A BRIEF 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 premiered on May 20, 2019. From here the stars, history and fate awaited.
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 an online video show to broadcast live each week on Facebook. One key benefit for producing such a show was the audiences ability to post feedback comments whilst on air. Yet unlike Sci-Fi Zone which only covered Science Fiction movies and TV shows, this new show would also include Fantasy and Superheroes and as a result Talk Nerdy To Me was born.
After discussing the concept with Peter 'MPS' Sims and quickly working out the technical details, Talk Nerdy To Me premiered live on Facebook 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.
It's May 2019 and a new adventure is about to commence for the team
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 which was intended to replace Peter's monthly Star Talking 'Star Wars' podcast which had closed in October 2019.
Mos Eisley Monthly premiered live on Facebook 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 stricter stage 4 restrictions which continued on 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 was now the de facto 'Zed'.
While Talk Nerdy To Me and Mos Eisley Monthly continued to broadcast live on Facebook 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).
In December 2020 the Covid-19 lock down restrictions finally eased in Melbourne, 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 the Covid restrictions relaxed and Australia slowly returning to normal, March 2021 saw Sci-Fi Zone produce a new weekly live Facebook show called Rip It Off The Card which focused on pop culture collectors and collecting.
However, unlike the previous productions which were all conceived and produced by Darren, this new series was the brainchild of collectable store owner and Talk Nerdy To Me supporter Aron Challinger. Aron had approached Darren requesting Sci-Fi Zone's assistance in producing this new series which was designed to be a promotional outlet for Aron's collectable store.
Rip It Off The Card premiered live on Facebook on March 10, 2021 and is currently in production with new episodes released each week.
With an unexpected outbreak of Covid-19 impacting Melbourne in the second half of 2021 - which unfortunately saw the reintroduction of numerous statewide stage 4 lock downs and 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 all new third season live on Facebook on September 1, 2021 and is currently in production with new episodes released each week.