Junior’s Miles from Tomorrowland, an intergalactic pre-school adventure series,
blasts off Friday, February 6th on Disney Channel (9:00 a.m., ET/PT). Launching
with four back-to-back episodes, it incorporates unique space and science facts
into the storylines that chart the outer space missions of young adventurer
Miles Callisto and his family as they
help connect the galaxy on behalf of the Tomorrowland Transit Authority.
writer and producer Sascha Paladino is the creator and executive producer. An
accomplished children’s television writer, Paladino previously developed and served as head writer and producer for Nickelodeon’s Ni
Hao, Kai-lan. An award-winning film director, his most
recent documentary feature, Throw Down Your Heart, about American
banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck, won the Audience Award at the South by Southwest
Film Festival, Best Music Documentary at AFI Docs and the Audience Award at the
Vancouver International Film Festival.
I spoke to him about creating this series for Walt Disney Television.
So tell me how this
series came about.
I had been working in children’s television for about ten
years as a writer and producer, making documentaries in Europe. I always looked
forward to having kids, but when my wife
told me we were expecting twins I panicked.
I thought that was going to be the end of my adventures. Happy to be a
parent, but it meant the end of my freelance ways. That’s where this idea came from. I started daydreaming – what’s the best adventure you
can have with your family, with kids. And since I’ve always been a sci-fi
fan and always wanted to be an astronaut – my mind went to outer space. Being with your
family in outer space seems like the ultimate adventure.
We’ve seen shows like The Jetsons and Lost In Space with
families in space – but I hadn’t seen such a story from a kids perspective.
What would that be like? The kids not just along for the ride but integral to
the mission, with everyone having a specialty.
It came from my own experience as a new father – The crazy
part is I pitched it when the boys were three months old, but as you know development
takes quite a while – during that time Disney asked if I would move to Ireland
to work with Brown Bag Films, a really exciting opportunity, working on Henry
Hugglemonster as a consulting producer – so we moved to Ireland when the boys
were 18 months old. It was a bit daunting and thrilling – but that really
helped shape Miles as I was developing it. Having this adventure in a new place
with the kids – that aspect made it into the show.
Though it’s a
pre-school show of today, it harkens back to the old-school sci-fi of the 1950s; Buck Rogers, Captain Video
serials with it’s adventure storylines.
It’s a pre-school show
that skews to the older end of the pre-school audience. There are thrills and cliffhangers – quite a
lot of action, but pre-school appropriate. Peril and danger – but no shooting
or fighting. I wanted to capture that Buck Rogers thrill-ride. The goal of the
show is to balance action with the warm family moments. Miles, the main
character, gets into some perilous situations but its safe and okay because his
parents are there – and they work together to get through it.
Miles’ best friend is a robo-Ostrich, a kid and pet relationship
– but luckily his pet’s tail can turn into booster jets and his wings can
We try to balance real science with fantasy. We met with
NASA scientists and got to tour Space X. Meeting real rocket scientists and
hearing how Star Wars and Star Trek inspired them to go into the sciences. It’s
exciting to think that perhaps some kid will be inspired by some of the gadgets
we’ve dreamed up here and make it a reality someday.
Who are the chief
creatives on your team?
We have an incredible team. The chief artists here Supervising
Director Paul Demeyer and art director Max Miceli who has an incredible eye of
taking real objects – the hubble telescope or places like Mars – and making
them fit into the style of the show. We also get to make up our own planets –
like a sand planet with sand waterfalls.
We coined a term for our fantasy holographic technology, we call it
“hard light” – used for the helmets the character wear.
You are using Mark
Hamill, George Takei and Will Wheaton in your voice cast who have a history
with sci-fi films…
We also have the great Tom Kenny who plays the Dad, Olivia
Munn as Mom, Dee Bradley Baker is Merk the kids Cullen McCarthy as Miles and
Fiona Bishop …but yes, having Mark
Hammil and George Takei on the same show is a dream come true. We also have
Bill Nye (The Science Guy) who has some science street cred. It’s a home-coming
for Bill as his famous show was a Disney production (which aired on PBS Kids).
Here he plays Professor Rubicon – no one speaks science better than Bill.
Is this show in
anyway connected to Disneyland, Tomorrowland or the upcoming Brad Bird movie?
My original concept was about a family in outer space. Tying
it to Tomorrowland came up in development. The idea being we expand on Walt
Disney’s original goals for Tomorrowland, which was a place of progress and
innovation. The idea that Tomorrowland
is about the challenges and advance technology can lead to something
really good for humanity. In the show, Miles and his family work for the
Tomorrowland Transit Authority – the mission of the TTA is to “connect the
universe” and builds off the original idea from Walt that technology is good –
and for world peace. That DNA connects it to the other Tomorrowlands.
In the end, we hope it’s a show that all families will watch
together. I think there are some surprises we think adults – and sci-fi fans – will like.