At Comic Con back in July, I got to attend the press room for the new CW show “Frequency.” The show is run by an old friend to many of us in the “Supernatural” fandom, Jeremy Carver. This is the show he actually left “Supernatural” to produce. “Frequency” has it’s grand premiere tomorrow, October 5th, at 9 pm after “Arrow.”
I’ll admit, I was tickled to see how excited and passionate Jeremy was about his new project. He was asking all of us for feedback, both nervous and excited that this idea of his was finally getting seen by the public eye. After all, he first developed this for NBC and a year after it was rejected, it was picked up last year as a pilot for The CW. Then came the best news you can get as a producer, “Frequency” was picked up as a series, earning a 13 episode order. The reception I heard from those that saw the preview at Comic Con was very good. It made me mad that I wasn’t able to see it! (Comic Con gets way too busy for journalists). I’ll finally get my chance tomorrow.
As part of our ongoing series of featuring “Supernatural” prominent alumni moving onto other shows, I present the preview of “Frequency.”
Let’s start with the official CW description:
Detective Raimy Sullivan (Peyton List) has always wanted to prove that she is nothing like her father. In 1996, when Raimy was eight years old, NYPD Officer Frank Sullivan (Riley Smith) left Raimy and her mother, Julie (Devin Kelley), behind when he went deep undercover, got corrupted, and got himself killed. Or so the story has always gone. Few people knew about the secret undercover sting operation Frank was really charged with, led by Stan Moreno (Anthony Ruivivar), who has now risen to Deputy Chief of Police. Frank’s former partner, Lieutenant Satch Reyna (Mekhi Phifer), is now Raimy’s mentor and friend, and he has urged her to let go of the hurt and anger she still feels about Frank’s disappearance and death, but the old pain still lingers. Raimy can barely bring herself to discuss Frank, even with her devoted boyfriend, Daniel (Daniel Bonjour), or her childhood friend, Gordo (Lenny Jacobson). Now, twenty years later, Raimy is stunned when a voice suddenly crackles through her father’s old, long-broken ham radio – it’s Frank, somehow transmitting over the airwaves and through the decades from 1996. They’re both shocked and confused, but Raimy shakes Frank to the core when she warns him that the secret sting he is undertaking will lead to his death. Armed with that knowledge, Frank survives the attempt on his life. But changing history has dramatically affected Raimy’s life in the present – and there have been tragic consequences. Separated by twenty years, father and daughter have reunited on a frequency only they can hear, but can they rewrite the story of their lives without risking everyone they love? FREQUENCY is from Warner Bros. Television in association with Lin Pictures, with executive producers Jeremy Carver (“Supernatural”), Toby Emmerich (“The Notebook” feature film), John Rickard (“Horrible Bosses”), Dan Lin (“The LEGO™ Movie,” “Sherlock Holmes”) and Jennifer Gwartz (“Veronica Mars”).
Yes, this is based off of the year 2000 movie of the same name. There are plenty of differences though between this adaption and what happened on film. For one, television offers more opporuntity to broaden the story and explore more character nuances than what happens in a movie. But I’m probably not the best person to explain all this. For that, I went to the source, the creators of the show themselves.
Jeremy Carver and Jennifer Gwartz
There’s no doubt about it, I’m a huge Carver fan. The chance to get to interview him at our roundtable session for a passion project of his was a deep honor, and no doubt he gave us the best interview of the day. Joining him at the table was the co-creator and writing partner of Carver’s, Jennifer Gwartz. So how did this TV adaptation come to be?
“Some of it is a wee bit boring. Jen and I were introduced to each other and you sort of have a range of projects that you’re thinking of in your own mind or you know are available to be adapted. Just going through it, I remember having seen Frequency in 2000. For me, it’s the relationship. The father/son relationship that I remember from seeing the movie the very first time. The pure emotionality of it really got me and of course I loved the genre element. I thought that might would tricky but it could make a really really interesting and dynamic show and that’s what happened.”
Carver admitted the choice to change the premise from a son to a daughter came after making the shift to The CW.
“We actually did one version of it where it was a father/son. When we went to The CW, they said is there anything you would change, and having done one version of this, I would want to change to a father/daughter because to me that was the biggest challenge as a writer and I felt it offered the most dynamic relationship possible. I think, I mean, I’m not speaking in tongues here, everyone has this idea of a “daddy’s little girl” cliche and what I love about this show is if you’ve seen the pilot you see she’s anything but. The idea she’s the same age as her Dad adds a real dynamism…dynamism? (questioning the validity of the word)…we’ll go with that…For me it was very exciting to do that.”
What are the concepts and the themes this show will have to offer?
“On the one hand, you have a family drama. If you’ve seen the pilot and if you’ve seen the movie, the TV characters are different from the movie characters. In a most basic sense you have the father character isn’t quite as straight laced and choir boy as he is in the movie. And with what was the son character and Raimy’s character, she doesn’t quite worship her father in the same way that the son did in the movie. She’s standing on her own two feet basically. This is an ever changing family dynamic so right there, to me that was a wonderful thing to explore week to week. These two because of the circumstances at the end of the pilot, being forced to work with one another in what would ordinarily be in a wish fulfillment sort of scenario, you get to reconnect and save the life of your father, but there’s a lot of crap they’ve got to work out with each other. I like that. It doesn’t immediately turn into a buddy cop show where we’re best buddies solving crimes. A lot of resentment, there’s a lot of residue of other things.
On the other hand you have a mystery that’s set off at the end of the pilot. That lends itself to a certain ticking clock and tautness to the first season. Then you have the genre element which allows us to spin things out, taking two ordinary characters who are thinking along a detective journey and being confronted with something that no one has had any experience with, which everyone at this table does, genre. It’s hitting them in the face when they least expect it and they have no idea what to do with it. I think it’s a very blue collar approach to family and genre and crime that so far has been pretty exciting in the writer’s room.”
For my question, I was curious if Carver and Gwertz were prepared to take this concept through multiple seasons.
“We’ve mapped out season one. We have that departure jumping into of course what could be the focus of season two, and then we have the kernel of what could be season three. That stuff can always change but in terms of being up there and seeing it, we’ve got at least three seasons that we can see out there. But it’s a tricky show to do, I’m not going to lie about that. It’s tricky because of the rules and everything but it’s extra tricky because we’re trying to keep the rules out of view. I think some shows can get overwhelmed by the rules. I just want people to be along with the characters and the ride and just trust that the rules are there, you don’t need one slapping you in the face at every turn.
Will the show be taking place is a short period of time?
There’s a relatively short time frame setup from when they need to have to mystery solved. We can expected that much of the first season will revolve around that. That said, because of memories and all that, we will be visiting these two at different periods of time in their lives. Just for a little extra added layer…of delight.
You can see the full interview here. Carver is definitely in a good mood!
Peyton plays Detective Raimy Sullivan, one of the lead character in the show. Does she look familiar to some of you? She played recently Captain Cold’s sister, Lisa Snart (Golden Glider).
The other half of the father/daughter duo is Riley Smith, who plays Frank Sullivan.
Many of you might know this face. Mekhi has been in many, many shows through the years, the quintessinal journeyman actor. In “Frequency”, he plays Satch Reyna, Frank’s partner and Raimy’s mentor.
Are you excited about this new show? Come back after you see the pilot and tell us what you think. Mr. Carver would love to see your reaction!