Rockne S. O'Bannon

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Rockne S. O'Bannon
Rockne S. O'Bannon 2013 (cropped).jpg
O'Bannon at the 2013 Comic-Con
Born (1964-01-12) January 12, 1964 (age 52)
Los Angeles, California, United States
Genre Science fiction, television, film
Notable works Farscape, Alien Nation, seaQuest DSV

Rockne S. O'Bannon (born January 12, 1964) is an American television writer, screenwriter and producer.[1] O'Bannon's five original television series (Farscape,[2] seaQuest,[3] Defiance,[4] Cult,[5] and Alien Nation[6]) have aired more than a combined 210 episodes over 13 seasons.[7] He's been nominated for Saturn Awards, a Hugo Award, and a WGA Award.

O'Bannon made his writing debut selling spec material to NBC's Amazing Stories[8] (1985) and CBS's The Twilight Zone[9] (1985), but first garnered critical attention for his film Alien Nation[6] (1988) and its subsequent spinoff television show. His next notable achievement was his original series seaQuest DSV[3] (1993) which ran for three seasons. The 1990s were filled for him by writing a series of original television movies including Invasion,[10] Creature, and Fatal Error.

One of O'Bannon's most critically acclaimed successes was the space epic Farscape (1999-2003) which ran for four seasons and spun off into a mini-series, a comic book series, and a film currently in development. Since Farscape, he's created the hit TV show Defiance (2013) and CW's Cult (2013). In 2013, two of his original series were on the air at the same time. He's also written and produced for Constantine, Revolution and V among others. O'Bannon prides himself on creating "unique experiences."



O'Bannon was brought onto ABC's reboot of V as a consulting producer and writer in late 2010 thorough early 2011. He worked in the writer's room for the second season but V wasn't renewed for a third, partially because of the show's high cost. Early in 2011, SyFy bought O'Bannon's pilot script for Defiance, and it went into production in June 2011. Part of Defiance's concept was combining a TV show with a massively multiplayer online developed by Trion Worlds Online. Beyond being the creator of the series, O'Bannon was originally slated to be the show-runner and executive producer. He stayed with the production for nearly 9 months, until it was announced the CW had placed a pilot order to make Cult in January of 2012. O'Bannon had originally sold Cult to WB back in 2005, but the series was dropped when the WB was merged with UPN to become the CW. With both of his projects slated to go on the air, O'Bannon chose to follow his longtime passion project that had been halted multiple times.

Cult went into production shortly after in February of 2012, and a season order was placed May 11, 2012. The entire 13 episode order was filmed at once. Cult initially aired on Tuesday nights, but only drew low ratings from the teen-centric network. The second half of the season was moved to Friday nights, where the ratings dipped further. CW canceled the series with 6 episodes remaining to air; they later released them, and the series is on Netflix. Meanwhile, on SyFy, Defiance ran for three seasons.




O'Bannon's career started in the mid 80's with an original script written for submission to ABC's Darkroom.[11] However, the show was canceled before his material got read. He followed it up by submitting that script to both the CBS reboot of The Twilight Zone and NBC's new anthology series Amazing Stories, where it received good reviews from both. However, it was CBS and The Twilight Zone that asked O'Bannon to pitch his script to them. They liked his pitch and subsequent rewrite so much that they quickly hired him as a staff writer. During his time on The Twilight Zone he wrote four episodes, served as the story consultant on six episodes, and the story editor on eighteen episodes. One notable episode he wrote is the "Wordplay" episode.

After the cancellation of The Twilight Zone, O'Bannon turned his efforts to a new project: Alien Nation. He created and wrote the original movie shortly after the cancellation of The Twilight Zone. Alien Nation was released in 1988 and marked O'Bannon's first foray into the feature world. Alien Nation was released nationwide and gained moderate success by grossing over $32 million in its initial release from 20th Century Fox. Although O'Bannon moved on from the series, it's worth noting that Alien Nation developed a cult following which has resulted in a television series, five television films, comic books, and fictional novels.

He spent the end of the 80's writing another feature: Fear, which he also directed. The film was originally intended for a theatrical release, but it was released instead on Showtime on July 15, 1990.

Early life[edit]

O'Bannon was born in Los Angeles. His father, Charles O'Bannon, was a career gaffer for over 30 years with Warner Brothers, and his mother, Sheila, was a dancer for MGM Grand before she became a housewife. He grew up tailing his father around the Warner Brothers backlot and reading scripts his dad would bring home for him. From a very young age he knew that his dreams lay in writing.

“I’d been writing passionately since I was ten years old. My very first screenplay was a television pilot – how prophetic. I was a huge fan of the spy series, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., which had spawned a spin-off that year titled The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. So my first screenplay was the pilot for yet another spin-off titled The Boy from U.N.C.L.E.”[11]

O'Bannon never received any formal higher education as he chose to begin working right out of high school. He continued writing numerous spec scripts in his free time and started submitting them to anyone who would accept them. He sold his first material to NBC's Amazing Stories, and the first episode of television he wrote appeared on the CBS reboot of The Twilight Zone in the mid-1980s.


Constantine 2014 TV series Writer (1 episode: "The Darkness Beneath"), Consulting Producer
Revolution 2013 TV series Writer (4 Episodes), Executive Producer (17 episodes)
Defiance 2013 TV series Developer, Writer (2 Episodes), Executive Producer (12 episodes)
Cult 2013 TV series Creator, Writer, Executive Producer (12 episodes)
V 2009 TV series Writer (1 episode: "Unholy Alliance"), Consulting Producer (10 episodes)
The Triangle 2005 TV miniseries Writer, Executive Producer
Farscape 1999 TV series Creator (81 Episodes), Executive Consultant (66 episodes), Executive Producer (22 Episodes)
seaQuest DSV 1993 TV series Creator (23 Episodes), Story/Teleplay (1 Episode)
Fear 1990 Film Director, Written By
Alien Nation 1989 TV Series Writer (characters - 18 episodes) (character - 4 episodes)
Alien Nation 1988 Film Writer
Amazing Stories 1985 TV series Writer (1 episode)
The Twilight Zone 1985 TV series Story Editor (18 episodes), Story Consultant (6 episodes), Teleplay (4 episodes), Written By (4 episodes)


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