Earlier this week Syfy hosted a lengthy conference call with “Being Human” executive producers Anna Fricke and Jeremy Carver so they could tell us what’s coming up in the new season, including a few guest stars to be on the lookout for, along with providing some new promo photos. Read on for Part 1 of the call (Part 2 will follow next week), and look for the Season 2 premiere of “Being Human” on January 16th.
Q: Last season many of the plots were similar to the U.K. show; can we expect that the U.S. show will branch off on its own this season?
Anna Fricke: Yes, we made a decision this year to do completely original storylines.
Jeremy Carver: That said, I think given that the show obviously has its roots in the British version, there’s always going to be an inevitable crossover just by virtue of swimming in the same pond. But yes, there was a great effort to make the series as original as possible this year given that its roots are still in the BBC version.
Q: With Toby Whithouse doing both shows, do you find that it’s easier or harder to do since he’s involved in writing both the U.S. and U.K. version?
Jeremy Carver: I want to speak carefully, but I think there’s a bit of a misconception. Toby Whithouse is not involved in writing the U.S. version.
Anna Fricke: He does have a credit on the show.
Jeremy Carver: Our show is based on the show that he created. So Season 1 borrowed liberally from the storylines that Toby created and wrote, but no, he’s not an active writer on the U.S. show.
Q: Can you talk about how the season goes through changes here? I know the actors have said it’s going to be a lot darker and stuff like that.
Jeremy Carver: Well, sort of the underlying theme of the season, as you’ve seen in some of the press materials, is each of our characters is being tempted by something that is leading them down a darker path. And I think that one of the things that we’re playing with is that in trying to become more and more human, they are in actuality being forced to confront their monstrosities more than ever. And so I think whereas last year you maybe had a few of the characters going down darker paths and being able to rely on the other characters, this year each of our three main characters is being so enmeshed in sort of a darker path that there’s a little bit less of a safety net in each other, in that basically what do you do when you’re falling, falling, falling and your support system isn’t necessarily there for you when you need them?
Q: Can you talk about the relationships we’re going to see this year because I know there’s a lot of different stuff coming up with that?
Jeremy Carver: For Aidan, [he] is basically confronted with the fallout from the death of Bishop, whom he killed at the end of last year. And we are introduced to another aspect of the vampire hierarchy in current day America, which involves sort of this overall leader known as Mother. And Mother basically is going to essentially offer Aidan his freedom if he agrees to train her disgraced vampire daughter to be the leader of Boston. So that opens up a whole can of worms in terms of Aidan having to deal with this pretty unpredictable daughter whom he has known, frankly, for close to 100 years.
Along with that we’re going to be introduced to Aidan’s vampire protégé, who is basically the last vampire Aidan ever turned, and that was back in the early 20th Century. He makes a return to Aidan’s life. So that’s the character of Henry, played by Kyle Schmid, while the character of the vampire daughter is played by Dichen Lachman from “Dollhouse”. And both of these people will greatly, greatly complicate Aidan’s life and will play a major part in sort of leading him down this dark hole that he may end up going down this season.
We can also expect Aidan to see the return – in a way that we don’t want to spoil – of Bishop in a certain way this season as well.
As for Josh, of course he is totally unaware that at the end of last season he scratched Nora when he turned into a werewolf, and so as we come into the new season, we find Josh and Nora both anxiously awaiting the rapidly approaching full moon, neither knowing what’s going to happen, the results of which have sort of an explosive effect on their relationship. Plus we’ll see some more people from Josh’s past reenter the picture in a surprising way.
As for Sally – I’m giving an overall comprehensive answer here – we’ve got a ghost who considerably missed her door last season, she chose not to take that door or at least she chose to save Aidan instead, and she deals heavily with that fallout. And she will be introduced to basically lots of new ghost characters this year who will be sort of tempting her with new, sort of spectral – if that’s the proper term – spectral temptation that will also lead her down a much darker path.
So Sally as well will have a certain number of folks from her past in unexpected ways. So everyone is dealing with not just new and twisty monster sort of things that come from a natural extension of being the type of monster they are, but also dealing with people that they dealt with in, you know, a “previous life before they were monsters,” except Aidan. Aidan is with mostly people he’s dealt with as a vampire.
Q: I’m hoping that you’re going to be writing a lot of the episodes for Season 2 since I loved your episodes in Season 1. Will you be doing most of it, some of it, and do you have new writers or the same writers; what’s your plan?
Anna Fricke: In addition to having the same writers as we had last year, we have Chris Dingess and Nancy Won. We also have new writers this year in addition to them. How many new ones?
Jeremy Carver: Well, Mike…
Anna Fricke: …and Ken. So we have four new writers this year. We’re extremely lucky; it’s a great group of people. Jeremy and I wrote three of the episodes.
Jeremy Carver: We’re very, very lucky that we have an extremely talented core of people. We brought on new folks this year to help us beef up for Season 2, and we couldn’t be happier.
Anna Fricke: It’s a great mix of backgrounds and storytelling.
Jeremy Carver: We have genre freaks, character freaks – we have an extraordinary group of people who have really taken to the show. So we’re just incredibly excited about what you’re all going to be seeing.
Q: That sounds so great, and it’s just nice to have that kind of mix to produce different outlooks and viewpoints. Can you talk about any of the guest stars you’re going to have besides Kyle Schmid and Dichen Lachman?
Anna Fricke: Those are the big ones; those are our big guest stars.
Jeremy Carver: Yes, those are the big guest stars that we’re announcing right now. And like I said, we can also expect to see a return from, of course, the great Mark Pellegrino in the character of Bishop in some form this year.
Anna Fricke: Who knows what form?
Q: Can you talk about what has been the most challenging storyline to create so far?
Anna Fricke: For us this season – but I’m glad that we did it because I think it’s a necessary aspect of Aidan’s background to tell – it’s been a little tricky to figure out the realm of vampire politics. Because vampires are obviously by nature so old and things go so far back, we just wanted to make sure that we got things right, and I think we did. But that was a lot to take on, and it was an exciting challenge; but you know, when you’re talking about people who are thousands of years old, it gets a little complicated. So that was a challenge for us this year I would say.
Q: Has there been a storyline that you have wanted to tackle but for some reason or other have not been able to yet?
Jeremy Carver: Yes, there is. It’s an existing Aidan storyline actually, which…
Anna Fricke: Well, there are many… We really keep on wanting to get back into what exactly happened with Aidan’s family, with his wife.
Jeremy Carver: The original, back in Revolutionary times.
Anna Fricke: Yes, his original life and child. So we won’t say what we’re thinking about for that, but that is a story we actually wanted to get into but have not had time for this year.
Jeremy Carver: It’s a story that we all know, we all love, and can’t wait to spring should we be lucky enough to have a future season.
Q: With the vampire politics kind of overtaking that storyline, will there be some similar organization or coming together of ghosts and/or werewolves?
Anna Fricke: Yes, I think it’s safe to say that this season we sort of see a new form of every monster. So we have the new form of vampires, and we will also see different kinds of ghosts and a sort of different ghost society that we had touched into before, and also a different kind of werewolf. And so while it may not have that same mob structure with the vampires, I think yes, we do see a sort of greater world and hierarchy in the ghosts and in the werewolves.
Jeremy Carver: I’ll go further to say, for example, in the werewolf world, I think last year we had Josh introduced to just one other wolf, isn’t that right, Ray?
Anna Fricke: Well, and the professor.
Jeremy Carver: And the professor, correct. Sorry, I forgot that. And this year we are basically starting to expand the types of werewolves that we’re seeing, and there will be a particular type that Josh comes across that will greatly alter his world. And we’ll be seeing that there is basically more than one kind of species of werewolf in our world, and we’re really excited about that.
Likewise, with Sally, she’s not just making friends with ghosts as a result of turning down her door; we’re also going to be introduced to a different, I’ll call it, species of ghost that she may have unwittingly caused to come into her world by virtue of essentially screwing with the heavens as it were and passing up her door.
So we’re going to see, just like Anna was saying, a hierarchy introducing different sub-species – this is all sounding very technical – sub-species of monster as it were. It’s tremendously fun, it’s really scary, and like I said, we couldn’t be more excited about how we have expanded the reach this season. It’s pretty ambitious what we set out to do, and we’re really excited to share it with everybody.
Q: Sally finds a new power that ghosts have in the first couple of episodes; is that something that is going to come back up and she’ll be using throughout the season? Or has that been pretty much resolved in the first few episodes?
Anna Fricke: Yes, her new knowledge is something that she will continue to struggle with and come up against.
Jeremy Carver: Yes, we talk about this power. We’re talking about things a little bit clinically here in terms of different species of this and different species of that, but at its heart we’re always going back to our characters. And our character Sally has been desperate to move on from her existence as a ghost, right? That’s basically what all of last season was, “How do I move on from this place?” And with her door not an option anymore, how does she go about escaping what is essentially the eternal loneliness of being a ghost? So when she’s presented with new ways of “being human,” she leaps at it, and she does so knowing that it could lead her down a darker path. And just because it leads her down a darker path doesn’t necessarily mean that she’s going to stop doing it, which of course is the underlying theme of the season: temptation. And that’s what we’re seeing all three of our characters [struggle] with – how far is far enough?
Q: I know you guys can only speak in very general terms, but I was wondering if you could perhaps tell us a little bit about some of the biggest writing and/or production challenges you found with the Season 2 opener and carrying on the story from last season into this year.
Anna Fricke: Well, part of it was the timeline because of ending Season 1 with, “She wants to see you.” We sort of married ourselves to having to pick things up pretty quickly and having to explain who the heck “she” was. And always with the storylines sort of working around the full moon for Josh’s change and things like that [plus] figuring out that timeline in the beginning in terms of what was happening with Aidan after Bishop’s death, what was happening in Boston, what was happening with Josh. And we couldn’t go past the full moon because you’ve got Josh, you’ve got Nora’s been scratched, and we don’t know what’s happening there.
Jeremy Carver: I think even in a more general sense you always hope that Season 1 is going to attract more people to Season 2. So while we’re a pretty serialized show and we want to give the returning fans what they’re looking for, just throw the red meat and let’s get it going, there’s a certain element of, “We have to make sure we’re bringing in new viewers and keep making them feel welcome as well.” So…
Anna Fricke: We want to set up all the new characters and the new things that we’re excited about.
Jeremy Carver: Exactly! There was a lot of setup of new things for seasoned viewers while still wanting to grab the new viewers by the ankles and make sure they weren’t left behind. So openers are always some of the trickiest because there is so much almost calculus that has to be done. As much mathematical equation as there is heart and emotion and all that stuff. So I think unto itself a season opener is just tricky business.
Q: Can you talk a little bit about casting the new characters? Did you have people specifically in mind?
Anna Fricke: We had to look for Suren, whom Dichen plays. We went through some searching for that. Kyle was actually someone we had read before and was not available for various reasons last season. So we were sort of throwing out names for that character and then, “You know who it would be great to see again, Kyle Schmid,” and he turned out to be perfect for the role.
Jeremy Carver: We were both great fans of Dichen. So it was a really happy moment when her name came across our desk because she just seemed perfect for the part.
Q: My favorite part of pretty much any supernatural show – or any show really – is the sort of smaller relationship stuff. And I know you’ve said that they have their own paths this season, but is there some more “roommate romance” among the characters?
Anna Fricke: Yes, absolutely. That’s also our favorite kind of story to tell. And we always try to make a point of having those roommate moments with all three of them and also the romance, which we love writing as well. I think Aidan and Josh definitely have a lot of great conflict this season, they get pretty enmeshed in each other’s lives due to decisions they’ve both made, and yes, definitely there’s more of that to look forward to.
Jeremy Carver: It’s the notion of these three as roommates and having to deal with each other through the good, the bad, the funny, the not funny… I mean, maybe we take that for granted. But we’re with you; that’s the DNA of the show, that’s why the show essentially works. Nothing is more alive than the three of them on the screen together, or some combination of. So that is always there. It’s just, to go along with your point about the characters because this isn’t – okay, I’ll go there – it’s not Scooby Doo and they’re not all sort of investigating crimes together, you know, and they’re not riding in a van together, they each need to have very full and vibrant storylines of their own.
So we don’t think anyone gets the short script this year in terms of their individual worlds… We’ll always land back with them because that is the beating heart of the show right there.
Q: Is Nora integrated more into it this season?
Jeremy Carver: Absolutely. Nora is a fantastically integral part of the show, and we haven’t spoken about her enough. Kristen Hager is an absolute gem and deserves a mention all her own in that she comes into her own in a way that she never expected, and that is surprising and exciting and dangerous and tempting. And Nora very much goes down a completely wholly sort of self-sufficient road this year that has massive implication with her relationship with Josh. So she absolutely, as a character on the show, blossoms in terms of storyline and screen time.
And with that little tidbit we’ll close out Part One of our chat with Jeremy and Anna. Look for Part Two early next week in anticipation of the Season 2 return of “Being Human” on Syfy Monday, January 16th.
In “Being Human” leading normal lives is a lot harder than it looks for three roommates – vampire Aidan (Sam Witwer), ghost Sally (Meaghan Rath), and werewolf Josh (Sam Huntington) – who share their secrets and a Boston brownstone. The Season 2 action picks up nearly a month after last season’s explosive finale as the three continue to struggle with their supernatural double lives and discover that temptation truly is a beast!
Executive Producers are Michael Prupas, Adam Kane, Jeremy Carver and Anna Fricke (both of whom are also writers/showrunners), Rob Pursey, and Toby Whithouse. Irene Litinsky is Producer.
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