Space, as William Shatner famously intoned at the beginning of each episode of the original STAR TREK series, is the final frontier. Yet, what happens when the vast galaxies of space have been all but conquered? What’s an explorer to do – especially if such an explorer happens to be a drunk, washed-up space adventurer who thinks that there’s still some uncharted territory that has yet to be discovered? The new adult animated comedy web series ACE DISCOVERY, created by Tom Gran and Martin Woolley for Frederator Studios, focuses on one such adventurer. Ako Mitchell plays the titular role of a once thriving Buck Rogers-type space explorer, who now finds himself at the end of his rope as he captains the last spaceship devoted to exploring whatever’s left of the universe.

His motley crew includes Ace’s not quite grown up #1 fan and “assistant” CrackerJack (played by Hugo Harold-Harrison), Jet and Bosley (both played by Eric Meyers), and a sociopathic robot named Rip Torn (named after the legendary character actor, and played by Woolley in what Gran describes as his ‘dynamic breakthrough’ in the world of acting). The series is available on Frederator’s exclusive Youtube channel devoted to adult cartoons, Cartoon Hangover, and also on Gran and Martin’s official web site (see links below). Gran says that there may be enough episodes to last two or three seasons, but just how many will be determined by what Frederator Studios wants.

Inspired by classic comic book characters like Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers, plus sci-fi movies like LOGAN’S RUN and the series of STAR TREK movies and TV shows, Gran and Woolley created their own unique backdrop for the edgy comedy of the series. “We have a kind of compulsive tendency to come up with our own worlds around every genre we can think of, and sci-fi was one we hadn’t really ventured into. We came up with Ace a couple of years ago and just kept feeding ideas into it over time, so we’ve ended up with a lot of secondary characters and world backstory that never really gets touched on, but still adds to the writing somehow. We felt like in classic sci-fi mythology there’s a big time gap between the worlds of Buck Rogers and Jean-Luc Picard (STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION) and we wanted to play around with what went on in that transitionary time period when all the Flash Gordons and Captain Kirks were rendered obsolete, but the peaceful multi-cultural space societies hadn’t really been worked out yet. We know the history of the world and all the characters to a really silly level of detail but that’s all stuff we’ll have to hold out on until we get to do some more episodes,” Gran says.

While the production process for each episode was a breeze for both Gran and Woolley and their cast of voice actors, having their project under the purview of a large studio known for its TV and online output (Nickelodeon’s THE FAIRLY ODDPARENTS, CHALKZONE, MY LIFE AS A TEENAGE ROBOT, Cartoon Network’s ADVENTURE TIME, and the Cartoon Hangover web site) proved to be the biggest challenge. “The majority of the production was condensed into about a month and a half and went really smoothly. We had three animators working on and off throughout that time while me and Martin worked out designs and I directed. The only real problems started showing up after the pilot was finished, when we discovered there were a load of contract issues to be resolved. We’re used to working fairly free and loose so suddenly having to deal with the legal process of a big company like Frederator was a bit of a shock,” Gran says.

ACE DISCOVERY is sure to be popular with not only sci-fi fans (mainly those who don’t take it as seriously as most people), but also, as Gran says, those who like their comedy on the raunchy side – a quality not often present in most web series. “I’d say our style of comedy, which ranges from more subtle conversational gags to out-and-out slapstick and dick jokes, is one that we haven’t really seen anywhere else online. I think it’s also (a) unique take on sci-fi because it isn’t set in either a glamorous shiny future, a bleak dystopian future or a world of constant references and parody. Everything in Ace’s world may be futuristic but it’s just as sh*t and run down as everything is in the present.”




TWITTER: @TruAceDiscovery