Pioneer One (2010) HD

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Video player

Please support this filmmaker

$93,369.01 raised so far.

Make a donation

This film is available to stream for free

Watch now
Pioneer One

A mysterious spaceship has entered Earth's atmosphere. A US Department of Homeland Security investigation has uncovered a live human being in a Soviet space suit in an unstable condition. A note in Russian, found at the crash site, claims the man is the child of cosmonauts living at a base on Mars.

Download Season 1 - All Episodes (720p Matroska)
Download Season 1 - All Episodes (Standard Definition Xvid)

Episode 6: "War of the World"

Download Episode 6 (720p Matroska)
Download Episode 6 (Standard Definition Xvid)

Taylor prepares to go to the public with Yuri's story, and everyone discovers the consequences of their actions in the conclusion to Pioneer One's first season.

Pioneer One is a serialized drama produced and distributed online through VODO and the DISCO network. Downloaded almost 2,000,000 times and winner for Best Drama Pilot at the 2010 New York Television Festival, the show is independently produced and financed by viewer donations.

Episode 5: "Sea Change"

Download Episode 5 (720p Matroska)
Download Episode 5 (Standard Definition Xvid)

When an unannounced visitor breaks in to the Calgary base with just days left in the Quarantine, tensions are at an all-time high. The fate of Yuri and everyone on Tom Taylor's team is about to be decided.

Episode 4: "Triangular Diplomacy"

As the media begins to question the story about the crashed satellite, Secretary McClellan starts to play hardball with the Russians in pursuit of his own truth. But everything hinges on what Yuri, the frightened boy at the center of it all, might have to say…

Download Episode 4 (720p Matroska)
Download Episode 4 (Standard Definition Xvid)
Download Episode 4 (Standard Definition Theora)

Episode 3: "Alone in the Night"

Quarantined to the Calgary base for two weeks, Taylor and his team have bought time to get answers from the supposed Martian cosmonaut. But who can get him to talk?

Download Episode 3 (720p Matroska)
Download Episode 3 (Standard Definition Xvid)
Download Episode 3 (Mobile/iPhone H.264)

Episode 2: "The Man From Mars"

Mars expert Dr. Zachary Walzer (Jack Haley) fights to prove the validity of the Mars story. Can he convince the government to mount a manned mission to Mars? Agent in charge Tom Taylor (James Rich) faces pressure from both the Canadians and his own superiors, and has to make a call.

Download Episode 2 (720p Matroska)
Download Episode 2 (Standard Definition Xvid)
Download Episode 2 (Mobile/iPhone H.264)

Episode 1: "Earthfall" (Pilot)

An object in the sky spreads radiation over North America. Fearing terrorism, U.S. Homeland Security agents are dispatched to investigate and contain the damage. What they discover will have drastic implications.

Download Episode 1 (720p Matroska)
Download Episode 1 (Standard Definition Xvid)
Download Episode 1 (Mobile/iPhone H.264)

The Pioneer One Team

In late January 2010, writer Josh Bernhard pitched his Untitled Mars Show idea to director Bracey Smith. In February, the pair quit their jobs and got down to work on the pilot episode of Pioneer One, finished by May with a budget of $6000. The enormous response to its release on VODO prompted them to continue producing the first season with viewer-donated support.
The Pioneer One team is based mostly in and around New York, NY. At its core is a group of filmmakers who met at the avant-garde cinema department at Binghamton University in Binghamton, NY. With P1, they've amassed an amazing group of talented performers and crew, all willing to work for free because of their belief in the project.

Pioneer One

  • At 22:04 on 14 Dec 2010

    Episode One: This 35-minute sci-fi pilot revolves around the discovery of an object from space, a lost cosmonaut and the U.S. government’s efforts to contain the situation. The production values are impressive given the low budget, and the scripting, acting and direction are solid. If you enjoyed the slightly talky but eerie Quatermass series, Pioneer One would probably be right up your alley.

  • At 19:42 on 23 Apr 2011

    Here’s a bold statement: episode three of Pioneer One may go down in history as one of the most program-revolutionizing episodes in a series, ever. In this episode we saw a complete gear shift – characters were fleshed out and brought to life in a hitherto unexplored fashion, giving far more depth to the show on the whole. The actors, whether under some adjustment of direction or simply achieving comfort in their roles, seemed to blossom and take a giant step forward towards achieving their potential. In some cases, such potential was revealed where it had previously not been clear. Before I go any further into my review, I must disclose two things. First, this review does contain spoilers, and I will not clearly label them. So if you have not yet watched it, stop reading and stream/download it now – then proceed. Second, unlike with the previous two episodes I was completely sober when watching this third installment. See? No need for an intervention. I have already lauded the character development and acting in this episode, and these elements will comprise the bulk of this review. Why? Because the story was not greatly advanced. Plot took a back seat to “getting to know you”, and this is more or less OK. The end result was an episode that was thoroughly engaging regardless. My only concern is that what plot was advanced seemed to be mostly sub-plot – and I would hate to see the primary storyline diluted by too much flotsam and jetsam. There was nothing inherently bad about these asides and incidentals. However, some struck me hit or miss. Some I am fairly certain will have a major impact on future episodes. Time will tell. One example of such hit or miss storytelling was the puzzling glimpse into Tom Taylor’s personal life. After a cursory and somewhat clumsy conversation between Tom and Dr. Walzer about Walzer’s failed marriage, Tom was suddenly desperate to escape quarantine to go to his rather impatient and mostly unlovable significant other to pop the question. No doubt this was intended to grip us, as it was left a cliffhanger, but it seemed so hastily thrown-together as to feel like a non-sequitur. I found myself not the least bit emotionally involved in the scenario. And while I’m speaking of Tom Taylor, let me state that while your mileage may vary, to me he went from being one of the most, if not the most, likable characters on the show to something of an unsympathetic dick. It’s the only character whose progression, in my opinion, ended up a regression. Case in point: in this episode he delivered the worst pep talk in history to a distraught Jane Campbell when she was doubting her suitability as companion to the stricken “Martian boy”, Yuri. His idea of motivation was to tell her, “Sure, there are tons of people who are better than you. But you’re the one we’re stuck with, m’kay?” Now, I have already pointed out that he seems unprepared and unsure of how to handle the situation in which he’s at the helm. Understandable. Maybe that sequence was intended to underline this. And, while I’m proposing excuses, maybe the whole rush-to-marriage-proposal thing was meant to illustrate how fed up he is with being in charge. Maybe his sudden desperation to escape quarantine was, whatever his ultimate motive for so doing, more or less symbolic of his need to escape the turn his life has suddenly taken. But at this juncture you may be asking yourself, unless you were good enough to watch the episode before reading this review, “Who is Jane?”. She’s a new character brought abruptly onto the scene to help keep Yuri company, and to perhaps elicit from him some intelligible responses to the inevitable onslaught of questioning to which he’ll be subjected when he’s recovered more. In a nutshell, she’s a nurse who’s experienced working with sick kids, and she happens to have a passable grasp of the Russian language. (Though this was never fully illustrated.) She is, quite simply, the most stunning element of the show thus far, and if the preview of episode four is to believed, she will (thankfully) play a much larger role in plot to come. She is well and believably acted, but more importantly, she’s identifiable and you cannot help but relate to her on any of a number of levels. And for my money the best scene in the entire series thus far is her attempt at storytelling, guiding the clearly frightened and suffering Yuri through a little good old-fashioned escapism. It wasn’t not the first time someone reached out to him with a personal touch – more on that in a bit – but it’s the most touching outreach. Combining a simple fairy tale with something I can only describe as interpretive dance (and this is the only time you’ll ever hear me mention interpretive dance in a positive light), she came across as graceful, almost ethereal, and you couldn’t help but fall in love. And, for what it’s worth, it was one of the least choreographed-looking dance sequences I can recall seeing in TV or film. The end result was a totally organic scene. Since we’re on the topic of reaching out to Yuri, let’s discuss the brief but important conversation Dr. Walzer had with the young lad. Walzer veered sharply from his Vizzini-esque path in this episode, becoming someone it’s possible to truly like. During his little chat with Yuri we saw a side of him that’s not yet been highlighted. We were given a chance to better understand what motivates him. And the show is better for having one of its central characters clearly explained. But that’s not the only case of “meet and greet” with already-established players. Remember the guy with the emo haircut? Turns out he’s not so much emo, but actually just a nerd, and a fun nerd, at that. (He never stood a chance at being hip; he was named after Adlai Stevenson.) Why it took three episodes to learn more about him I can only speculate – however, getting to know him brings about another layer of polish and greater chance of immersion to the series. Perhaps it’s coincidental that it was Jane who brought him out of his shell. Then again, maybe not. One last instance of character development, as well as a shining example of acting vastly improved from the previous episode, came in the form of the Canadian liaison, whose acting was stiff and actually distracting in episode two. In this episode, however, we were shown more of his character – a character who continues to assert his importance to Tom verbally, but more or less rolls over when told. And finally, this was brought to life with better-delivered dialog and body language. Hell, he even made a witty remark. A vast improvement. “Vast improvement” is actually the key phrase when it comes to the entirety of episode three. And considering Pioneer One was a solid show to begin with, that’s a feat. As I pointed out in my review of the first two episodes Pioneer One began with much room for growth. It has made good on its promise and grown. I am greatly looking forward to episode four and hope you’ll join me both in watching it when it’s released, and in reading my future reviews of the series.

  • At 16:42 on 15 Mar 2012

    Today we’re revisiting a series that I kinda gushed over last year. Since reviewing the pilot, Pioneer One has since been able to crowdfund five more episodes for six in total, they won the drama category for 2010′s NYTVF (and should’ve won pretty much everything else. Illuminati Brothers? Greg And Donny? Really?), and their first two episodes as of January 2011 received over 1.7 million downloads. So, for the equivalent of an hour-long television pilot, they had more viewers than either of the first two season premieres of Breaking Bad. According to their blog, it sounds like creator Josh Bernhard and director Bracey Smith are tiring of discussion over their novel distribution methods—hint: torrents are effective! I’ll skip that. Let’s talk the show itself. Are you watching it? You should be. You should be talking about it. When people say, “there’s nothing good on the web,” or “you can’t do drama on the web,” you point them directly to this series and you say, “shut up.” With each episode, small revelations, things that on the surface appear mundane, have major and lasting consequences. A single word near the end of Episode 4 (by this time, our running time is deep into TV Miniseries lengths) and with no shocked response, no intense musical cues, everything you thought about the series changes. Political intrigue is shown through devil-in-the-details moments, from using old immigration agreements and laws as ammunition for forcing the Russians into backing down to simply not answering the phone until they’re damn good and ready to buy time. Humanity shown through old clips of a character begging Congress for funding to go to Mars because “it’s the next step,” and the power of simple human contact for someone who may have never felt it before. We talk a big game about the web overtaking TV, about the creative freedom it provides. And while only a semi-full picture of its ratings are known for the first two episodes, less than 1,500 people have watched Pioneer One‘s fourth episode on YouTube, released on October 4th, 2011. You want us to overtake TV? You want to talk about how it can provide something that TV never could or would? Viewers are gonna have to do better than that. We’re going to have to have the balls to bring it up at the water cooler. We’re going to need to be willing to discuss it at least the way we would a Sundance film. We need to take the “just” out of “it’s just on the web.” When someone produces something that at its core stands up against anything on any medium, we as advocates for our particular medium better step up. Not just for a pilot. But continuous. I’m not going to lie — that Pioneer One‘s producers are unable to make this their full time, somewhat lucrative job pisses me off. Doubly so because I’m partly to blame. I forgot about them. I talked it up but I didn’t champion it. It was only through dumb luck talking with Marc a week or two ago that I was reminded about the series. They’ve made it on the summer issue of Moviemaker Magazine. They won best drama pilot in 2010 for NYTVF. I gave it a full on, no-strings-attached win review. What more do you want, a cookie for watching? Fine, I’ll start baking. We want great dramas on the web, ones that are independently made and don’t sink to the lowest common denominator? We only need to get up off our asses and watch and talk about the ones that’re already here to those who don’t necessarily watch series on the web. It’s entirely that simple.


Please login to post a comment.


on April 28, 2011 at 9:46pm

Great episodes guys :) I've had this on my hard drive for ages and I have finally decided to watch it. I'll seed until I get a 10:1 ratio


on April 29, 2011 at 4:08pm

10:1 HD
30:1 SD

I can't wait for the next episode, you've left it on a cliffhanger again!


on April 28, 2011 at 9:11pm

Grabbing now episode 4. What about english subtitles in order to translate them ?

Thanks anyway for episode 4 !


on April 28, 2011 at 9:17pm

Subtitles are on their way, we'll put up a link as soon as they're ready!


on April 28, 2011 at 9:27pm

Ok. Will work on it for french translation as soon as I can ;)

Thanks for the info and the episode !


on April 28, 2011 at 9:38pm

Here we go:


on April 28, 2011 at 10:40pm

Yeah ! Jump on it and starting translation for french speakers :)


on April 28, 2011 at 4:19pm

This series has a lot of potential, so I'd like to offer my encouragement to the production team. It certainly has an intriguing premise to draw the viewer in.

In the interests of making the show better, I have one key criticism. At the moment, I don't get a sense that each individual episode contains a sub-plot in itself. As far as narrative development is concerned, all of the emphasis appears to be on the larger ongoing story with each episode merely picking up where the last leaves off. I think it would be more rewarding for the viewer if each episode had a clear sub-plot unto itself that is set up and resolved within the half hour, while the ongoing story develops alongside that. In that way, a narrative pay-off is provided within each episode while still giving the viewer something to look forward to in the next installment.


on April 28, 2011 at 7:55pm

Thanks for the feedback! I think that each episode does have a subplot that's finds resolution by the end. In episode 2, it's essentially about Walzer proving his worth to Taylor. We contrast him with Clive, the other scientist, and Walzer is the one who figures out how to buy more time to investigate. Episode 3 sets up and resolves the issue of whether or not Jane is going to be able to get through to Yuri, plus the thread of Taylor wanting to get off the base for some unknown reason which we reveal at the end. And episode 4...well, wait a few more minutes and you'll see ;)


on April 27, 2011 at 10:56pm

Just want to mention that you made a big step forward with episode 3. It was much more intriguing than the first two episodes, though the side plot with agent Taylor and his proposal appeared a little bit artificial. And I would suggest to lengthen your episodes because 30 min. is awfully short. Perhaps you might want to go for 60 min.?
Otherwise, keep it up. I truly admire your commitment.


on April 28, 2011 at 7:57pm

There will be more elaboration on why Taylor did what he did in episodes to come that will place it in context.

And the issue of length, they're not *that* much shorter than standard hour dramas on network TV (usually clocking in at 41 min without commercials). The scripts were written with that running time in mind, but the style of the show has the actors go through the dialog very quickly. (And we end up cutting scenes.) Now that we have a better idea of how script translates to screen, episodes in the future will be closer to that mark.


on April 26, 2011 at 3:20am

Awesome work guys. I'm a budding African filmmaker and you guys are inspirational. You fund-raising strategy, project implementation and viewer participation platform is truly groundbreaking.

I wish i could help out with the donations, alas I cannot... but I'll do my part to spread the word and share "Pioneer One" with all my networks.

I would suggest that you might also want to develop a site where you can share your insights into the process of story development to filming to post production. As I think that there are many of us that would value such a learning experience. If not, perhaps you can reply with a few links to websites that have helped you and which you think might be great edutainment.

Keep up the great work.


on April 27, 2011 at 3:28am

Thanks Ransakjack! We really appreciate the support. We do discuss the making of the show and our learning curve in our video blogs (, on our website (, and in our episodic commentary tracks. If you have more ideas for how you'd like to see us share our behind-the-scenes experiences, please let us know.

(Also, am interested in hearing about your experiences as a filmmaker in Africa. If you're willing, drop me an email at [email protected])

zefram cochrane

on April 23, 2011 at 1:30pm

i think episode 4 is the best, trust me, it is very very good!
it will be released on april, 28.


on April 23, 2011 at 10:03am

really enjoying this. Episode 3 is also best :)


on April 22, 2011 at 4:05pm

I don't suppose anyone would care to explain how the donations chart suddenly went to over $40000, then went right back below $20000 (which I seem to recall it has already passed once, but I'm not quite sure about that), would you guys...? Was that just a glitch in the Matrix or what?


on April 22, 2011 at 8:44pm

It seems there was a glitch on the back end. Contact the VODO team for the details: [email protected] This is the accurate count now, I believe.

Crash Underride

on April 22, 2011 at 8:49am

This is honestly one of my more favorite shows. I want to thank ALL of you that make it. It's AMAZING!!!


on April 18, 2011 at 7:50pm

This is one of the best new shows I've seen in a long time. Keep up the great work!

Also, I noticed in the Playstation Network store that they now offer some independent online only series. have you guys thought about contacting Sony, Netflix or anyone else to do something similar? ( I have no idea what it costs, if anything to do something like that). I just thought it would be another way to get people to watch the series.


on April 17, 2011 at 9:33pm

I wish you guys wouldn't use Homeland security as the authority on extraterrestrial contact. what dose an organization hunting down their versos of low level terrorist like G. Gordon Lindy and others that support the constitution.

DHS has no one that can logically investigate a spaceship from a faraway planet making first contact with us. you should have an episode that transfers DHS's authority to NASA. One more thing DHS is a relatively young department and America did well without it for two centuries and we can do well without DHS for another 100 centuries.

Think critically friends or others will for you.


on April 15, 2011 at 4:48am

I'm really enjoying this. Thanks guys. Posted links on the local scifi society so hopefully you'll get some more hits. Though I had to stop seeding because Transmission threw a wobbly about me moving the files :(

I think it's getting better each episode. Especially in filming quality. The pilot was a little bit like a school project. Though I do think scifi should look and feel cheap. The big studios willl never get that, and think that we want bigger and better CGI and effects. Nah. Good story, preferably thought provoking, and one or two things to moan about :)


on April 13, 2011 at 3:52am

I found episode 3 to be a huge letdown. Basicly half an hour (plus all the waiting) to find out they can possibly find where the parents are, if they are alive.

I appreciate the grass roots type effort here, but there are problems that limit an average tv goer from watching this. First, a lot of the acting is pretty bad. Especially the canadian soldier, also the mars guy. The video is pretty decent looking to me, but the audio sounds terrible and is slightly off on the divx version in parts.

I don't want to write a huge negative article, because there are positives to this series. Unfortunatly to me they do not outweigh the flaws in my eyes.


on April 15, 2011 at 3:07am

I disagree with you. I find this subtle pace adds fits perfectly the ambiance that makes this series so different and attractive. I love the non heroic characters and the very low maintenance / glitter / budget sets and location. This series is pure sci-fi without the overdose of Hollywood FX and supernatural / monsters. I don't need answers and solution to come quickly / easily in every episode, I prefer much more a story that remains believable by sticking to normal behaviour from normal people character.


on April 12, 2011 at 8:08pm

Russian subs are almost complete for Episode 3. Will make corrections in timing tomorrow, sorry for delay.


on April 12, 2011 at 5:02am

Episode 3 is the best one, waiting to see what happens next ;)


on April 11, 2011 at 1:39am


I just happened upon this thru random searching. I`m hooked. For months I`ve been ranting on about Film Remakes and Hollywood not having any originality. And I find this, ORIGINAL work of genius. Though it does kind of remind me of early X-files. Not entirely a bad thing though!!!

I agree there isn`t alot of movement in it, but, I`ve still sat here and watched the first 3 episodes. You can definately feel the actors are getting more comfortable in their roles and with the story.

I`ll definately be sharing this with my scifi hungry friends and looking forward to the next installment.


on April 09, 2011 at 8:49pm

thanks for the subtitles

zefram cochrane

on April 16, 2011 at 9:47pm

you're welcome ;)


on April 08, 2011 at 2:02pm

It's really frustrating waiting for a new episode this long and seeing so little movement in the story.

I'm no expert filmmaker so I'm in no position to criticise but as a viewer I am kind of lost now. Like SMOKEPETE said we can't really empathise with what taylor did because we know so little about him. Nice effort trying to build suspense but it just left viewers confused.

Please in the future try to extend the story line in the episode. And some action would certainly. Of course this show isn't the mission impossible kind of thing, but this is homeland security, there has to be some excitement. The next episode looks like it has more of that so I am still hopeful.

I love Pioneer One but to gain a larger audience you need to work on it some more, especially since there is so much time in between episode releases.


on April 06, 2011 at 9:22pm

Hooked me on episode 1. Episode two was okay. Episode 3 has me wondering where this is going.
I love the concept, but the pacing is starting to make me a bit weary. This series shouldn't devolve into an action flick, but there has to be more intrigue. Maybe some infighting between bureau chiefs who want to take over the investigation - you know, like in real life? Add some tension. You'd think Yuri would be a bit more agitated, or talkative or something. It has to be more than tired suits sipping coffee in darkened offices. This critique is from someone who has donated to the project.


on April 06, 2011 at 2:46pm

The series keep getting better and I hope the concept catches on! I think this sort of thing funded by ads on home and episode pages(plus donations to start) is the future of SIFI TV! Most of us nerds are use to paid adverts on the side of the page that we download the latest episodes of our regular shows from(or do any thing web based!)!
Remember all the series that have had huge fan following, that have been canceled because the funding network has not understood or found the right time slot for it. Their is a history of fans paying for web sites to try an save shows.
PIONEER ONE are the pioneers of the future of viewer focused fiction! Good luck to all involved!

Latest donations

Make a donation