Posts Tagged ‘Niall Matter’

The Syfy Channel Sizzles During Summer 2010

April 15, 2010

THE Syfy Channel goes boldly where it has never gone before in Summer 2010 with its first ever Thursday night reality bloc (Mary Knows Best and Paranormal Investigators); new scripted series (Haven) based on a Stephen King novella; popular returning series (Warehouse 13, Eureka, Ghost Hunters Academy and Ghost Hunters International), and fan favorite Saturday Night Original Movies including Lake Placid 3 and Stonehenge Apocalypse.

The traditional holiday movie marathon runs from Friday, May 28th through Monday, May 31st, including “cold as ice” films (Yeti), horror flicks (premiere of Wrong Turn on Saturday, May 29th @ 9:oo p.m.), “creatures in the water” films (Lake Placid 2) and a festival of Stephen King adaptations (The Stand) on Memorial Day, May 31st.

The new Thursday night reality bloc premieres Thursday, July 15th @ 9:oo p.m. EST/PST with Mary Knows Best (working title), a docu-soap reality series following Mary Occhino, a successful radio host, psychic intuitive and mother of three, who gives a whole new meaning to the term “mother is always right.” Her children, Jackie, Chris and Carl, are a mismatched group f siblings consisting of a skeptic, a paranormal investigator and a reluctant psychic. In each episode, viewers will meet a humorous and unforgettable cast of family characters including Mary’s outspoken older brother Charles and two adorable grandchildren. The series is produced by Atlas Media Corp.

Following @ 10:00 p.m. EST/PST is Paranormal Investigators, which debunks fact from fiction by uncovering the truth behind supernatural and unexplained occurrences which have been caught on tape. In each episode, the six-person team, led by former FBI Special Agent Ben Hansen, searches for the most intriguing and unusual images, videos and unnatural phenomenon found online and around the world. Selecting the most intriguing images, the team heads into the field attempting to re-create the video, carrying out key experiments and searching for clues and evidence. The team uses all the latest tools CGI (computer-generated imaging) and investigative techniques at its disposal to try to answer the question, “Is it real?” Produced by Base Productions.

The new drama series Haven premieres Friday, July 9th @ 10:00 p.m. EST/PST. Based on the novella The Colorado Kid from renowned author Stephen King, it follows FBI Agent Audrey Parker (Emily Rose), who arrives in the small town of Haven, Maine to solve the murder of a local ex-con. Before long, her natural curiosity lands her in the epicenter of activity in this curious enclave, which turns out to be a longtime refuge for people with a remarkable range of supernatural abilities. Among the townspeople are local cop Nathan Wuornos (Lucas Bryant), who eventually becomes Audrey’s partner, and the mysterious and charming Duke Crocker (Eric Balfour).

Cable’s top paranormal franchise, Ghost Hunters Academy returns with brand-new episodes on Wednesday, June 2nd @ 9:00 p.m. EST/PST. Expert instructors Steve Gonsalves and Dave Tango will once again train a group of recruits to become the newest team member, but this time, one hopeful will be voted off each week by one of the ultimate judges of paranormal investigating: Ghost Hunters‘ Jason Hawes! Jason, Steve and Tango will put the new recruits through the paces with challenging investigations at six of the most daunting and memorable past Ghost Hunters locations: Waverly Hills Sanatorium (Waverly Hills, KY), Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum (Weston, WV), Mark Twain House (Hartford, CT), Fort Delaware (Delaware City, DE), Mansfield Reformatory – a.k.a. “Shawshank Prison” (Mansfield, OH) and the infamous Stanley Hotel (Estes Park, CO).

Season two of Warehouse 13 debuts on Tuesday, July 6th @ 9:oo p.m. EST/PST. The series follows two Secret Service agents who find themselves abruptly transferred to a massive, top-secret storage facility in windswept South Dakota which houses every strange artifact, mysterious relic, fantastical object and supernatural souvenir ever collected by the U.S. government. The Warehouse’s caretaker Artie (Saul Rubinek) charges Pete (Eddie McClintock) and Myka (Joanne Kelly) with chasing down reports of supernatural and paranormal activity in search of new objects to cache at the Warehouse, as well as helping him to control the Warehouse itself. Warehouse 13 also features Allison Scagliotti, along with series guest-star CCH Pounder.

Eureka kicks off its fourth season on Friday, July 9th @ 9:oo p.m. EST/PST with the introduction of new series regular James Callis (Battlestar Galactica) as Dr. Grant, a former resident of the town whose unexpected return is cause for serious alarm and, considering his romantic interest in Allison Blake (Salli Richardson-Whitfield), significant friction with Sheriff Jack Carter (Colin Ferguson). New and returning fans won’t want to miss the big changes in store for everyone in the small town of Eureka after a cataclysmic shift turns their lives upside-down. Eureka also stars Joe Morton (Henry Deacon), Erica Cerra (Jo Lupo), Neil Grayston (Douglas Fargo) and Niall Matter (Zane Donovan).

On July 14th, new episodes of Ghost Hunters International premiere @ 9:00 p.m. EST/PST. Like their U.S. counterparts, TAPS (The Atlantis Paranormal Society), GHI is a squad made up of everyday ordinary citizens who investigate and attempt to debunk claims of otherworldly activity. In the premiere episode, the team travels to the famous town of Nottingham, England and search for the Sheriff of Nottingham’s Ghost at the Galleries of Justice. Other countries on their global adventures will include Wales, Norway, Poland, Ukraine, Estonia and many more. The team includes Robb Demarest, Barry FitzGerald, Brandy Green, Ashley Goodwin, Paul Bradford, new cast member Scott Tepperman as well as Ghost Hunters Academy winners Susan Slaughter and Karl Pfeiffer.

Saturday Night Original Movies

Lake Placid 3 premieres in June 2010. In this sequel to Lake Placid 2 (most watched Syfy Saturday Original Movie ever), a game warden, his wife and their young son move into their aunt’s cabin on Lake Placid, where the lonely boy starts feeding baby crocodiles he considers to be pets. Three years later, the crocs start looking at him and his family as food. Stars Colin Ferguson (Eureka).

Stonehenge Apocalypse premieres in June 2010. When the giant stones of Stonehenge begin to move and cataclysms occur all over the Earth, only a fringe radio talk show host who’s an expect in UFOology figures out that the ancient monument is really alien technology. Stars Hill Harper (CSI NY).

Jack Hunter And The Lost Treasure of Ugarit premieres in July 2010. Jack Hunter, an adventurous fortune hunter, goes to Syria to find an ancient treasure buried thousands of years ago, which might be cured. Stars Joanne Kelly (Warehouse 13).

Goblin premieres in July 2010. A family vacations in a mountain town haunted by a goblin that steals babies. When their newborn disappears, it’s up to his older half-sister to rescue him.

Mandrake premieres in August 2010. A group of adventurers searching for a Spanish conquistador artifact find that the jungle around them is a single living being – and it’s not happy they’re there.

Eureka’s Niall Matter – Matter of Fact

August 28, 2009
Niall Matter as Zane Donovan on Eureka. Photo by F. Scott Schafer and copyright of The Syfy Channel

Niall Matter as Zane Donovan on Eureka. Photo by F. Scott Schafer and copyright of The Syfy Channel

In the second season Eureka episode E=MC…? some of the world’s smartest minds try to re-create the “Big Bang” and the first moments that the universe came into being. As is typical in this Pacific Northwest hotbed of brilliance, things go somewhat awry. The town’s geniuses suddenly lose their smarts, and it is up to Sheriff Jack Carter and a young, cocky know-it-all, Zane Donovan, to save the day. It is no accident that Zane came to Eureka, and he has since ended up sticking around, which was a pleasant surprise for the actor who plays him, Niall Matter.

“When I first heard about the audition for the character I was told that it was a guest-star role and a possible recurring one,” recalls Matter. “So I went in to read and the director of the episode, Tim Matheson, seemed to like what I did. He gave me a little bit of direction as did the casting director, then I came in for a callback, ended up booking the role and before I knew it I was on-set working on Eureka.

“My first day on the job I was immediately impressed by Colin Ferguson [Sheriff Jack Carter] and the amount of energy that he has. It carries through the entire day, too, and it doesn’t matter if that day lasts eight hours or sixteen hours. Colin is ‘present’ the entire time and ready to go. With him, I saw what it takes to be the number one on a TV show.

“In this episode I was really able to get into comedy. I hadn’t done much of that before, so I was able to spread my wings. And when it comes to the cast, Joe Morton [Henry Deacon] as well as Ed Quinn [Dr. Nathan Stark] back then, along with Salli Richardson [Dr. Allison Blake], Erica Cerra [Deputy Jo Lupo], all of them, their comic timing is so different.

“So working with each of them, respectively, in whatever scene I had, it was pretty cool figuring my own timing out and where my character was going with each of the others in the story. It was like trying to piece together a puzzle and I wanted to make sure I did my best so that they [the producers] would ask me back,” jokes the actor. “I loved that my character actually got to save the day when he stopped the device from detonating. After all, you don’t get to do that every day.”

Eureka producers were obviously impressed enough with Matter’s debut that they made his character a recurring one. Having been arrested for allegedly crashing that New York Stock Exchange, Zane was originally meant to go to jail. However, rather than waste his intellectual talents, the authorities decided instead to send him to Eureka. After helping avert a disaster in E=MC…? he was offered a job at Global Dynamics. With his character now appearing in more episodes, Matter looked at giving Zane a bit of a makeover.

“I wanted to start opening him up and taking him in other directions,” he says. “As I became more confident about my work on the show, I began talking with Jaime Paglia [Eureka co-creator/executive producer] about the direction of my character as far as where he wanted to take Zane and where I was thinking he could go.

“As a result, I think we’ve shaped him into a pretty cool human being. Zane has shed a great deal of his stubbornness, because initially he was, not cold, but pretty snarky and kind of annoying. We had to tread carefully, though, with that fine line of change in order to make it believable. I mean, how quickly can someone turn that corner. So that’s been a little bit tricky for me, but the writers have been a huge help and we’ve managed to transform Zane into someone who’s much more likable. He’s grown up and matured as well as taken on some responsibility, which is nice.”

Among those Eureka residents who have changed their opinion of Zane since he first arrived in town is Deputy Lupo. Not an easy person to win over, she found herself attracted to Zane in more ways than one, and during the show’s past two seasons, they have become romantically involved.

“The relationship between Jo and Zane was somewhat ambiguous at the beginning and we weren’t really sure what was going on,” notes Matter. “Now, however, this third season it’s heading towards a very realistic and mature level, and it’s a great to see that they share a true connection and have a lot of love for one another.

“One of the neat things with their relationship is that Zane will rib her and Jo will give it right back to him. I’ve seen couples do that in real life and those are the moments that you remember and help also define a relationship, so it’s been fun to re-create those moments with Erica onscreen. There was one episode [From Fear to Eternity] where Jo and Zane were stuck together, and the moment they got unstuck, she said something to me and I said something right back at her. I can’t remember exactly what I said because it wasn’t scripted, I ad-libbed it, but it actually made the final cut [of the episode] and the crew just killed themselves laughing. Jo and Zane did plenty of kibitzing in that episode when they were stuck together and that helped create a stronger bond between them.”

In the third season Eureka story Your Face or Mine, which was directed by Colin Ferguson, Zane almost loses Jo when a scientist (Leela Savasta) uses technology that she has created to steal the deputy’s identity and…life. “That was a challenging one because I had to work with another actress who’s supposedly Jo inside this other person’s body,” says Matter. “Being directed by Colin was incredible because he’s got such a clear vision for the show. He knows exactly what he wants and where he thinks the series should be going. The actual shooting of the episode was both concise and quick, so when it comes to Colin I just think he’s a genius.”

Following Ferguson’s directorial debut on Eureka, Matter and the rest of the show’s cast and crew also had the chance to be directed this season by Joe Morton with the episode Have an Ice Day. “Obviously this story has something to do with ice, and at one point Zane becomes very cold, one could say almost freezing over,” teases the actor.

“Working with Joe Morton in the director’s chair was incredible. I grew up watching him on TV and in the movies, and I’ll never forget coming onto this show and meeting Joe for the first time and being quite intimidated by the fact that I was actually getting to hold my own in a scene opposite him. So when being directed by Joe, everything he said to me, any notes or redirection he gave me, I soaked it in. I wanted to make sure I gave him everything he wanted because I respect him so much as an actor and I really wanted to garner some respect in his eyes as a director.”

Born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Matter was 13 years old when he started writing and directing his own films, and then began acting in them as well. “I’d get in front of the camera with the other actors I was working with to show them the shots I wanted,” he explains. “Then I would go into the editing room and edit all my films on my own. They were only shorts, maybe five or ten minutes long and usually in the horror genre, but that’s how I first got into this.”

Having only been in the business for a few years, the actor has already appeared in a variety of made-for-TV movies as well as recurring roles or guest-spots on such series as The Best Years, Fear Itself, Warehouse 13, Melrose Place and Stargate Atlantis.

“On Stargate Atlantis I played someone called Lt. Kemp and I worked opposite Kavan Smith, who played Major Lorne,” says Matter. “My character was a short-lived one – he was only in two episodes – but working on those sets was incredible. I had no idea how elaborate they were, and I remember just being blown away when I first saw them. I was like a kid in a candy store walking around and checking everything out.”

One of Matter’s most high-profile roles to date has to be Mothman in the big screen superhero flick Watchmen. “That was a dream come true,” he says. “It was a massive blockbuster film directed by Zack Synder, who also did 300, and I couldn’t believe I had the chance to work with him. It was kind of a surreal moment the first time I stood there on-set talking with Zack. Shooting that movie was one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve ever had because he makes the work fun, and I’ve never seen anyone more prepared than Zack. I think when he sleeps, he plans out his shots,” jokes Matter. “I had an amazing time.”

With every job he goes out for, the actor makes sure the character is as different as possible from the last one he played, and with each new role, Matter gets to entertain more and more people, which for him is what acting is all about. “The fact that you can reach so many people in this industry and bring joy into their homes, whether through TV or films, and relating to them life experiences in a truthful way is what I find most rewarding about this job,” muses the actor. “And also leaving [work] at the end of the day knowing that you emotionally connected to your scenes and, hopefully, that will transcend over into someone else’s life. I think acting is a pretty powerful tool that can actually be used to help change the world for the better, and I’m happy to play some small part in that.”

For more information about Niall check out his official website – www.niallmatter.net

As noted above, photo by F. Scott Schafer and copyright of The Sci Fi Channel, so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any kind. Thanks!

Eureka’s Erica Cerra And Niall Matter Guest-Star This Week On Warehouse 13

August 25, 2009

EUREKA‘s Erica Cerra (Deputy Jo Lupo) and Niall Matter (Zane Donovan) take a brief field trip from the technologically-advanced Pacific Northwest town when they guest-star this week on Warehouse 13. In Duped, Pete (Eddie McClintock) and Myka (Joanne Kelly) are dispatched to Las Vegas to retrieve an artifact that seems to grant good fortune to a couple of gamblers, Jillian Whitman (Cerra) and Gary Whitman (Matter). But their simple snag it, bag it, tag it mission gets complicated when Myka accidentally gets trapped in Lewis Carroll’s mirror – unleashing the malevolent entity that was trapped inside. Duped airs Tuesday, August 25th @ 9 p.m. EST/8 p.m. CT on The Syfy Channel.

Click the link below for a sneak preview of Duped – http://rcpt.yousendit.com/728091035/18f0355b601c54f6223f008d849ea5bb

Eureka’s Erica Cerra – The Enforcer

August 12, 2009
Erica Cerra as Eureka's Jo Lupo - Photo by F. Scott Schafer and copyright of The Syfy Channel

Erica Cerra as Eureka's Deputy Jo Lupo - Photo by F. Scott Schafer and copyright of The Syfy Channel

Intelligent, beautiful, resourceful and sexy – all these adjectives describe Deputy Jo Lupo. Let’s not forget that, given just cause, she can also incapacitate you and throw you in jail. With her as one half of Eureka’s long arm of the law, the small town has nothing to worry about.

Three years ago, it looked as if Jo would be promoted when her boss, Sheriff William Cobb, was reassigned after almost losing his life to a misguided scientific experiment. Unfortunately for her, the government chose U.S. Marshall Jack Carter as Cobb’s replacement. At first, Jo was disappointed and somewhat prickly towards Jack, but they soon became friends as well as a formidable team. Nowadays, she is still helping him police the town, and Erica Cerra, who plays Jo in Eureka, is thrilled with her character’s growth and development so far over the show’s three seasons.

“Each season, Jo seems to soften up somewhat, which I always think is nice because it allows the audience to get to like her a bit more,” says the actress with a laugh. “Her relationship with [scientist] Zane Donovan [Niall Matter] has also helped give her an opportunity to express her feelings and become emotionally attached to someone else. I’m very happy that the [show’s] writers have allowed Jo and Zane to more or less take their time and haven’t married them off yet and given them children. The two of them bicker a lot, and Niall and I enjoy playing that.

“As individuals, Niall and I get along very well, so that makes our scenes quite easy, and I think that’s why the writers are able to give us so much bizarre relationship stuff to do. Zane has almost been taken away from Jo a couple of times, and those moments have given my character a chance to say to him, ‘No, please don’t go. I really do have a heart.’ The [acting] challenges with this and any character are in the scripts, and I always look forward to taking on the next challenge.”

Deputy Lupo on duty in Eureka. Photo by James Dittiger and copyright of The Syfy Channel

Deputy Lupo on duty in Eureka. Photo by James Dittiger and copyright of The Syfy Channel

Midway through Eureka‘s third season in From Fear to Eternity, Sheriff Carter (Colin Ferguson) must deal with yet another technological crisis when a long-forgotten doomsday weapon discovered in an abandoned military complex threatens to destroy the town. In the process, he ends up trapped inside the facility with Eva Thorne (Francis Fisher), a scientist with a mysterious past and a secret to hide. Above ground, Deputy Lupo and Zane try to help figure out a way to rescue Carter and Eva, but have their own problems when a weird substance literally binds them together.

“The original script for that episode was very different from what ended up on the screen, and it continued to change quite a bit while we were shooting,” recalls Cerra. “Jo and Zane were, I believe, on the brink of breaking up in that story, or they were at least fighting; every other episode they’re on the brink of a break-up, but again that’s fun. It not only gives the characters something to do, but it’s also very real. These are two people who passionately care about each other and are trying to find their groove.

“One thing that immediately comes to mind from that episode is that in the scene in which Jo and Zane finally become unstuck, I walk away and say, ‘If I had been stuck to you any longer I’d have gnawed off my own arm.’ And he yells back at me, ‘Well, your mouth is big enough.’ That was all Niall, and it was really funny,” chuckles the actress. “He just ad-libbed that and they ended up keeping it in, which was great. It’s something that, again, is real. It’s what a boyfriend might say to his girlfriend when he wants to get a jab in at her, so that line always sticks out for me.”

In the third season Eureka story Your Face or Mine – directed by Colin Ferguson – Jo Lupo becomes acting sheriff while Carter takes a Department of Defense (D.O.D.) recertification test. However, her friends being to wonder if the job might be too much for her when she starts behaving strangely. They have no idea that a scientist at Global Dynamics is using her experiment to take over Jo’s physical identity. As is typical in Eureka, things go horribly wrong, and Jo comes face-to-face with herself as she fights for her life.

Carter (Colin Ferguson) and Jo in a scene from "Your Face or Mine." Photo by Marcel Williams and copyright of The Syfy Channel

Carter (Colin Ferguson) and Jo in a scene from "Your Face or Mine." Photo by Marcel Williams and copyright of The Syfy Channel

“I was so excited when I got that script,” enthuses Cerra. “First off, being given that much stuff to do in a single episode, it just felt so nice to know that the producers had faith that I could handle it. As an actress I had tons of challenges, and having Colin directing was such a cool experience. It was the first time that a member of the cast had directed us, and it was important to me that I do everything to the best of my ability and not let him down.

“Colin and I work so much together that he says, ‘I speak Erica,’ which I always find amusing. The thing is, I’m not always the best as far as articulating certain things, but somehow Colin always knows what the hell I’m trying to say,” she says laughing. “I’d be in a very happy place if I could take him with me as a director all the time.

“So this episode was by far my biggest challenge of the season, and as the remaining 13 episodes went on, the writers gave me other scenes where Jo became emotionally attached to something. As an actor, if you’re not emotionally attached to something, there’s nothing to really play, right? A great deal of what I do on the program is standard, so whenever I’m given something a little different to play, I take full advantage of it.”

When Cerra took time out to do this interview (early January 2009), she and the rest of the Eureka cast were shooting one of the final season three episodes, which was directed by castmember Joe Morton (Henry Deacon). “In this episode, Zane comes back to Eureka after being gone for a month, and there is a possible threat to the relationship between him and Jo,” notes the actress. “There’s also a visit from an old love interest.

L-R - Erica Cerra with some of her Eureka castmates at Comic Con 2009 - Joe Morton, Salli Richardson-Whitfield (Dr. Allison Blake), Cerra and Neil Grayston (Douglas Fargo). Photo copyright of The Syfy Channel

L-R - Erica Cerra with some of her Eureka castmates at Comic Con 2009 - Joe Morton, Salli Richardson-Whitfield (Dr. Allison Blake), Cerra and Neil Grayston (Douglas Fargo). Photo copyright of The Syfy Channel

“As far as being directed by Joe, it’s been fantastic. We get a different director with every episode, and with Joe it feels more like we’re all hanging out and playing together, do you know what I mean? It’s not that we ever make any of our directors feel uncomfortable, but when someone new comes in, you’re trying to get to know them and there’s never enough time for that. With Joe, and, of course, Colin, you already know them and they know how to talk with you and know what you need. It’s just cozier and easier to sort of give them what they want because you both know how to translate each other’s words.”

After production wrapped on Eureka‘s third season, the actress shot guest-spots on episodes of Warehouse 13 and Sanctuary, and can also be seen as Hera in the feature film Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief starring Pierce Brosnan and Rosario Dawson. As for Eureka, the program continues to grow in popularity and has been renewed for a fourth season. While the episodes may be driven by scientific mishaps, there is a lightness and humor involved in storytelling as well, both of which Cerra feels draws viewers to tune in.

“I remember looking at one of the Eureka websites and someone was complaining that the science was wrong. Somebody else wrote in and said, ‘Just watch it and be entertained.’ and I agree,” says the actress. “There are a lot of TV shows about murder and sadness, and what’s great about Eureka is that you can sit back, watch it and just be entertained, and in today’s world I think that’s a good thing.”

Steve Eramo

As noted above, photos are by James Dittiger, Marcel Williams and F. Scott Schafer and copyright of The Syfy Channel, so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any form. Thanks!

Eureka’s Jaime Paglia – Small Town Kinda Guy

July 22, 2009
Colin Ferguson (Sheriff Jack Carter), Joe Morton (Henry Deacon) and Salli Whitfield-Richardson (Dr. Allison Blake) in the season three Eureka episode "Welcome Back Carter." Photo by Marcel Williams and copyright of the Syfy Channel

Colin Ferguson (Sheriff Jack Carter), Joe Morton (Henry Deacon) and Salli Richardson-Whitfield (Dr. Allison Blake) in the season three Eureka episode "Welcome Back Carter." Photo by Marcel Williams and copyright of the Syfy Channel

BELIEVE it or not, it was three years ago that Eureka co-creator and executive producer Jaime Paglia first invited audiences into the small Pacific Northwest town where, thanks to the local government-run think tank Global Dynamics, just about anything scientifically and technologically-speaking can happen. The brains behind Eureka may be working towards the betterment of humanity, but their results often end up endangering the town and its locals.

Midway through the show’s third season, Sheriff Jack Carter prevented a doomsday weapon from destroying Eureka. However, when he let Eva Thorne, one of the scientists involved in a pre-Eureka research project on atomic bombs, go free, he was fired. That was last summer. Earlier this month, Eureka returned to the Syfy Channel with 10 brand new episodes to finish out its third season, which was part of the plan all along according to Paglia.

“The reason that this order [for season three] got split the way it did was because once the writers’ strike [of 2007] resolved itself, it was a matter of, ‘OK, hurry up and catch up,'” explains the executive producer. “In order to stay on track for having episodes to air last summer in Eureka‘s regular time-slot, we were only able to physically shoot and complete eight episodes.

“So as opposed to doing the full 18-episode run all at once, we wrote and shot eight, then took a brief hiatus while the writers furiously caught up on scripts so that we’d have more material to shoot, and gave the cast and crew a little breather. Then we went back and shot the last 10 episodes. We’d hoped that they were going to air earlier this year, around February, but economics being what they are, the network elected to hold them until this summer.

“We planned to do a mini-arc with the Eva Thorne [Frances Fisher] character and that was something we wanted to resolve. We had discovered the challenges of sometimes doing a longer mythology arc that you then might not be able to explore in every episode the way we would want to. And I think we decided it was easier to focus on the active element of the first eight episodes of this [third] season and resolve things a bit quicker. That, in turn, allowed us to create a whole new mini-arc for the remaining 10 episodes, and it felt like a really nice, manageable way to approach the story breaking process.”

An unemployed Sheriff Carter happily lends a hand to help his friends out in "Welcome Back Carter." Photo by Marcel Williams and copyright of the Syfy Channel

An unemployed Sheriff Carter happily lends a hand to help his friends out in "Welcome Back Carter." Photo by Marcel Williams and copyright of the Syfy Channel

In the mid-season cliffhanger From Fear to Eternity, the lives of many of our favorite Eureka characters were turned upside-down. Besides Jack Carter’s (Colin Ferguson) dismissal by General Mansfield (Barclay Hope), the sheriff’s teenage daughter Zoe (Jordan Hinson) almost died as a result of her exposure to an aging compound that killed Eva Thorne’s colleagues. Dr. Allison Blake (Salli Richardson-Whitfield) also discovered that she was pregnant with her deceased husband Dr. Nathan Stark’s (Ed Quinn) child. All these developments, coupled with various behind-the-scenes goings-on, steered the show’s writers in a certain direction when it came to writing the rest of the season.

“There were some curve balls thrown at us midway through this season,” notes Paglia. “Some were production related, and others were just the types of things that happen with peoples’ personal lives that, in turn, can affect how you break stories. All those elements definitely had an impact on what we ended up doing with these back 10 episodes.

“We wanted to introduce a new love interest for Jack Carter and change the dynamic that we’ve traditionally had with him and Nathan Stark as these two Alpha males battling over the Alpha female. Also, with Stark’s passing, we wanted to bring in a new character, which we did in Dr. Tess Fontana, played by Jamie Ray Newman. Tess and Allison have a history. They’re old friends, but that also gets a little tense when Tess and Carter start to develop a romantic connection, which was, I think, really fun to play out.

“Something else we wanted to do was step up the relationship between Deputy Jo Lupo [Erica Cerra] and Zane Donovan [Niall Matter] and challenge it as far as if it’s a short-term thing or something more,” continues the executive producer. “Then there was Zoe and her boyfriend Lucas [Vanya Asher]. She’s coming to an age now where they’re talking about college and whether or not they’re planning to go to the same school and things of that nature. So I think it gave us a chance to really deepen the relationships and those connections and go to places that we haven’t before. That’s a challenge writing-wise and probably a lot more satisfying for our cast of actors to play as well.”

The second half of Eureka‘s third season opens with Welcome Back Carter. In it, Carter and Zoe contemplate leaving Eureka as the ex-sheriff looks for a new job. Meanwhile, everyone in town is surprised when Carter is replaced with Fargo’s (Neil Grayston) latest invention, a robotic sheriff named Andy (Ty Olsson). Unfortunately, the congenial and civic-minded robot is targeted by powerful gravity wells, which repeatedly crush him. Carter investigates and ultimately teams up with Andy to help save the day. Realizing that Jack is better suited to uphold law and order in Eureka. Andy helps Henry (Joe Morton) get him reinstated.

Sheriff Carter and Douglas Fargo (Neil Grayston). Photo by Marcel Williams and copyright of the Syfy Channel

Sheriff Carter and Douglas Fargo (Neil Grayston). Photo by Marcel Williams and copyright of the Syfy Channel

“I’d like to have Sheriff Andy make a return to the show,” says Paglia. “He nearly did in this season’s finale, but I would say looking forward optimistically to season four, I think it would be great to have him back on some kind of recurring basis.

Welcome Back Carter is probably the most challenging episode we did in these back 10. There’s a sort of constant push and pull that goes on when you’re making a show like ours because you’re obviously tied to a certain budget. You do everything you can with that budget, and with that in mind, the [visual effects] guys who put the show together kill themselves to give us more than we’re even paying for. I mean, they really extend themselves and I think they’re more critical than any of us when it comes to saying, ‘You know what, if we did just one more thing it would be better.’

“One example of that is the final action sequence in this episode where Jack and Andy are in the barn. Probably two-thirds of those [VFX] shots were not originally budgeted, but creatively everyone agreed that they really needed to be there. So the networks and the studio came through with the extra money and the guys did everything in their power to get it done.”

Following Welcome Back Carter is the episode Your Face or Mine, in which Erica Cerra plays two very different versions of her Deputy Lupo character. Paglia is quite complimentary of her work as well as Colin Ferguson’s, who made his Eureka directorial debut with this episode.

“This was an opportunity where we really wanted to allow some of our other cast members to be the focus of the story, and Erica really stepped up to the task,” says the executive producer. “And Colin might be a little biased, but I think it’s probably one of our favorite episodes of these back 10.

“Colin did a terrific job of directing and he’ll be doing it again. This was actually the first episode that we shot of these back 10, and we specifically did that so that Colin would be able to prep his episode as a director without having to worry about acting in the previous one. This presented some interesting challenges for the writers, but we welcomed that as it gave us a chance to write a script that wasn’t Carter-driven in every scene. That said, he’s absolutely a presence through the episode. Colin got to be a fun comedic runner without having to be ferried from one set to another, which would have really impacted his work as a director.

Deputy Jo Lupo (Erica Cerra) and Allison try to figure out who's who in "Your Face or Mine." Photo by Marcel Williams and copyright of the Syfy Channel

Deputy Jo Lupo (Erica Cerra) and Allison try to figure out who's who in "Your Face or Mine." Photo by Marcel Williams and copyright of the Syfy Channel

“So it all really worked, and I think it proves that we have an amazing supporting cast who we can put in the center of a story and still have it feel like our show.”

Paglia previously spoke of the introduction of  Tess Fontana as a new romantic interest for Carter in these upcoming Eureka episodes. How will this impact the sheriff’s and Allison’s relationship in the future? “We want them to truly ‘earn’ what they have relationship-wise,” he muses. “Most of us have had those unrequited relationships in our lives – those missed opportunities where the timing just wasn’t right or things went in a different direction. And you always wonder what if you had managed to work things out.

“As you know, we forced Carter and Allison apart in season two. She was taking over Global Dynamics and Stark was getting much closer to her and trying to help [her son] Kevin [Meshach Peters]. That was a very deliberate choice on our part to put Carter in a place of not trusting Allison for the first time because she was making some choices that were guided much more by her own personal interests and love for her child. And with the proposal from Stark at the end of the season, it really put a cap on the fact that she was going to go down that road.

“Of course, all that changed when Nathan died in what was a very noble way. Then there’s this pregnancy that’s left over and how is that going to affect Carter’s and Allison’s relationship. You’ll see as the rest of this season unfolds that their friendship has developed. It’s interesting when another woman comes into the mix and one who Allison had a previous relationship with. She sees that Tess could potentially make Carter happy and has to make the unselfish, or selfish, choice about whether or not to be supportive of that. Salli, Colin and Jamie Ray really play that dynamic nicely.

“There has been a recurring theme that we’ve tried to weave into the episodes over the past few seasons, which is do they [Carter and Allison] or don’t they have ‘a thing.’ You just have to have a little faith. It may take a long time to get there, and it’s not going to be the same road that was traveled down in the alternate time-line at the end of season one. We’ve seen different characters end up getting married and different characters being the parents of the kids. When Allison was pregnant at the end of year one it was with Carter, and last season it was actually with Stark. Those changes are part of the show. But as for Allison and Carter ending up together, well, there’s still the potential. After all, you never know what the future holds, but if you believe strongly enough and maintain those connections, anything is possible.

Dr. Allison Blake in "Your Face or Mine." Photo by Marcel Williams and copyright of the Syfy Channel

Dr. Allison Blake in "Your Face or Mine." Photo by Marcel Williams and copyright of the Syfy Channel

Sadly, Eureka fans hoping to see the return of Dr. Stark this year will be disappointed as that is not in the cards. However, there are some other familiar faces that will be making a comeback. “I don’t want to and can’t spoil it, but I can tell you that there are two characters that have been a major part of our series and will be making a reappearance,” teases Paglia. “Along with that, Lexi Carter, who is played by Ever Carradine, will be back for a few episodes and she’s great. We also have Billy Campbell [The 4400] coming in for an episode. But, yes, we do have two favorites who will be returning.”

And what about the show’s “big bad?” At the very end of Welcome Back Carter, an alien object is detected to be heading straight for Eureka. Can Paglia shed any light on how it may manifest itself? “We wanted to have another big bad,” says the executive producer, “but we wanted it to be something different as well as have it sort of tie into the historical aspect of our characters and the town on a personal level.

“So instead of it necessarily being a person, it’s a thing, and we don’t know what it is. The question is, is it from out there? Is it man-made? It’s coming towards Eureka and we have to deal with it, and that has, again, allowed us to introduce some new characters and bring back some old ones who we haven’t seen in a while.”

When it comes to a “wish list” Eureka episode, Paglia definitely as one. “There’s the concept that we’ve had for a really long time that focuses on Carter’s smart house, S.A.R.A.H. [Self-Actuated Residential Automated Habitat] and her desire to not just be literally a housewife to Carter, but to get out there, find a job and experience the world,” he says. “There was an episode in season two called Duck, Duck, Goose where S.A.R.A.H. was downloaded in a smart car for a while and was able to get out and feel the wind in her hair so to speak. However, she hasn’t managed to become personified yet, and I have an idea who I would like to play that character if we ever get a chance to do it. And I’ll just say that the actress happens to be on Battlestar Galactica.”

Having occupied a Tuesday night time-slot on the Syfy Channel since its premiere, Eureka has been moved to Friday nights for the remained of its third season. With the shift, the series has continued to go from strength to strength, much to Paglia’s delight.

Carter and Dr. Tess Fontana (Jamie Ray Newman) try to save the day in the season three episode "Insane in the P-Brane." Photo by Marcel Williams and copyright of the Syfy Channel

Carter and Dr. Tess Fontana (Jamie Ray Newman) try to save the day in the season three episode "Insane in the P-Brane." Photo by Marcel Williams and copyright of the Syfy Channel

“I’m happy that Syfy has sort of staked out a hold on Syfy Friday’s for the channel,” says the executive producer. “Naturally, when you’ve got a time-slot that seems to be working for you, there’s always that little trepidation about throwing any curve balls into the mix. However, we premiered to record numbers and have managed to hold onto our number one status on the channel.

“We’ve actually built our audience even more and we want to see those numbers continue to grow. I’m hoping that we can maintain that on Friday nights. The network has always been very supportive of the series and I don’t think they would have moved us if they didn’t believe we could not hold our own. Hopefully, that will prove to be the case.”

Steve Eramo

As noted above, all photos by Marcel Williams and copyright of the Syfy Channel, so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any form. Thanks!

The Syfy Channel Annouces Its Fall Line-Up

July 20, 2009

ON the heels of its successful summer series launches, Syfy will continue its tradition of imagination-fueled original entertainment this fall with a strong line-up of series and season premieres, along with new episodes of some of its most popular returning shows. Syfy’s fall 2009 line-up includes:

Stargate Universe – New Series Premieres October 2nd @ 9 p.m. (2-hour premiere). Airs Fridays @ 9 p.m. beginning October 9th.

Syfy’s upcoming one-hour series, Stargate Universe, follows a band of soldiers, scientists and civilians who must fend for themselves as they are forced through a Stargate when their hidden base comes under attack. The desperate survivors emerge aboard an ancient ship, which is locked on an unknown course and unable to return to Earth. Faced with meeting the most basic needs of food, water and air, the group must unlock the secrets of the ship’s Stargate to survive. The danger, adventure and hope they find on-board the Destiny will reveal the heroes and villains among them.

Set to premire in October 2009 with a two-hur special, the series stars Robert Carlyle (Transpotting, The Full Monty), Lou Diamond Phillips (Che, La Bamba), Ming-Na (ER, Vanished), Alaina Huffman, Louis Ferreira, David Blue, Jamil Walker Smith and Brian J. Smith with special guest-stars, Grammy nominated artist Janelle Monae, Amanda Tapping, Michael Shanks, Gary Jones and Carlo Rota.

Edgier and younger in tone, Stargate Universe will take the franchise in a dynamic new direction, appealing to longtime Stargate fans and first-time viewers alike. The two-part premiere is directed by Andy Mikita (Stargate Atlantis, Stargate SG-1) and lensed by Ronn Schmidt (The Shield, The Mist). Robert C. Cooper and Brad Wright (Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis) serve as executive producers and writers on the new series. Stargate Universe is distributed by MGM Worldwide Television Distribution.

Destination Truth – Season Three Premieres September 9th @ 9 p.m.

This fall, Syfy will premiere the third season of its reality hit, Destination Truth. World traveler and intrepid explorer Josh Gates will return to host nine all-new episodes – each an off-the-map adventure in search of the answers to some of the world’s most intriguing unexplained mysteries. This season on Destination Truth, Josh will travel to some of the most extreme locations on Earth, including the isolated Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan and the heart of the worlds worst nuclear accident at Chernobyl. Viewers will also ride along on unprecedented investigations, including the world’s first overnight exploration of King Tut’s cursed tomb and pitch-black dives in ancient Caribbean caves.

A graduate of Boston’s renowned Tufts University, Josh holds degrees in archaeology and drama, and was recently inducted into The Explorers Club, a prestigious global organization dedicated to the advancement of exploration and field research. An avid scuba diver, he has participated in sub-sea archaeological excavations in the Mediterranean and his work as a photographer has taken him from sweltering African villages to the icy heights of the Himalayas. In addition, he has scaled “the roof of Africa” on Mt. Kilimanjaro, climbed Aconcagua, the tallest mountain in the Americas, and set foot in more than 75 countries around the world.

Destination Truth is executive producer by Brad Kuhlman for Ping Pong Productions (1,000 Places to See Before You Die, Celebrity Rehab, FM Nation). Bechara Gholam will serves as co-executive producer.

Sanctuary – Season Two Premieres Friday, October 9th @ 10 p.m.

Syfy’s groundbreaking hit original series Sanctuary, the first TV show based on an online series to be picked up for a second season, will return to Syfy in October. Sanctuary follows the adventures of the beautiful, enigmatic and always surprising Dr. Helen Magnus (Amanda Tapping), a brilliant scientist who holds the secrets of a clandestine population – a group of strange and sometimes terrifying beings that hide among humans. Along with forensic psychiatrist Dr. Will Zimmerman (Robin Dunne) and her fearless daughter Ashley (Emilie Ullerup), Magnus seeks to protect those threatened phenomena as well as unlock the mysteries behind their existence. Joining the cast in season two is Agam Darshi as Kate Freelander, a con artist and thief who finds herself in an uneasy alliance with Dr. Magnus. Sanctuary also starts Ryan Robbins as tech whiz Henry and Christopher Heyerdahl as the sinister John Druitt.

Special guest-stars this season include Christopher Gauthier (Eureka) and Michael Shanks (Stargate SG-1). Created by Damian Kindler (Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis), Sanctuary is produced in association with Syfy and distributed by Tricon Films and Television. Season Two of the series is executive produced by Damian Kindler, Amanda Tapping, Martin Wood and Keith Beedie.

Scare Tactics – Season Three Episodes Return Tuesday, October 6th @ 9 p.m.

Syfy’s hidden camera reality show Scare Tactics is hosted by famed comedian Tracy Morgan. The hit series captures its frightened victims who have been set up by friends and loved ones. Unsuspecting victims are placed into elaborately staged scary situations involving movie-style special effects and make-up. The horror hoaxes are skillfully designed to tap into the wildest fears of the prank’s prey. Viewers laugh along to the hilarious reactions of the show’s “stars” as they are caught off-guard and on camera. Scott Hallock and Kevin Healey of Hallock Healey Entertainment are the executive producers and creators of Scare Tactics.

Ghost Hunters – All-New Episodes Throughout The Fall – Wednesdays @ 9 p.m. Featuring special guest-investigators Meatloaf and Josh Gates.

This fall, Syfy presents all-new episodes of Ghost Hunters every Wednesday @ 9 p.m. Get in the spirit with Jason, Grant and the rest of the TAPS team as they embark on chilling new investigations including a host of historic haunts as well as some of the most daunting locales featured on the show yet, such as the massive long-abandoned Essex County Hospital in New Jersey. In October, music superstar and longtime Ghost Hunter fan Meatloaf will join the team as a guest-investigator in a special episode featuring a home in Thousand Islands, NY, one of last year’s finalist locales in the Great American Ghost Hunters contest.

Ghost Hunters is produced in association with Craig Piligian’s Pilgrim Films and Television (Dirty Jobs, The Ultimate Fighter, My Fair Wedding). Piligian and Thomas Thayer, along with Rob Katz and Alan David, serve as executive producers.

Warehouse 13 – All-New Episodes Throughout September – Tuesdays @ 9 p.m.

Syfy’s newest one-hour hit dramedy series Warehouse 13 continues through September 2nd with a host of special guest-stars including Battlestar Galactica’s Micheal Hogan; Eureka‘s Joe Morton, Erica Cerra and Niall Matter and Stargate Atlantis‘ Joe Flanigan. Warehouse 13 follows two Secret Service agents who find themselves abruptly transferred to a massive, top-secret storage facility in windswept South Dakota, which houses every strange artifact, mysterious relic, fantastical object and supernatural souvenir ever collected by the U.S. government. The Warehouse’s caretaker Artie (Saul Rubinek) charges Pete (Eddie McClintock) and Myka (Joanne Kelly) with chasing down reports of supernatural and paranormal activity in search of new objects to cache at the Warehouse, as well as helping to control the warehouse itself. Warehouse 13 also stars Allison Scagliotti as Claudia Donovan and CCH Pounder guest-stars as Artie’s boss, Mrs. Frederic.

The series is produced for Syfy by Universal Cable Productions. It is executive produced by Jack Kenny (The Book of Daniel), who also serves as showrunner. David Simkins (Dresden Files) is executive producer and Stephen Surjik (Monk, Burn Notice) is producer/director of the show.

The Warehouse Job

June 4, 2009

LAST week, the Sci Fi Channel announced that a number of very familiar names and faces will be guest-starring on its new one-hour dramdy adventure series Warehouse 13. Premiering on Tuesday, July 7th @9pm EST, the program follows two Secret Service agents who find themselves abruptly transferred to a massive, top-secret storage facility in windswept South Dakota, which is home to every strange artifact, mysterious relic, fantastical object and supernatural souvenir ever collected by the U.S. government. The Warehouse’s caretaker Artie (Saul Rubinek) charges Pete (Eddie McClintock) and Myka (Joanne Kelly) with chasing down reports of supernatural and paranormal activity in search of new objects to cache at the Warehouse, as well as helping him to control the warehouse itself.

Some of the annouced guest-stars include:

Ivan Sergei (Crossing Jordan, Charmed) plays Ross, an EMT from Unionville, New York who, along with some of the other townspeople begin to display bizarre behavioral symptoms, including involuntary (and potentially dangerous) expressions of their subconscious desires.

Tricia Helfer  (Battlestar Galactica, Burn Notice) plays FBI Agent Bonnie Belski, who clashes with Pete and Myka when they interfere with a case on her Chicago turf. However, after a third inexplicable bank takeover, she finds herself willing to make use of the agents’ expertise.

Joe Flanigan (Stargate Atlantis, First Monday) portrays the handsome, wealthy Jeff Weaver, whose charm catches Myka’s interest, but he finds himself under her and Pete’s scrutiny when a sculpture on which he bid, vanishes in an impossible heist.

James Naughton (Ally McBeal, Gossip Girl, Planet of the Apes) is Gilbert Radburn, a well-tailored, Donald Trump-esque high-profile entrepreneur. When a competitor threatens his intended acquisition, Radburn’s suspicious behavior attracts the attention of Pete and Myka.

Roger Rees (Cheers, The West Wing) plays MacPherson, one of Artie’s former Warehouse colleagues who has gone rogue and is now competing with the team to gather dangerous and powerful objects for his own use.

Erica Cerra (Eureka, The L Word, Battlestar Galactica) and Niall Matter (Eureka, Watchmen) portray Jillian and Gary Whitman, small-time thieves on the Las Vegas strip whose fortunes, twisted by the strange power of a luck-inducing artifact, take a fantastic turn.

Joe Morton (Eureka, Terminator 2) guest-stars as John Hill, a charismatic prison inmate and an extremist religious leader in a Florida prison.

Michael Hogan (Battlestar Galactica, The L Word) plays Myka’s father Warren Bering, who receives a dangerous object anonymously in the mail which puts his life in jeopardy.