In the new television series, Ascension, the U.S. government launched a 1963 space mission sending hundreds of people on a century-long voyage to find a new home for humanity. In a Saturday afternoon panel in Room 6DE moderated by Adweek reporter Sam Thielman, cast and creators gave audiences an exclusive look at the mysteries that unfold in SyFy’s upcoming event series.

Participating in the panel were stars Tricia Helfer from Battlestar Galactica (Viondra Denninger), Brian Van Holt from Cougar Town (Captain William Denninger), Andrea Roth from Rescue Me (Juliet Bryce) and Al Sapienza (Councilman Rose) as well as executive producer Philip Levens.


Ascension is based on a true story. We apparently in our past had a competing space program called “Orion”.

Helfer was drawn to the parallels in the script to Battlestar Galactica, not necessarily with its stories, but its different layers. “It’s like peeling an onion. With every script we learn more.”

When asked what she brings to the show, Roth said, “my imagination”. She struggled to provide more of an answer due to her fear that she would say something about the show that she was not allowed to.

The cast finished shooting the first episode last night (Friday, July 25).

The sets are amazing and gigantic, according to Sapienza. Roth added, “They’re not like anything you’ve ever seen.”

Van Holt joked that there’s a lot of nudity in the show. (Nor really.)

To describe his favorites scenes, Sapienza would only say that he wants the captain’s job and his wife, so that should answer the question.

When asked what the first thing they would do when they finally got home from filming in Vancouver and coming to San Diego:

Helfer: Find each one of my cats and kiss them on their noses.

Roth: I will envelop my daughter and husband and then tend to the garden which he has inevitable neglected.

Van Holt: I’m gonna go to In & Out Burger, then jump in the ocean.

Sapienza: Memorize my lines for the next episode.

To hear them talk about Ascension, it sounds more interesting to me than the description I wrote above. It’s about a group of people who grew up on a spaceship and don’t know what has been happening on Earth: the Beatles, Watergate, etc. Many were born on the ship and will never meet another person than those who are already on it with them. Plus, there’s a murder mystery.

No real footage was available yet for the panel; however, two SyFy preview ads were shown. All together, it seems like a show I’ll enjoy watching. It has a compelling concept and a talented cast. Ascension will air in November.