May 4, 2009 / 6:33 AM / 11 years ago

Geeks run gauntlet in Web series "Ultradome"

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Who would win in a fight: Gandalf or Darth Vader? What about Neo versus Harry Potter?

“Heroes” star Milo Ventimiglia is determined to settle such hypothetical disputes. He will appear in and co-produce “Ultradome,” a new scripted Web series in which passionate fanboys face off in special effects showdowns.

“My whole life has been spent engaged with friends in intellectual debate ... like whether Captain Kirk is tougher than Spock or if Middle Earth is a more difficult place to live than Tatooine,” Ventimiglia said. “With ‘Ultradome,’ we can bring these debates to the public and settle them in the most logical way possible: through armed combat.”

In each three- to five-minute episode, two characters engage in a heated geek-culture debate — “Who’s tougher, Harrison Ford as Han Solo, or Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones?” — and then are transported to a stadium where the duo engage in combat using all the weaponry, skills and pop culture touchstones from their respective hero’s creative arsenal.

The concept is similar to Spike TV’s new series “Deadliest Warrior,” which reconstructs hypothetical matchups between, for instance, a samurai and a Viking. But the pop-culture-driven battles on “Ultradome” — a project from Agility Studios and Ventimiglia’s DiVide Pictures — will be played for laughs.

With sci-fi and comic-book-friendly content a large driver of online traffic to entertainment sites, the “Ultradome” premise is clearly Web-friendly. Producers said they’re in negotiations with a couple of major portals for distribution and hope to launch this summer.

Ventimiglia said he and partner Russ Cundiff came up with the idea after putting a couple of mock lightsaber battles online and envisioning how Luke Skywalker would slice and dice Mr. Spock.

The actor will appear in the first episode, which pits “Star Wars” versus “The Lord of the Rings.” Ventimiglia will be backing “Rings,” but only because his co-star pleaded to represent for “Star Wars.”

(Editing by Sheri Linden at Reuters)

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