When watching some of my favorite old SFTV like The Outer Limits and Doctor Who, I'm always struck by how anyone could make something on a technical par with a camcorder. You don't need a huge budget, just a good script and some good old-fashioned elbow grease.
Of course, good scripts don't usually exist in a vacuum- writers need literate social environments to nurture them and those can be as hard to find as Lemuria or Shangri-La. The rampant word abuse we're seeing on the Internet isn't doing anyone any favors either.
That's why projects like Pioneer One are a good omen. It was made for the princely sum of $6000 and serves up some X-Files-type paranoid sci-fi/UFO action. The gimmick here is that it's the first series made for torrent, but it's not as if there haven't been boatloads of fan flix and homemade TV shows put on the Net well before it.
The biggest problem with TV and movies these days is cost- which means that he who pays the piper is calling the tune and more often than not it's a pretty stupid melody. It's shocking to me how many movies seem so face-punchingly moronic these days (and how many of them utterly fail financially as well), but that's largely a function of interference from corporate committees. The only way we're going to see quality storytelling be anything but a happy accident is if costs are brought way down, and producers have control over their own product.
And the only way people will pay any attention to this kind of filmmaking is if the film-makers have something unique to offer. It's too soon to say if that will happen here, but I'm encouraged by what I've seen so far.
If it succeeds you can probably bet its makers will be swallowed by the ravenous Hollywood beast, but it's showing others that you do something serious and original without spending the equivalent of a small nation's GNP.