So it looks like we shouldn’t completely count out “Mockingbird Lane” just yet. TV Guide has posted a lengthy article with the reboot’s writer, Bryan Fuller, and he remains bullish on the show… and thinks Halloween is a perfect time to get viewers on board. Read on for a few excerpts.
As reported previously, the network has decided to air the show’s pricey $10 million pilot on Friday, October 26th, at 8:00 pm before “Grimm.” But Fuller’s not overly concerned. “Such a different show merits a different way of getting it out to the audience… At its core it’s a story about a family trying to carve a path in the world for a son who has challenges. It’s intimately relatable, but we get to tell that story with monsters,” he said. “It’s gorgeous, every frame is sumptuous. You get to have these really interesting actors coming in and taking their spins on these classic characters. I love the original ‘Munsters’ and didn’t want to step on it in any way of putting people in Frankenstein makeup and Dracula makeup. So we went our own direction.”
Deals with the actors don’t expire until July of next year, and if enough viewers tune in on the 26th, the possibility of “Mockingbird” turning into a fall 2013 series still exists. Fuller has big plans for the show, including a new take on the Munsters’ pet Spot, a revved up Drag-u-la racer, and even a cameo by Butch Patrick, the original Eddie Munster. For more info, keep reading, and then be sure to hit the link at the bottom of the page for the full interview.
TV Guide Magazine: What do you hope will come out of NBC’s “Mockingbird Lane” screening?
Bryan Fuller: Airing a pilot as a standalone seems unheard of, but when you actually see the “Mockingbird Lane” pilot, it has a beginning, middle and an end. It’s an emotional story of a family told in such an unconventional way, and with so many different tools that we have at our disposal because it’s The Munsters and not a regular family unit… If we get a huge number, all the cast are in line to be picked up and to go to series. And that was one of the things that NBC wanted to make sure, that they had all of the cast deals in line — so that if we did get a big number and audiences proved their appetite for this type of show, that they could move very quickly.
TVGM: It sounded like there was a debate over what to do with “Mockingbird.” What were the options?
Fuller: Every conversation I had with [NBC Entertainment president] Jennifer Salke was, “I believe in this show.” It’s about really trying to understand who the audience is. What is the best way to present something that you haven’t presented before? There is caution on that front, but there was also tremendous support to get it out there and to get people to see it and have them make it up their own minds. There were options like going on in the spring. And I’m happy about coming on in Halloween. When we were filming [the pilot] in July, I said, “We should sneak this at Halloween. We should make this a Halloween event and get it out there.” It is a Halloween show. It belongs in the autumn.
TVGM: You’ve got a busy schedule and are focused right now on “Hannibal.” When would you be able to turn your attention to “Mockingbird”?
Fuller: The idea would be, in success, to start at the beginning of July to go to series. I would complete my work on “Hannibal” in mid-February and then segue immediately to “Mockingbird Lane” to get things ready to start shooting by July, should we be so fortunate to go to series.
TVGM: You were given additional script orders this summer. Have those been written?
Fuller: We have outlines for three episodes, which are ready to go should we go to series. We charted out a six-episode arc and have outlines for three of them. We just need the trigger pulled to get going.
TVGM: What do those episodes focus on?
Fuller: Every episode focuses on a different member of the family in a great way. Lily is going through this huge arc of, “I was living my life a certain way because I thought my child was a certain way. Now that my child has changed, do I change?” So she’s having an identity crisis. It’s all about your identity and family. So each of those individual episodes are all family stories about characters trying to find their place within the larger group. In different ways because they’re monsters.
TVGM: And, I assume, adjusting to their new home and neighborhood on Mockingbird Lane.
Fuller: Yes, so there’s a great neighborhood watch episode. There’s what happens when the Creature from the Black Lagoon shows up and puts challenges on Herman’s and Lily’s relationship. That’s a tremendous amount of fun. I was bolstered by the success of “Once Upon a Time” because it took the fantastic elements of fairy tales and brought them to this parallel world of storytelling. We’re able to bring in all the fantastic elements of the Universal monster family and tell those stories in new and relatable ways. I really see a connection between those two shows. The audience has demonstrated an appetite for “Once Upon a Time” and would certainly find “Mockingbird Lane” a very tasty dish.
“Mockingbird Lane” is a reinvention of the 1960s sitcom about “The Munsters,” a family of “monsters” — vampires, werewolves and Frankenstein — and their “plain” cousin that will feature striking visuals in the vein of Fuller’s ABC dramedy “Pushing Daisies.”
Portia DeRossi and Jerry O’Connell star as Lily and Herman Munster, Eddie Izzard as Grandpa, Mason Cook as Eddie, and Charity Wakefield as Marilyn.
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