched, Sci-Fi Zone was in trouble.
The first season of 25 episodes had been successfully produced with plans in place to restructure the show in 2020 to make production easier, however, by February 2020 the world was in the grip of the Covid-19 crisis and soon after everything and everyone was in lock down.
With people now forced to self isolate at home, Darren came up with the idea on March 29, 2020 for a new show to broadcast live each week on Facebook which would not only allow the audience to post feedback comments whilst on air, but it would create a new level of dynamic interaction between them and the show's hosts. In addition, unlike Sci-Fi Zone which only covered Science Fiction movies and TV shows, this new show would also include Fantasy and Superheroes.
After discussing the concept with Peter 'MPS' Sims and quickly working out the technical details, the all new Talk Nerdy To Me premiered live on April 3, 2020 barely a few days after being conceived.
By the second episode Geoff Tilley had joined the team as the third main presenter, effectively replacing Clare McDonald from Sci-Fi Zone who was not able to participate due to her residential home not having an Internet connection.
How to ensure people can engage in some great Sci-Fi talk during lockdown?
Easy, just create a live show for it!
The day after Talk Nerdy To Me premiered, Darren conceived of a Star Wars show designed to replace Peter's monthly Star Talking 'Star Wars' podcast which had closed in October 2019.
Mos Eisley Monthly premiered live on April 22, 2020.
NO LONGER IN THE ZONE
In July 2020 stage 3 lock down restrictions were reintroduced for Melbourne which were to last for an additional six weeks, this was then followed by intense stage 4 restrictions which continued until mid November. As a consequence Darren conceded the traditional studio produced version of Sci-Fi Zone was now effectively cancelled which meant Talk Nerdy To Me had become the de facto 'Zed'.
While Talk Nerdy To Me and Mos Eisley Monthly continued to broadcast live each week, October 2020 saw Darren conceive, produce and release a new pre recorded show called Dags and MPS' Video Emporium. This series saw the hosts review and analyse the latest release episodes of Star Trek: Discovery (Season 3) and The Mandalorian (Season 2).
Covid-19 lock down restrictions finally eased in December 2020, so Darren took the opportunity to end the runs of both Talk Nerdy To Me and Mos Eisley Monthly which had successfully kept isolated fans entertained throughout what was a very difficult year.
A new year and a new show, and with it a new direction for 'The Zed'
ENTERING A NEW ERA
With Australia slowly returning to normal, March 2021 saw Sci-Fi Zone produce a new show called Rip It Off The Card which was designed to focus on pop culture collectors and collecting.
However, unlike previous productions which were all conceived and produced by Darren, this new series was the brainchild of Talk Nerdy To Me supporter and pop culture merchandise dealer Aron Challinger. Aron had approached Darren requesting Sci-Fi Zone's assistance in producing this new series to promote his new collectable store.
Rip It Off The Card premiered live on March 10, 2021 and is currently in its second season with new episodes being released each week.
With an unexpected outbreak of Covid-19 impacting Melbourne in the second half of 2021 - which saw the reintroduction of numerous statewide stage 4 lock downs including a late night curfew - Darren felt the time was ideal to relaunch Sci-Fi Zone as an all new live show which would feature the much anticipated return of Clare McDonald as co-host.
Sci-Fi Zone premiered its third season (NB there was a single episode produced for season 2 during lock down in 2020) live on September 1, 2021 where new episodes were released each week until the end of January 2022.
Another new year and another new show
With the arrival of 2022 came a new show to bolster Sci-Fi Zone's catalogue, D'N'A Reviews. This show was created to critique the latest hit Star Wars series The Book of Boba Fett where episodes would be analysed each week by Dags and Aron (hence D'N'A) during a live broadcast.
By the end February The Book of Boba Fett had finished and with it the first series of D'N'A Reviews, however, various episodes would continue to pop up sporadically to discuss the occasional new release film or TV show.
With a Monday night time slot now available Aron created a new live show to fill the void called Fan View which featured the premise of discussing pop culture topics from two generational perspectives. The first of its six episodes featuring Sci-Fi Zone newcomer Sarah Cooper premiered on March 7, 2022, with additional episodes appearing a few months later in July as part of Season 2.
A new show, a new style and new presenters!
With Rip It Off The Card, Fan View and D'N'A Reviews receiving positive audience feedback, it seemed only natural to add another live show to bolster Sci-Fi Zone's stables.
The result was Toys on Trial, a programme conceived by newcomers Rod Fletcher and Michael Briarwood which Sci-Fi Zone was happy to produce on their behalf. The show, which used the shop floor of Aron's Collectables as its production studio, premiered the first of its six episodes live on May 17, 2022 with additional episodes appearing a few months later in August as part of Season 2.
Sci-Fi Zone was approached to produce a new show.
To prove our reputation was reaching new audiences, Sci-Fi Zone was approached by a Dr Who enthusiast who suggested creating a brand new show discussing various facets of the famed TV series. This new show, entitled The Who Report, was hosted by Aron and Sci-Fi Zone newcomer Greg King which premiered the first of its six episodes on October 13, 2022.
In late October Sci-Fi Zone decided to produce a special horror show just in time for Halloween. The show itself was an idea from Aron who was keen to produce a horror themed programme with co host and Sci-Fi Zone newcomer Zac Evans. The Graveyard Shift premiered on October 29, 2022.
With Rip It Off The Card in hiatus, a special variation of the show appeared in its place. The all new Rip It Off The Card: Collector Series featured selected presentations recorded from the live broadcasts which were edited down into a more focused format. The first episode of this new series was released on March 8, 2023.
In a somewhat significant departure from the comedic and semi-serious live broadcast shows produced over the past couple of years, Sci-Fi Zone was given the opportunity to produce a new documentary series focusing on the history of Star Trek action figures from the 1990's. Being the the brainchild of Star Trek collector and toy historian James Patrik, the first episode of this new series was released in March 14, 2023 after being in production for five months.
Another new show to come from the Sci-Fi Zone stables was Sci-in 5. After spending a couple of years producing live broadcasts which sometimes exceeded two hours in duration, Sci-in 5 was a prerecorded show which was designed to do the exact opposite in that the runtime of each episode could not exceed five minutes. The first episode of this new series was released in April 23, 2023.
After all the video productions Sci-Fi Zone had produced over the previous four years, September 2023 saw the release of a brand new, audio only, podcast called Nerdy Things From Another World. Aside from covering Sci-Fi movies and TV shows, this show also reflected on Melbourne Sci-Fi fandom history as both presenters had been actively involved in their local fan community from as far back as the 1980's.