In an ever-expanding field of intergalactic sci-fi TV dramas, The CW's new series Pandora has "much greater ambition," star Noah Huntley told PopCulture.com. The Mark Altman-created series, set to premiere on the network on Tuesday, July 16, "incorporates the sci-fi world, that sci-fi lovers can appreciate."
"The beauty of this production over any other sci-fi [productions] that come into manifestation is that he [Altman] seems like he is 6 feet knee deep into the show and the storyline, which from an actor's point of view is so refreshing," Huntley said. "Our characters are really well fleshed out and there's a feeling that they could really evolve."
Set more than 100 years in the future in the year 2199 following a mass migration to other planets after the "a realization that the resources of the planet are so limited, Pandora centers on Jax, who, following the loss of her parents, finds a new life at Earth's Space Training Academy. There, she and others learn to defend the Galaxy from threats – "benevolent and malevolent forces, alien and colonized, earthbound races" of the future.
Huntley portrays the "removed," "intimidating," and "deeply fallible" Professor Donovan Osborne, Jax's uncle and a "professor of war and battle politics" at the Academy.
"He's come from the military and he's embedded in the intelligence service in the future, the Earth's Intelligence Service, known as the EIS," Huntley said of his character. "On the surface, again, he seems like a very unlikable character. What's been interesting is to find the hidden depths within that and the justifications and reasoning that transcend whatever personality traits may be favorable or unfavorable."
"I feel like Marc Altman is our mentor. He's our everything really on the show. He's been wanting to make this for a long long time," he said. "He goes to Mark Pedowitz, head of CW, 20 years ago. He's talking about wanting to do a Star Trek-style show and got the go ahead earlier this year. That's how it came into being."
Drawing from the "great inferences and inspirations" of its predecessors, Pandora is "incredibly rich and incredibly detailed. Whether it's planet colonies or other races, or races that we are aware of that are barely even mentioned, or technology that's being used, or human development, the telepathy that are being used. Or the data stream, which is like a futuristic internet. So it feels very rich."
The show, Huntley says, is perfect for The CW, a network with an audience that has "receptive minds that are not so entrenched that they can't accept looking at the world in a different way and that's probably best place for a futuristic drama."
"It becomes very optimistic, and I think that's going to land well with the CW, but it's never schmaltzy," he said. "It's not like you go, oh, yes, it's the happy ending that we all needed. It leaves things for the audience to decide on, and from my point of view as an actor that's great."
Pandora debuts on The CW on Tuesday, July 16 at 8 p.m. ET.