Since our foundation in 2020, Pacer1 has only released our stories across three different platforms. We’ve done very little promotion on platforms other than the most-common social media websites, and part of what stopped our usage of those to spread awareness about Pacer1’s existence is the types of audiences that are attracted to those places of online gathering. Our participation with “TuesdaySerial” allows us to spread the word of our existence to an audience that actively looks to engage with the content that we produce.
To be clear, I am only one man. Hello, my name is Zachary Serra. I founded Pacer1 as an umbrella project term to refer to the various serial fiction stories that I release. When I use pluralised terms such as “our” and “we”, it is because I view myself and the project as distinct things that- whilst directly connected to each other- serve very different purposes. We have never had quite the successful reach in our short history in the way that we’ve had it with the new traffic that’s come in due to our participation with “TuesdaySerial”, and understand that some people visiting our site may not be used to the way in which Pacer1 operates. I’d like to take a moment out of my day now to explain Pacer1 to those that are just joining us.
Pacer1 is the ‘brand name” or “pen name” that I release my various web serials under. I, Zachary Serra (how’s it going?), am the man that pens these various series that are released under the Pacer1 banner. These stories are various and plenty, and they have been releasing new episodes since January 2021. We’ll get to those stories in just a second, but what you need to know about me most is the following. I was born in the United States and am actively attempting to earn the ability to take permanent residency in Canada. In the early seasons of my stories, I used the American spelling of the English language and more commonly referred to things like distance in the forms of ‘feet’ and ‘yards’. In later seasons of almost all series- especially the ones that are set up in Canada- I refer to distances in ‘metres’ and ‘kilometres’. In addition to these changes, I began adapting the more European spelling of the English language, and therefore would spell words differently than the way most Americans recognise them to be. Instead of using the terms ‘color’ and ‘center’ in such a spelling, I would opt for ‘colour’ and ‘centre’ as I transitioned to a more widespread system of English spelling. This change also applies to the way in which I have dated releases over the years. This year is the first year in which I use the dating format of ‘day-month-year’ instead of the American alternative. I understand this may be an oddity when reading my material, so I’d like to clarify that. I will divulge my literary ideology after I address the way in which these stories operate.
When I say that I write a ‘variety’ of different stories, I’m not being facetious. I write dramas, dystopias, thrillers, survivals, written-mockumentaries, period newsroom sagas, mysteries, horrors, criminal actions and more as the years continue. If you have trouble finding a specific series to read, I would suggest going to the ‘stories’ tab on our website, and looking through the multitude of thumbnails (each new season of a series gets a new thumbnail) that are used to advertise that season’s worth of material to readers. If the thumbnail you like most represents a later season of a specific series, I’d welcome you to go back to the first season and begin reading from there. At the end of every year, the website’s front page is updated to cycle through the thumbnails of seasons that will premiere after the new year comes and goes.
Every new year of releases with Pacer1 is referred to as a ‘slate’ of releases. We release new episodes of stories at 5am EST on Saturdays and Sundays. When a season finale of one story airs on a Saturday for example, there will be two or three straight Saturdays without a new episode released before the season premiere of a completely different season begins the process of new Saturday releases all over again.
Every Pacer1 series is released in the form of seasons. If the season premiere of a series happens to be on a Saturday, then the second episode will be released the following Saturday. This process will continue, and new episodes of that series will continue to premiere every Saturday, until that series releases its season finale. That two-to-three week break will proceed before a new series premieres its own season, and takes over releasing new episodes every Saturday instead.
All-in-all, a season for any specific Pacer1 series will typically consist of only ten episodes. Which means, for ten straight weeks, a new episode of that series will debut exactly as advertised. I prepare my stories and schedule them to release well in advance, so as we are amidst our 2023 slate of releases as of this moment, there’s a good chance that the episodes premiering now were already written and proofread around the first half of 2021. I like to make sure I’m well ahead of schedule so you know that, when I advertise a new episode for a series... You can guarantee that it will come out exactly when I say it will. This ‘ten episode season’ rule doesn’t typically apply to two specific stories... Rise and its spin-off, RISE and REVOLT. Every new season of Rise will contain eleven episodes at the very least, and every new season of RISE and REVOLT will contain twelve episodes in specific.
If you begin following a show, I would strongly insist that you keep up with this website as often as possible and you make your appreciation for that story incredibly noticeable. I can- and have- cancelled stories if they don’t have enough traction to warrant making new episodes of them, because I do not make money from this platform. Because of this, I have to view my time as a currency, and if a story doesn’t have as much of a vocal fanbase as another, I can’t justify using that time to make the lesser-followed story, when I’d have a better opportunity of attracting readers to a whole new premise all together. I encourage you to review these stories on YouTube or your own websites and cultivate a following if you like these stories. Does that help me immensely? Yes. But it also guarantees that- if you, the reader- find a story that you really enjoy reading, there will be a strong chance I keep it going until it reaches a natural, series finale-warranting conclusion. And by all means, say whatever you feel about them. I may be just a few months distanced from having turned 23, but under no circumstances am I afraid of criticism. If there are elements of my writing that you think I can or need to improve, I want you to make that clear. One of the issues that was raised to me in the writing process of the remastered first season of Rise was that I didn’t have enough character-to-character dialogue. I took that criticism, and I centred a ton of my focus on the dialogue of my characters moving forward. If you think a story is horrible for any reason, feel free to say it. Will I be over the moon to be criticised? Of course not. But will I shy away from it? Hell no. Are there things that I’ll defend about my writing or the ideology that I carry when approaching a story? Certainly. But am I also open to being wrong or in need of improvement out of the simple fact that I’m not perfect? Absolutely. I will not issue takedowns or send bot-like mercenaries after you for criticising my writing. So please, do not fear that I will retaliate out of some misplaced sense of self-righteousness. And please note that- if a story begins gaining traction as far as the growth of its fanbase after it's already been cancelled, enough collective support from followers of that story can certainly persuade me to revive it. Never give up on a cancelled series that you like, because I am absolutely open to reviving a previously-cancelled series if there is an audience vocal enough to convince me it’s worth bringing back.
To send us links or make us aware of your reviews, criticisms, fandom or whatever else... Tag us on Instagram posts (our account is @officialpacer1), send us links to YouTube videos (firstname.lastname@example.org) and you can also pledge to support us on Patreon (patreon.com/officialpacer1) Please be wary that- whilst we have one- we do not interact with people through our Twitter account (also @officialpacer1) because we do not use that platform as of early 2021. Our YouTube page can also be found at (youtube.com/@officialpacer1) where we release our stories in the form of audiobooks. Our process of “Pacer1 Archives” releases episodes of stories in audiobook form roughly two years after their original airdate. For future updates about when a series’ earlier episodes are slated to be released from the Archives on YouTube, follow our Instagram account and our website.
At the end of every year around December, I post a ‘State of Pacer1’ under the ‘Author’s Desk’. That runs over some of the updates to every season that was released that year- both of stories that get renewed and cancelled- and goes a little further into detail about each. Before that and throughout the year, I will periodically come up with verdicts on the fates to various stories’ futures and announce them on the website and on our Instagram account. If a story is cancelled, I will explain my reasoning in the ‘State of Pacer1’ address, and explain my future plans with different stories if they were instead renewed for new seasons. In that same address, I may explain some details about new stories that I intend to premiere on Pacer1 the following year, and I will also announce at what specific times in the following year that these stories will be released. Whilst I have yet to use the practise, there are also instances in which I will ‘annual’ a series. The ‘annualing’ of a series is a practise that indicates I have renewed that specific series, but the new season of that series will not be released in the following year. For example, if I had ‘annualed’ Rise in 2021 after its third season, then I would’ve gone into 2022 without scheduling a new season of Rise, and would’ve instead prepared the fourth season to premiere in 2023. It’s best to think of an ‘annualing’ as skipping a year before releasing a series’ next season. One reason to use this practise would be to avoid running multiple stories for a final season in the same year. Instead, one series would be ‘annualed’ to the following year, and would air its final season the year after the series it was initially going to end alongside had already run their final season. This avoids me having to be forced into a place where I have to come up with two new concepts for one calendar year instead of just one.
Remember, I am just one man. In 2023 alone, I am releasing eight different story concepts. That means eight different sets of entirely-unique characters, eight different groups of plotlines, eight different genres (or a little less, give or take a spin-off) and I am doing so constantly. I don’t blame you for thinking that’s insane, but it’s true nonetheless. I write ten pages of material every single day. Every episode runs the length of about ten pages, so- in theory- I’m writing a new episode every single day. Sometimes, I’ll write even more than that because I like to. I’m not sure I can explain in satisfying detail how I’m able to keep track of all these characters and where I want them to fit in a story, I just kind of am. If every season spans ten episodes and I’m releasing eight new seasons of material, that means I’m writing eight new seasons of material on an average of every eighty-plus days. So, I can- also in theory- crank out an entire year’s worth of seasons in just under three months. I don’t know what to say- I set the bar high and it got easier to meet the longer that I did it. A five page paper is now a cakewalk that I can knock out in an hour or so. I’m not trying to brag or anything, I’m just familiar with the doubt that surrounds my claims. I’d live stream myself and my writing process every day for you to see if I wasn’t writing seasons multiple years in advance- the concern of spoiling things you’ve yet to even read would be too daunting. Nevertheless, it’s a safe guarantee that you’ll be getting your new episodes on time.
I write these stories because I enjoy writing them. As much as I’d love to make a fortune from writing, the creative integrity of what I write is of my primary interest. I will not release a season of material simply because it would make me money. I will not hesitate to kill off a popular character simply out of fear of losing readers for example. If the plan was always to send that character off in order for the story to progress, I apologise for the cold-hearted approach, but that fan-favourite is ending up amidst their slumber with the fishes. You may hate that, but I’d rather be respected for keeping to the spirit of a story than be liked because I let the popular people live past their expiration date in the series. I’d love to find communities growing with the centre of their interests being my material, but I will not sacrifice the material of each story in exchange for it. I write these stories, and I interact with them and attend to them, out of good faith. I would greatly appreciate that- even if you must criticise my writing, the way in which I approach characters or storylines, or any decision I make to a series overall- you understand that I take genuine and incredible care in all of them. I do not wish to insult the spirit of my stories, and I do not wish to leave any of you with the idea that I would. At the very least, I’d ask that you respect that.
On the pages to each of my stories, there is a warning about their intended audiences being those of the ‘mature’ variety, and that viewer discretion is advised. There is colourful language used in every one of my stories, as I don’t subscribe to the idea that there are any words off limits from being used. Any word that has ever been uttered has been spoken for a reason, and- though the level differs- there is a level of importance to each and every single one of them. Curse words are used frequently, and dependant on the character or the circumstances regarding a character, so are words that would otherwise be looked down upon by the greater public without issuing context. You will not find- at least as of this moment- warnings for specific words or topics depicted in these episodes. Whilst I do not want to come across as insensitive to the varied experiences of my audience, I am also not in the business of sterilising the material of my stories so that those interacting with them are free of worry. I do not wish to insinuate that not being able to handle the depiction of specific scenes or usage of specific words indicates that you, the reader, are “immature”. However, if graphic scenes of select violence, or the usage of less-than-suitable terminology is greatly upsetting to you, I do wish to make clear that you are not mature enough to read my stories without concern. I wish you well on your way, and hope you find a Pacer1 of your own that can suit your interests more accurately.
With that said, the tagline for Pacer1 is that it’s “Where Stories Matter” for a reason. With major companies like Netflix and Disney pushing shows hand-over-foot and the box office being dominated by reboots and sequels, it’s beginning to feel like audiences are being starved of original material. I have borrowed inspiration from other series ranging from HBO’s The Newsroom to NBC’s Siberia in my own right, but I’ve done everything in my power to offer something entirely original and unique. I greatly value telling stories with the use of Pacer1 and would love to find an audience of devoted readers and a little bit of monetary success as a result of that. However, being able to follow through on my creative ventures through the use of Pacer1 is rewarding enough. Pleased readers that enjoy my material is a plus, earning what would be the equivalent to a living wage is a plus, and especially helping to assist in the progression and the potential widespread appeal or popularity of the web serial format would also be a plus. I thank you for taking the time out of your day to hear me out in all of this, and really hope you follow through on looking through our ever-expanding library of content that, in all likelihood, you’re bound to find something worth reading from.
- Zachary Serra.
*Spoilers lie ahead for the first two seasons of RISE and REVOLT.
Rise and REVOLT - Season 1: A invitation to ask the question "What happens when you stick the youth in an environment stricken with chaos?"
It is rather fitting that the series opens up in a rather normal manner, thrusting characters that readers already know through their familiarity with Rise into a world of normalcy that will inevitably crumble just as it had in the parent series. I wanted to make it a point to distance the series as far away from the New England areas of the continental United States, because I wanted to present readers with an environment completely new to them from the parent series, as well as a concept and direction of the overall story they'd never received before. The first season of RISE and REVOLT as I had intended it to be was born out of the question that I had presented myself with a few years after leaving high school. If I went back and found myself in a circumstance similar to Lou, how would I have turned out? How would those that I knew have turned out in comparison?
From there, RISE and REVOLT was born. There are times where I write a story with a very strict set of events in mind, characters that I wanted to impact the story in specific ways and people that I wanted to interact with the story itself in a manner unlike their contemporaries. Other times, I'll simply start with a premise and see where the series naturally concludes from there. In other circumstances, I present something to myself like RISE and REVOLT. I'll ask myself a question, try to answer it to the best of my abilities, and present those answers and results in the route of different characters as I build a world around that question. In many ways, if you find yourselves wondering why- in spite of it being a direct spin-off of Rise- RISE and REVOLT feels drastically different, it's because I took a different route with the series from each other. With Rise, I simply placed characters in a chaotic world such as the post-apocalyptic world that both series experience, but with RISE and REVOLT, I built that chaotic world and fit characters into it with the specific intention of answering the question I asked earlier- what would happen if a group of high school seniors were dropped into the world of Rise?
Through the first season, I presented readers with the answer. People like Ally and Lou would naturally adapt, and some would follow suit based on how well-equipped they were to evolve with a world such as their own. Others would evolve in different ways, and find themselves less adapt or more so to deal with what others may or may not struggle with. Others may be incapable of changing with the world, and others may not be given much of a chance at all. The world of Rise is brutal, and unlike the parent series- I think RISE and REVOLT displays that truth perfectly.
I was very pleased with the turnout of characters in the first season, where they were able to change fundamentally and show growth in spite of the entire season taking place inside of one fixed location. The rationale behind why some characters succeeded and why some failed was illustrated- in my opinion- incredibly well. As someone that had always gone with the motion of the ocean, it made sense that Lou would not only become a leader figure in the group, but would adjust to the changing world the most naturally. With someone like Fink, it made sense why she would be amongst the first to fall- so caught up in the world she wanted in spite of the change it had approached her with, and the inability to change with it even within its earliest moments. And of course, the hybrid of the two shown in Vinny- someone that felt the same earth-shaking change as Fink had, but ultimately adapted with time in spite of the way his story came to a conclusion.
More than many may perhaps expect, Vinny's death at the end of the first season proved- and still proves- to be crucial to the development of the survivors throughout the series' duration. His ability to show up when needed and ultimate selflessness to sacrifice himself in favour of helping his group make it out of the second breach of the undead at the end of the first season completely changed the way most of the then-students had reacted to the world. For one of the few first times in the series, they were left without direction or hope. They'd watched yet another friend die, and now they were left without their home. As we entered the second season, it became even more clear that they had nowhere else to turn, with the discovery of Terry's neighbourhood being empty- they realised they were truly on their own as they had always assumed. As ironic as it was, the congratulatory message over the radio amidst their escape from the burning rubble of their school at the end of the first season gave them a lesson at the most-necessary moment- there's always something else to fight toward.
Without a home and without a number of the friends they had initially survived the first wave of undead beside, the group was left without hope in the event that the S.S. Euronam's message never reaches them, and their rudderless existence may have only persisted to even more worrisome consequences. However, as we entered the second season, the group was tested with the true lengths of the apocalypse they'd yet to see the true aftermath of.
RISE and REVOLT - Season 2: Where the Students were allowed to become Survivors.
Something about me that you probably don't realise is that I have been very critical of the American educational system in many ways, both through what I've said publicly and what I've implied through my stories. I look at the way in which students are held back from reaching their true potential as a massive hinderance, and that fitting them into a finite curriculum withholds them from becoming more than they're forced into the mould of. In the second season, I wanted to free my characters from the restraints of that system in every way and look at how they may naturally evolve when allowed to exist as themselves. Looking back, it's quite fitting that such an evolution was offered to them the moment they placed the school in their rear-view mirror, as it wasn't initially an irony I had written into the story.
However, once aboard the S.S. Euronam, the group stopped being a mass of young adults and came together as a unit, trying to understand the complexities of people and their surroundings. Losing an arm, Lou was allowed to become his own person without the restraint of his parents, teachers or adults telling him exactly what he needed to be, something that he was perhaps the most vocal opponent to. Ally, Jenn, Halston, Terry and Jules followed much the same suit and took direct guidance from Theo, Lee and Elsie. Throughout the second season, even in spite of running away from the problems of the undead on land, the group faced their biggest issues head on- the result of their actions and the consequences of trusting the wrong people. In many ways, being ripped apart at the season's conclusion was what the survivors needed- a way of testing themselves in an environment where they alone get to declare the rules and follow only what they believe to be worth following. This self-dependence is the most natural way of figuring out exactly who they are supposed to become in a world as liberated as Rise's.
But for the first time, the series sets itself up to have a protagonist in more than just name. Throughout the series, Lou has always been the centre of an ensemble cast, but that ends in the third season. At the end of the second, he is the only one left alone. Washing up on the shoreline of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, the rest of his group is split between two different sides of the aisle- Lee with the masse of survivors he'd led off the Euronam amidst it's descent below the waves, and everyone else aboard a lifeboat en route for the mainland. For the first time, Lou faces the real world for what it is- a world that left society behind and abandoned principles in favour of letting its people fend for themselves whilst targeted by the relentless force of the undead.
RISE and REVOLT - Season 3: A Soft Reset on the Series.
In the third season of the series, RISE and REVOLT will focus less on action, more on character development, and more on the drama between survivors as a whole. Questions will be asked throughout the duration of the series, and they will gradually be answered one at a time. Lou will officially become the series' protagonist as a new cast of characters are introduced. Lou's development as a survivor and as a human being will be on full display in a third season that will burn slowly and sit satisfyingly amidst the series' chronology, and a cast of characters- all vast in their approach to this new world- will leave readers sinking their teeth into.
RISE and REVOLT's third season premieres on the 26th of May 2023.
Warning: Spoilers contained for the original two seasons of Rise prior to Pacer1, spoilers contained for the Rise: Remastered (though none I'm sure you'd mind hearing), and spoilers contained for Season 3 and Season 4 of Rise that you'd probably rather not hear.
Welcome to the State of, a new series that I hope to hold after the seasons to each series come to a close in order to provide insight into the direction- both past and future- of the series being discussed. Today, I want to address the latest two seasons of Rise and what to expect moving forward as we not only enter the fifth season of the series, but also reunite it with its first two seasons. Before we talk about anything relative to the series' future, let's first begin with addressing the past and why the series not only launched on Pacer1 with the start of the third season, but why it nearly died before Pacer1 ever launched.
The Earliest Years of Rise
Premiering in December 2018, the original incarnation of the series spent little time in throwing readers into the post-apocalyptic world of Rise. Beginning with the introduction of protagonist John Callis, his wife Jessica and their only child, and infant daughter named Amy, Rise takes place in a small Connecticut town just as the outbreak responsible for creating the sickening monsters referred to as zombies throughout the series was beginning to take shape. Along the way, readers are made privy to existence of many other characters present throughout the duration of the series, with its first season running for eight episodes.
Notable for only chronicling the events of the first outbreak's first two days, the first season lacks a lot of depth that could provide crucial information to the world it takes place in, instead skipping six months into the future with the premiere of the second season. Beginning with John Callis already appointed to the position of overseeing daily operations within the New World Order, the series' follow-up installment inevitably sees the compound fall to the strength of outside forces. In addition to betrayal and inside-information being leaked, the second season concludes with a drastically different picture of where the stories would take onward. Concluding with the fall of the New World Order and the deaths of some main characters, the second season was chosen to be left behind when the series made the jump onto the Pacer1 platform.
Though it was never written into existence, the third season of the original series would have seen the cast split off into various different, much smaller groups. Some being located north of the American border whilst others would remain close to the original settlement the New World Order had once served as, the third season would have seen the beginning of a series-long travel to reunite as one group. It is this third season that I am glad never saw the light of day.
In addition to suffering from twists I would now see as nonsensical and a poor attempt at providing shock value to a series devoid of true depth, the second season finale especially was one of my most self-critiqued creations yet. The entire sixteen episode slate that comprised the original seasons were written so poorly and with such amateur touch that it would be a sharp contrast from even the earliest material produced by Pacer1- material that, for all its strengths, I deem to be far inferior to the material that the project has still yet to publish. It didn't read like a story, but rather like a poorly strung-out plot synopsis for a television show- truly inexperienced, deeply flawed, and horribly thought out. It was in writing the remastered versions that I took pleasure in knowing that- when the time came where I could legally get away with it- I never had to let those seasons see the light of day once more.
But why could I not legally get away with re-releasing the first two seasons even if I wanted to? Why did I launch Rise with a radically-different third season than the one initially written? The answer is because of another project that I choose not to name. In the time since the original run of Rise, the business seems to no longer be operational. It's not hard to find what the group is if you were to look hard enough, but I personally choose not to spend any moment of my time further than what I already have on them and their operation. Rise, however, was originally written to be released on platforms that they oversaw. It carried the project's name, was made available through their channels and I was not willing to work with them any longer than I already had at some point. In addition to requesting my departure from the project, the individuals in the highest positions of the business chose to do what they could to not only prevent me from writing Rise or Rise-related content under my own banner, but prevent Rise from existing in the first place.
For a specific period of time, I was not legally able to provide additional material to the franchise. If not for perseverance and a well-timed pandemic taking their attention to more-crucial aspects of their operation, Rise would never have made its way to Pacer1. In addition to this, I would not have been able to explore perhaps the most in-depth world I've created to date under any circumstances. RISE and REVOLT would not exist, the characters throughout the series would have never seen redemption from their poorly written origins, and the series itself would be left dead in the water. However, fate took a different turn as far as the series' luck would turn out, and because of that- Rise currently releases a new season ever year under the Pacer1 banner.
With that, I'd also like to admit that I made plenty of mistakes when initially writing the series. It was the only series that I was releasing during the time, and I planned on releasing a new eight-episode season every six months. Not only was I not a good enough writer at the time to make that work, but I had no clue where I actually wanted to end the series outright. I'll take this time to completely spoil what my original intentions for the series were going to be considering they absolutely do not matter any longer.
In addition to having Jack O'Rourke align himself with the antagonists at the end of the second season, I would have seen Tyler lose his arm at the bloodthirst of the 'Scavengers". Reggie would have gotten his own spin-off after leaving the group following Shauna getting bitten, the characters I had originally conceived in the short run 2017 series "Deathly, Sickly, Dead" would have paired with John, and the others would have been scattered elsewhere. Eventually, John would have been killed and Jessica would have gone out in search of Charlotte. After redeeming himself, Jack would have been killed by someone that I never made my mind up over, but was probably Tyler- and the series would end with Jess killing Charlotte. Like I said, I was not good enough to pull off what could have been a respectable premise. The series was not well-written, but I also knew that the day would come where I'd need to finish the literal start of the series, which is when I decided to begin work on Rise: Remastered.
Rise - Season 3: Where it Gets Complicated
In addition to a new font and an admittedly badass promotional poster for the series' release, the third season of Rise found itself earning something other than the Pacer1 connection with the release of its third season- better fuckin' writing. Honestly, you would've thought I'd gotten off drugs between writing the original second season of the series and the third season of the now-canonical run of the series. Hell, you'd probably pay me out of gratitude for just writing the story as if it were that instead of a plot synopsis.
That's obviously not to say that the third season didn't have flaws, because it did- plenty of them. In addition to sidelining some characters completely, the third season was built off of the foundation laid by the original two seasons, since I had not planned to remaster them until after the creation of the fourth season. Though for its flaws- not least of whom are the various grammatical errors that litter much of the earlier seasons on Pacer1 stories- it has plenty of strengths compared to its predecessors. The world of Rise feels much more explained than what it had been in the now non-canonical versions of the first two seasons, and some characters earn more depth than they ever had in the series before.
You may be wondering why I insert the third and fourth seasons into this edition before the remastered versions are discussed, and the reason is what I referenced in the last paragraph- the third and fourth installments were written prior to the remastered iterations. This is a big deal for one major reason, everything in the third and fourth season takes inspiration not from the remastered versions, but from the unowned original two seasons. With that, some of the friendships and events that take place in the remastered version don't actually get referenced much unless they were carry-overs from the initial run. A group that I believe most people would look forward to reading more of following the remaster- Franklin, Alicia and Salem- were not present for much of the first two installments. Therefor, aside from the relationship between Alicia and Franklin, the bond between the trio isn't referenced much at all in the third and fourth seasons.
I was very happy with how the Sheol arc worked out, as- though some of the inspiration behind its reason for taking place makes little sense in the grand scheme of things- I believe much of the pay out with various characters was well-earned and properly thought out. I believe Tony was a viable villain and his view of people as currency in the world was something that inevitably makes a comeback later on in the series. The entire principle of Sheol- a compound created just as the world was coming to an end and turned into sanctuary for the living- was a more than realistic depiction of how survivors would take advantage of benefits when provided them. I still wanted to make Tyler a more sympathetic character knowing that I was writing his death into the piece, and that is where the plotline of Angela and the sympathetic guardsmen in the compound originated from. I felt as though most of the characters had reasonable arcs throughout the series, with the exception of near-criminal misuse of characters like Alicia and Franklin, Jack and Lauren, and Troy.
On its own, I thought- and still think- the third season is a fine piece of work when disassociated from its direct predecessors and successors. With that said, I prefer the style of writing and the concept of the characters seen here in post-remastered iterations of the series than I do here. It's for reasons such as those, that I am going to split Rise into two different eras- the pre-remastered era and the post-remastered era. In many ways, the first two seasons of the series, as well as the third and fourth seasons are jumbled into the former category, inspired by the original work as opposed to what was to come- something better. Though, those two eras can be classified as something entirely different that- from the perspective of a fan of the series- would likely end up being referred to as the John Callis-era of the series, and the post-John Callis era of the series.
Rise - Season 4: Pretty much a Shit show
Yes, indeed- John dies at the end of the fourth season. For some, that was a more than pleasurable conclusion to a character that either grated on readers or was simply just an underwhelming protagonist. I take full accountability for writing him in such a bipolar way and have more than learned from my mistakes. With that said, it remains true- fatally wounded from a stab wound in the fourth season finale, John sacrifices himself to rid his closely-knit group of the dangers held within the collective force of Sun City's militia. Though it takes place in the pre-remaster era of the series, John Callis' death is- for obvious reasons- an often-spoken and critical event in the series throughout the post-remaster era.
I will be honest here now that it's already happened- I've been waiting ages to kill John. It's not out of hatred for the character or anything, I just always wanted John's death to be the catalyst for something bigger- something worth capping the entire series off with. If not Charlotte killing John like was originally planned prior to Pacer1's launch, it would have been John getting bit during a battle at the New World Order. If not that, it would have been something else I'm sure of. The point is, John was never meant to last through the entire series. I wanted to write him as a likable guy with shortcomings that were more than understandable, but I also wanted to write him as someone that made you question that moral-grey area on your conscience that you'd colour in a positive light whenever questioned regardless of whether or not it was right to.
But with that, I must admit- John's death might have been the only redeemable piece of the fourth season of Rise aside from smaller factors. In addition to John, other main cast deaths included Meghan, Troy and Cameron- characters that were either crucial or a non-factor dependent on the versions of the first two seasons- and ended up being dumped when I figured there was no longer a point to them. Prior to the remaster, those three characters all had varying degrees of importance, but they had all been misused to such an extent that it was pointless to keep them alive when I had nothing of value prepared for them. In many ways going forward, the deaths of these characters will be used as inspiration and motivation going forward, especially with how some of the relationships between characters are rewritten in the remaster to fit the future of this series.
Aside from those deaths, Sun City was barely fleshed out as more than just a community on an island in the Atlantic. Seth Havermeyer should have been a better piece to the puzzle, but I instead foolishly used him as both a villain and a call back to the political past of Emilio and Franklin, which made him practically redundant. I do like the personal downfall of a man like Dawson, and I do like the fact that I set up a long-term future plotline for Heather and Ameil, but I hate how most of what was introduced had little of value provided. The pirates were a 'blink and you'll miss it' endeavour, Sun City was an afterthought rather quickly, and apart from a decent two episode opening at the start of the season, the entire installment felt empty and contrived. A lot more was fit into sixteen episodes this time around than in any season prior, but an increase in quantity doesn't always indicate an increase in quality- season four proves just that.
Here are some redeemable pieces, however. John's death is perhaps the most crucial element taken from the fourth season of the series. Sun City at least added sense to the idea that communities in the post-apocalyptic, zombie-covered wasteland are not as sparse as they may appear. Emilio is built into a changed man- someone that took the greatest grief one could experience and used it to harden himself into a more well-rounded individual, something desperately needed in a world where the group can no longer blindly-follow John. The group has a shared sense of unity in a way that I don't think was done justice in anything that precedes the series- remastered era or otherwise. And in addition to this, the series has finally- though you've yet to learn this- found itself a character spun off from the RISE and REVOLT spin off. For the first time in season four, this character appears flying over the group's island residency with a paramotor, guiding the group onward toward greener pastures.
Speaking of the island residency, another thing that takes this season down a notch is how much of an afterthought the island turns out to be in spite of more than a season-and-a-half build up to its appearance. Clint and Nessie will become more prominent in the following seasons in spite of their light appearance in the fourth season, but it's easy to forget that they're there sometimes throughout this installment.
If it ever reaches that point of fandom, fan-made lists ranking the seasons of the series from worst to best will likely start off with the fourth season, putting it dead-last in a place that even I- the creator of the series- believes it's probably worthy of. With that said, the decision to restart what drove the series as its unseen engine was where the luck of this series- and the quality of it going forward- would seemingly change.
Rise: Remastered, Season 1 and Season 2 - Writing Past Wrongs.
During the original writing of the series, there were a lot of qualities in characters that I liked, plenty that I hated, and some that I hated that I didn't write more of. With Rise: Remastered- which will become the canonical first and second seasons upon their premiere- I was tasked with two different things. On one hand, I was tasked with writing a set of seasons that already had an end-point in mind. I wasn't going to rewrite the third or fourth seasons regardless, and I knew that I needed to make the first two seasons not only add a lot to characters that had not been present in the original writing, whilst also making sure the plotlines that would inevitably come about from the third season would be left undisturbed. The second was that I had to make sure I wrote plenty more than just what was put into words with the original writing. As I already stated earlier, the original writing saw a six month gap between the first and second seasons that left a lot of context out of the series. The original intention was to greenlight a mini-series at some point that documented the travels of the characters from their small Connecticut town to the spacious compound of the New World Order. That, of course, never came to see the light of day.
So here's what I decided to do for the remastered versions of the series, perhaps my greatest ambition thus far- not leave important shit like that out this time. In addition to writing a halfway-decent series, I wanted to ensure that I documented everything of importance between the first day of the outbreak and where the third season picks up from. I can promise you that the start of the series picks up with the spirit of what the original writing intended (with much more detail added in) and the remaster finishes with John's departure from the quaint home on the side of the road.
Something else that I will ensure is that the groups will be given a lot more attention in the time between being run out of the Callis neighbourhood at the start of the series and when they finally reunite at the New World Order. Franklin, Alicia, and Salem will all get plenty of time together and much attention throughout the remaster as I know people would look forward to. Lauren and her interactions with Kelsi and Tori will be present plenty, as will the Scavengers. Janice, Bill, Meghan and Tyler (the young one) will all have their travels documented just as the warehouse group of Jack, Tyler (the grown up one), Reggie and Shauna will. Plenty of attention will be placed on the New World Order, and the explanation behind its existence, creation and continued-operation will all be well-documented. Charlotte will have an increased role in the series in ways that she never had in the original, and it will all spill back into what becomes the third season.
Before the remastered version reaches eyes, I'd like to make it clear that readers will take from it a very different experience than when reading the third and fourth seasons of Rise. The order in which the seasons were written will now be shuffled, and it will be noticed by readers now that the third and fourth installment will appear more like oddities than they did on their lonesome. The third and fourth seasons will now have been written before the first and second remastered seasons, and immediately after the remastered seasons- the fifth season was written. I mentioned a few weeks ago that the third and fourth seasons of the series would feel more like the black sheep or red-headed step children of the series will the addition of the fifth season and the remastered installments, and that will seem much more clear by the end of 2023, when Rise's chronology has been entirely back-logged. That is not to say that the third and fourth seasons will suck if you're one of the people that enjoyed them, but rather it is to say that it will feel odd to read those seasons when listening to the entire series back. The remastered seasons and fifth season were written in a very different style to that of the third and fourth, with a lot more description and plenty more dialogue that the latter seasons did not contain as much of. You may find the third and fourth seasons to be a less-smooth read following the remastering.
However, the fifth season will pick up in the same spirit that the remastered version carried. The same description, the same visceral nature to the series, the same increased-dialogue and improved detail will make the fifth season feel like a more natural follow up to the remaster than the third and fourth do in the chronological order. With the changes that have taken the series by the end of the fourth season, it will be made even more clear that the fifth season is a new beginning for Rise when it premieres in 2023. So, let's talk about that now.
Rise - Season Five: A New Beginning.
It's not hard to see why the fifth season will begin such a dramatic overhaul of the series. The protagonist is now dead, the group is semi-fractured, they continue to follow the RISE and REVOLT spin-off paramotorist character toward greener pastures, and they are effectively leaderless in a way that they haven't been since the earliest days of the outbreak.
As of the fifth season of the series, we are now a number of years into the post-apocalyptic world of the series. Overgrowth has begun the process of allowing Mother Nature to reclaim major cities all over the world, the government is nothing more than a remnant of the past and those still alive have already proven that they can manage well-enough in this chaos-strewn world.
The fifth season begins a process of reflection in the face of the future for our protagonist group. Whilst they are no longer led by John, his way of leading the group is something that sticks with our cast as they prepare to venture onward. In the fifth season, through means that readers will discover when the fifth season of Rise premieres, the group finds itself at the next stage in what is their quest to find the one place where they can live out their days- a community on the outskirts of New England known as Cumberland. With the addition of multiple main cast members, the group finally comes to realise that the day needs to come where they settle in somewhere for the sake of never needing to seek refuge again.
The first four seasons will prove to be a stone passageway for our cast to look back on in search of new ways to address the future. With the New World Order having fallen, with their direct actions having cost the lives of thousands in the fall of Sheol, and their own involvement with Sun City having cost them two waves of leadership, the group finds itself understanding that blood has been left on their hands. Lessons of the past will dictate the calls this group makes regarding the future, and their collective direction will take a turn with an eye on what lies ahead.
The fifth season will bring about the series a direction for where it is to go, something that it never seemed to have over the course of any rendition of the first four seasons. The fifth will breathe new life into the series as far as what is to be expected from it moving forward, it will establish long-lasting dynamics between characters and speak to and call back to the friendships and bonds crafted in the remastered versions. By all accounts, the fifth season vastly improves upon the best qualities of Rise and overhauls a lot of what made some of the prior iterations feel a little less than what they were hoped to be. Whilst I cannot promise that the fifth season will be every you- the reader- has wanted and more, I can assure you that legitimate care went into crafting it. The care for the series and the stories told within its fifth season will be made apparent as it runs in 2023, and I cannot wait for people to read it.
The fifth season of Rise premieres on the 13th of August 2023, right here on Pacer1!