How often do you guys sit around the writers table and go, “OK, what can we do this week to really gross out and creep out our audience?”
Oh, every day.
You really brought things to a new level this season with the parasite in Tom and Hal, the harness factory, the crawlies. I’m almost worried you’re not going to be able to top the creep factor next season.
Yeah, well, that’s a good challenge. I’m willing to take that challenge. As you probably know, Steven Spielberg loves the show and is very involved in it, and we’ve had many discussions where a lot of the stuff that we did in the second season came directly out of those discussions, and sometimes he is like – which is what I think makes him a genius – he’s like a 14-year-old boy. We had one discussion about The Tingler, which is an old ’50s horror movie about this thing that would creep around and suddenly attach onto you and stuff. A lot of the harness factory came out of that discussion. And one day we were trying to think of how to come up with a clever way that we’ve never seen before that the aliens have somehow implanted something in Tom, and I think it was [producer] David Weddle one day sent us all a link of these parasite eye worm things in Brazil or whatever. I watched it and jumped out of my seat when I saw that, and I said, “OK, we’re doing that.” And the crawlies, well, that was a combination of everything. Steven said, “I want to see if there’s small aliens. Can’t we do small aliens?” And we started popping ideas back and forth and the writers and me and everybody. Then of course you get artists like Aaron Sims involved in the design of all that. It’s pretty amazing.
It’s always great to hear how involved Steven Spielberg is in the making of the show.
I’m convinced that he has a clone. I don’t understand how he does everything and still is able to send me notes on specific scripts. It’s quite remarkable.
You start shooting the new season on Wednesday. I think fans tend to overestimate how much influence their opinions have on their favorite shows, but you also mentioned that you do read what fans post on message boards online. How do you feel about being set to shoot season 3 before fans have seen the end of season 2?
First of all, I have been following the boards during the entire season and listened and tried as best I could to hear what the fans were saying. And I’m hoping that that will influence itself into the third season. Everybody has an opinion. And I have read many a posting that says, “This is the worst thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life!” and scroll down to a comment that says, “This is the best thing that I’ve ever seen!” So I try very hard, and all of us try I think, to get the essence and the consensus of the fans’ feelings about it.
This is not my first genre show, and one thing I’ve often explained to colleagues who are working on shows that don’t have the kind of fan base that we have is that it’s suicide to not keep track of the pulse of the fans. I’ve seen them turn ugly on more than one occasion, and I want to be able to deliver to them what they like seeing most. Having said all of that, I’ve got a budget, I’ve got a network, I’ve got studio people all giving me input also. And at the end of the day, I’ve always stuck with the philosophy that I want to produce a show that I would like to see. Hopefully there’s enough people like me that want to see that show too.
Well, there were enough people like that to get it renewed pretty quickly.
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