Future Family Ties
Miles from Tomorrowland,
Disney Junior’s new series, on life in outer space. By Tom McLean.
has a heartfelt and emotionally realistic take through transportation technology and socially through engaging with alien life forms and cultures. The crew also includes Miles’ sister, tech-savvy computer coder Loretta, and Merc, a mechanical ostrich who is Miles’ best friend.
With 60 11-minute episodes in the first season, the canvas gave Paladino and his crew a lot of room to explore the themes of adventure, family and exploring different cultures into the show’s shiny sci-fi package.
Pets and Siblings
Miles’ relationships also are very important. Miles and Merc have a boy-and-his-dog bond, while Merc being a robot and a protector allows Miles to get into more perilous situations. Loretta also plays a key role as the brains to Miles’ brawn. The production worked with Google on the coding element of Loretta’s character. “It inspired me to write an episode in which Loretta writes computer code that helps her find a new planet,” says Paladino.
The show also has a NASA consultant who gives feedback on the scripts. “It’s always a balance of science versus focus on the story- telling,” Paladino says.
With Tomorrowland being a classic concept in the Disney oeuvre, stretching all the way back to the original conception of Disneyland, Paladino says he drew on the original inspiration and a modern take on it rather than any retro expression of it.
“In terms of the overall look, we wanted it to be really shiny and gleaming,” he says. “We were so inspired by going to SpaceX and NASA, because we saw what the future looks like.”
That led to concepts like “hard light” and an overall streamlined and modern design for the show and its depiction of technology. “We felt like there should be a really clean look to outer space, and I’ve been really happy with how that’s come out. It’s definitely been a process of trial and error; making things both useful and, hopefully, esthetically pleasing.”
But in the end, Paladino says it’s heart that powers the show.
“I think the biggest surprise is how hard it was to balance the action sequences, really exciting action sequences, with a really heartfelt family story,” says Paladino.