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Blame Syfy For 'Drones' Controversy, 'Buffy' Star Says

EXCLUSIVE: Amber Benson says Syfy series writer simply caught in the crossfire

After a few blog posts and a firestorm of online media coverage, former "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" star Amber Benson says she's sorry concerns about her independent film being knocked off have been blown out of proportion.

But anyone who thinks she has targeted "Human Relations" creator Scott Prendergast through all of this need to think again.

"I never brought Scott into this," Benson told Airlock Alpha on Wednesday. "I never felt like he plagiarized anything. He got inserted into this whole story some way."

Benson is trying to set the record straight following a blog post she made over the weekend that expressed fear an independent film she directed with former "Buffy" co-star Adam Busch called "Drones" was being ripped off by Syfy when it announced what she described as a similar story concept for a show called "Human Relations," based on a pitch by Prendergast.

The two projects involve an office environment where the workers soon discover their bosses are aliens set to destroy the Earth.

But even if "Human Relations" is similar to "Drones" when it's all said and done, it's not Prendergast's fault, Benson said.

"I didn't feel like he was our enemy," she said. "If there is an enemy at all, it's Syfy. They've been guilty of that in the past, you know, where they like an idea, and they tweak it a little bit and reuse it. I didn't want that to be the case for 'Drones.'"

Benson wouldn't elaborate to Airlock Alpha what some of those ideas Syfy tweaked were. However, she did shed some light on the controversy over the similar synopses of the two projects she used to help bolster her claim that the ideas were very much the same. The two synopses had similar wording, right down to utilizing NBC's "The Office" as inspiration, and referring to some of the characters as "off-kilter." However, some have speculated that Benson rewrote the synopsis for "Drones" using similar language to what Syfy released for "Human Relations" as a way to bolster her claim that the concepts were very much the same.

While she wouldn't admit or deny the synopsis provided from "Drones" was created after the announcement of "Human Relations," she did say there wasn't just one way the film's concept was pitched.

"We've had so many different synopses of the film out there," Benson said. The "Human Relations" synopsis "wasn't just the general idea that it was 'The Office.' It was the fact that it was 'The Office' meets 'Men In Black.' It was a very specific type of comedy, like what 'Drones' is."

To further boost the claim that the type of alien office humor is the same, Benson pointed out a poster she saw for "Human Relations" that she said used the tagline of "No. 1 in human capital," which she says is something that might be said in her film, "Drones."

Benson did want to make it clear she never said Prendergast plagiarized her work. However, she did note that Prendergast could've handled the whole situation better than expressing some of his grievances with Airlock Alpha.

"I wish he had come out and said, 'This is so different,' and 'This is why it's different,'" Benson said of the two projects. Prendergast told Airlock Alpha he can no longer comment on this story, but in his previous interview, made it clear that he was not aware of "Drones" and had not yet seen the film in order to be able to tell how similar -- or different -- the two projects were.

In the meantime, Benson said a distributor for "Drones" has been secured, and her efforts right now is to make sure no one thinks "Drones" came from any other source, like "Human Relations." While she acknowledges that some of the issues she raised with "Human Relations" could potentially threaten its existence on the Syfy development slate, she added that Syfy producing a series with a similar concept could threaten her own distribution deal.

"It's amazing to me that Syfy has not said anything," Benson said. Syfy has yet to respond to Airlock Alpha's request for comment earlier in the week. "They should be the first people to come out and say ['Human Relations'] is very different. And the fact they haven't makes you wonder."

About the Author

Michael Hinman is the founder and editor-in-chief for Airlock Alpha and the entire GenreNexus. He owns Nexus Media Group Inc., the parent corporation of the GenreNexus and is a veteran print journalist. He lives in Tampa, Fla.
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