Gay geeks in Outland

For too long now, gay and lesbian science-fiction fans have been struggling for a voice of their own, and have been callously ignored by the major networks.

Set to address this omission, the ABC is thinking outside the box with its new comedy, Outland, which began filming in Melbourne on Monday.

The six-part series focuses on a gay science-fiction fan club who are open about their sexuality but not so much their geekdom.

Described as "where your best friends sometimes seem like aliens and close encounters are what you wish for", Outland follows the lives of Rae (Christine Anu), Toby (Ben Gerrard), Andy (Paul Ireland), Fab (Adam Richard) and Max (Toby Truslove) as they struggle to belong in the world around them.

ABC's head of comedy, Debbie Lee, says, "We are delighted to be collaborating again with Princess Pictures on another new and weirdly wonderful comedy and welcome the opportunity to work with the creative talents of writers John Richards and Adam Richard and the brilliant and funny Outland cast."

It is being produced by the team behind the success stories of Summer Heights High and John Safran's Race Relations.

"Princess Pictures is proud that closeted science-fiction fans will finally have a voice and that a full family of gay Australian characters can go where they never ventured before -- prime-time television," says producer Laura Waters.

Outland will premiere on ABC1 in 2011.

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