About a week ago a package arrived in my post box from an unknown sender. Upon opening the package I was greeted with the three items shown in the above photograph: a “Sargasso Planet” branded t-shirt, hat and badge. The package arrived the day before I was moving house, so with the mystery in the back of my mind the box ended up being shoved in with all the other ones.
Today I pulled the box out again and was reminded about the mystery. There was nothing to identify the items in the box save a web address on the badge:
A quick visit to the web address made it immediately apparently, from the first sentence on the site, that the items related in some way to NBC’s new alien invasion series Day One.
The site is apparently run by one Zack Adamski, a name that just happens to be a character from Day One. Zack Adamski is played by Adam Campbell of Harper’s Island fame.
Back to Sargasso Planet. Adamski purports to be the sole owner of a set of figurines from an old television series titled Sargasso Planet. Of course, no one has ever heard of the series. Adamski says he’s on twitter, so I thought I’d take a quick look at his twitter account for any extra info, upon which I discovered an interesting article by Michael Hinman at Airlock Alpha. Hinman spotted Adamski’s figurines for sale at the San Diego-Comic Con and noticed that they were the most expensive items there – $147,000 (the same price he has advertised them on his site for). He tells an interesting story about what happens next (read it here).
This is shaping up to be one of the better, more mysterious viral marketing campaigns I’ve seen in a while (and I was already supremely interested in Day One following the amazing trailer). If you haven’t seen the trailer, watch it here.
Next up Adamski lists his Flickr address. A quick check there reveals a few behind-the scenes shots from the set of Day One and the following new image from the show:
Perhaps more interestingly, his Flickr account also contains concept art/model images of Sargasso figurines. Could these be rough sketches/models of aliens we can expect to see in the series? I’m thinking since a lot of attention is being given to them on his website, on his Flickr account, and at the San Diego Comic-Con, that they might just be. Check them out:
In the trailer it is hinted that there are at least two aliens that have come to Earth to help save it. One says: “I just want to save these people from suffering the way we did.” Later she also says to some of the surviving humans: “I chose each and every one of you. Together we’re going to save this world.”
But unlike the aliens depicted in the trailer, not all are human like. The following synopsis from the Sargasso Planet website makes that clear, reinforcing the speculation that the four figures above may also be aliens that come here to help (or hinder?):
For thousands of years, interstellar spacecraft have been crashing on a fog shrouded world with an irresistible gravitational pull — The Sargasso Planet. Alien crews that survive landing find themselves in a hostile environment with no chance of escape. For the most part, the myriad alien races who populate Sargasso Planet choose isolation over cooperation. But now, a new threat has come to their planet. A threat committed to the destruction of every living thing that inhabits this world. Will the planet’s residents put aside their physical and cultural differences and work together to defeat this seemingly omnipotent enemy? Or will they succumb to fear and self-interest, finding themselves united only in their own obliteration.”
Next, a quick search via Google for “Sargasso Planet” unveils that Sci Fi Scoop was not alone in receiving this mysterious package. SFSignal received one, as did io9, Pink Ray Gun, Quiet Earth and a host of others.
A couple of these sites point out that Sargasso is a seaweed. Further research shows Sargasso seaweed is found in the Saragasso Sea (a region in the middle of the North Atlantic). It’s genus is Sargassum. A search on the genus of Sargassum uncovers a wikipedia article that points out two interesting facts: one, that it is “particularly tenacious with fast growth rates, high reproductive rates and an ability to spread vegetatively” and two, that “the thick masses of Sargassum provide an environment for a distinctive and specialised group of marine animals and plants, many of which are not found elsewhere.”
This leads me to speculate that, just as the creators of Day One have previously said, the series is not a typical alien invasion. Rather, it seems evident by the branches growing in the trailer that the Earth has come under assault from a type of Sargassus space seaweed. Of course, it is the part about providing an environment for a distinctive and specialized group of animals/plants not found elsewhere that has me thinking there will be more than just the Sargassus to be dealt with. Earth may be about to become home to a new type of alien creature(s) that lives within the alien Sargassus weed. First, the weed arrives. Next, the aliens that live within it.
NBC President of Prime Time Entertainment Angela Bromstad more or less confirmed this with Sci Fi Wire. “It’s an alien invasion,” she said. “Not just a disaster. It’s an alien invasion.” Clearly the Sargassus weed is the disaster, and the alien invasion is what follows the disaster.
Whatever the truth is behind the mystery of Day One, this viral campaign is brilliant. It has potentially answered some questions about the premise that until now have been virtually unknown – and it has cleverly raised even more.
I was already looking forward to Day One. Now, even more so.