So, I’ve just finished watching the best new show of 2005, one which will likely never be broadcast or see film beyond the pilot episode. That show is ‘Global Frequency’, based upon the comic book by Warren Ellis and a broad swath of illustrators.
‘Global Frequency’ is the name of an underground group that exists to save lives – from terrorist threats, leftover Cold War engines-of-destruction, biohazards and acts of God.
The Global Frequency is an ad hoc collection of 1,001 specialists – soldiers, linguists, scientists, engineers and doctors – the best at what they do, who make themselves available in times of crisis.
Since I’m just the kind of comic book geek that’ll pick up almost any new title written by people with the surname Ennis, Bendis, Vaughn and Straczynski, I checked this series out sometime last year. There were only 12 issues in the book’s entire run, and the sum of them has already been collected in two trade paperbacks.
While I was already a fan of the comic, I was fully unprepared for the impact of the pilot and seeing the roles of Aleph and Amanda Zero being performed by live actors, much less Aimee Garcia (Aleph) and the inestimable Michelle Forbes (Miranda Zero).
The writing in the pilot episode was so good – too good, in fact – I can see why the WB, patron network to teenage soap-opera, passed on it. The show is too good, too real, too prescient.
At the front-end of the pilot episode, a log-line that reads as follows: “There are rumors of a conspiracy called the Global Frequency. A group of spies, experts and ordinary people. They save us from the threats that no one else sees or understands.”
As the drama of the next 45 minutes played out, I was simultaneously exhilarated and filled with dread, as the last 5 years the world has become a more dangerous place, and the powers that exist to make the world a safer-place – from the UN down to the US – have been either eroded or corrupted beyond recognition.
Unfortunately, that’s the climate in which we now live. Ennis’ mythical ‘Global Frequency’ organization – an extra-national confab that answers to no single government – exists to combat the evil that tends to erupt in the real world, from genocide on down to natural disaster. The US which used to be a force for good no longer really exists, which makes the consequence of this show not being commisioned the greater tragedy.
I’m not one for believing in the ‘power’ of popular culture, but Frequency is a show which we need – now – if only to remind ourselves of our capacity for decency.
If you have any geek-hacker-fanboy friends who have access to this program, I implore you to get a copy of this show and see it.