Sci-fi web Evolve: Year Zero series producer says gender, sexuality of characters not important

The characters on Evolve: Year Zero are warriors first, making their genders and sexualities secondary. The series will be part of a panel discussion at this weekend's Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo.

Evolve: Year Zero's producer says series focuses on team of diverse people on equal ground

A scene from Episode 8 of the first season of the sci-fi web series Evolve: Year Zero. (Evolve: Year Zero/YouTube)

The executive producer of a post-apocalyptic, sci-fi web series Evolve: Year Zero says it was important to the creator that the characters were warriors first, making their genders and sexualities secondary.

The series will be part of a panel discussion at this weekend's 2018 Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo, which runs Thursday through Sunday and attracts tens of thousands of attendees.

The first eight-episode season of Evolve: Year Zero is now online, telling the story of a team of United Nations soldiers who failed to save humanity.

The show was created by producer/actress Rebecca Eady, who also stars in the series.

"It was her idea because she really wanted to depict a team of people that were all sort of on equal ground," executive producer Joel McNichol told The Homestretch on Monday.

"Men, women, all with different powers but also with different weaknesses. We wanted to focus on the strengths and weaknesses."

And that required a bit of a departure from somewhat established norms, he said.

"With the genre there is usually a focus on fetishizing women in sci-fi," McNichol said.

Evolve: Year Zero executive producer Joel McNichol says web series can be a great way to get content to a larger audience. (Marco Grazzini)

"We thought that having a really strong, equal group, men to women. They are warriors first. That's all that really matters. It doesn't matter what sex they are, what their sexuality is, what their race it, that they are warriors first."

McNichol, also a cast member, says web series can be a great way of getting content to a larger audience.

"It's an easy way to access people quickly. If you don't have a ton of money and you want to put something out there to the world, doing it on the internet is obviously the best way to do it. It's gotten quite a bit of buzz," he said.

"They are shorter episodes and you can watch them anytime you want. You can catch these five-minute episodes and get an idea what the story is. People just want to see something kind of complete in a very short period of time."

The entire series was shot in four days near Vancouver.

"We spent 12-hour days but everyone was so pumped to be there and doing this, the smiles on our faces were just awesome."

McNichol says he's excited because it will be his first time participating at the Calgary Expo.

"I am super geeking out. I can't wait to be there and see everybody who is so pumped to be there and to share our show with all these people who just love sci-fi."

With files from CBC's Susan Holzman and The Homestretch