With approximately a week to go before production starts, the hottest news about SyFy's "Helix" is the casting of Hiroyuki Sanada ("Revenge") as the show's main antagonist. That news literally came five minutes before the show's San Diego Comic-Con 2013 panel began.
Written by Cameron Porsandeh, the show takes place in a medical research facility near the Arctic Circle. A capacity crowd in Room 6A saw the teaser trailer featuring lots of stark white surfaces and unconscious bodies. The footage hints that someone or something is running wild inside the facility. The only real sounds that can be heard are klaxons and a computerized voice.
8 Important Things to Know About "Helix":
1. Billy Campbell ("The Killing") plays the lead role, Dr. Alan Farragut. "Helix" showrunner Steven Maeda calls Farragut a scientist, virologist, and researcher as well as an interesting character.
2. Executive producer Ronald D. Moore said he literally didn't want to read the script because he wasn't interested in the particular genre of the sci-fi piece. The network believed in the show, though. "I just started turning the pages. It was one of those reads that you hope for whenever anyone hands you a script. You just keep turning the page to see what happens next," Moore said.
Watch the complete Comic-Con reel for "Helix" now:
3. Moore also said there's an outbreak of something in the first episode. A team from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is sent out to help contain it.
4. As it turns out, the research conducted at the base wasn't exactly as advertised. "The research has the potential to save humanity, but also destroy it," Moore explained.
5. Season 1 will run for 13 episodes.
6. Porsandeh described the show as a season-long mystery: "We thought it would be an episode a day. It would be incredible to start the story literally two weeks before it ends."
7. Two years ago, Porsandeh was an employee of the Federal Reserve. "I know there's a lot of people in the audience who would love to have their own science show on SyFy. Two years ago, I was you," he said.
8. Mark Stern, president of SyFy original content, said that with "Helix," the network is embracing its sci-fi roots in a lot of different ways: "We are going to have more announcements coming up: pilots, things we recently made some decisions on. What's great about [‘Helix'] is that it is a real play into serialized character drama with a real meaty science fiction hook.