If you liked The X-Files or Fringe you’ll love Debris on NBC
First of all, this is not a sponsored post. I just didn’t know how else to word the title for this story. I’m reporting this because I want Debris to get a second season and it’s only getting a fraction of the hype it should for what a good show it is. This is the best scifi series I’ve seen since The X-Files and I’ve heard it compared to Fringe, which I haven’t watched yet. (Showrunner J.H. Wyman was actually a producer for Fringe.) The premise is that parts of an alien spacecraft have fallen to earth and that they affect people and communities in different supernatural ways. Agents Bryan Beneventi and Finola Jones work together to help mitigate the effects of the debris, making each episode somewhat unique in that they encounter a different challenge. Of course there is an overarching mystery and mysterious forces behind the scenes to unravel too! I’m not going to give away spoilers except to say that this show impresses me every week and that it’s grown on me so much. It’s dark like X-Files and it makes you care deeply about the leads. I feel emotionally invested in them and it’s not always comfortable to watch. Episode 9 was amazing though, and I’ll leave it at that. I was looking for an article to quote about them and I think I’ll use this interview from a couple months ago in Collider with showrunner Wyman. He describes his process without giving away key plot points.
On lead Jonathan Tucker’s acting ability
I call him the American Gary Oldman. He’s so deep and just astounding, and more people should know that. The way he comes to things, I’ll get this call where he goes, “Let me ask you a question about my childhood.” And I’m like, “Yeah, go, shoot.” The detail and specificity that he’s coming at this with, there’s not a false bone in his body.
What I find so riveting about him is that, even when I’m rolling camera on him and he’s not saying anything and he’s just sitting there, he’s got the most incredibly expressive eyes. As a writer, these characters are a part of a whole and you’re always surprised when you find something that transcends what you were originally thinking, but is a perfect fit that you didn’t expect. Jonathan was exactly that for me.
On how they determine the look and properties of the debris
I’m really interested in the debris and the way it does appear. When we were designing what we wanted, there are a couple of different elements to it. There’s the actual piece, and then there’s what it does to physics around it. That’s the answer. I’ve always thought, if visitors ever came, they’re capable of intergalactic travel, so I don’t think our little plane radar and space things would be much of a match for them. If they didn’t want to be seen, I’m pretty sure that they could use physics in ways that we might not even be able to see. So, it’s a mixture between the look of the debris and what it is, but also what it’s doing to its immediate surroundings. What effect is it really having? What does it look like? Is it building certain dimensional walls that we can’t understand? How is it visually being revealed to us? Can you change perspective as you look at it and would it look a little different? I just wanted it to be something that doesn’t really belong in the physics of this world, as we understand it.
On Bryan and Finola’s relationship
Our characters are thrust into this thing and try to figure it out, and they’ll eventually realize that it’s in both of their best interests from, from the standpoint of figuring out what’s going on, but also with human connection and honesty, and discovering somebody that you can really trust and who you can go through this crazy world with. They have to try to figure out what their place is in this and where it’s going. That’s why I look at the first season as an origin story. At the end of the first season, the mythology blows wide open and everything becomes clear. That’s the journey. These people start at complete polar opposites and they’re learning to trust each other and understand that there’s a lot that they don’t know.
On his vision for the show
Going forward, the best way to describe the show is that sometimes it’s mind-bending and huge, and other times, it’s intimate. That’s the kind of mix that I think is working. I want to get into these people’s lives and have quiet moments in the world of insanity that’s going on around them. It doesn’t have to be the same big tent ideas, every single week. You can get really invested in the journey.
For me, the better the science fiction, the more about the human condition it is. There are people that do the little green men way better than me. I don’t do that. I’m really interested in human connected stories that are hopefully some small anecdotes to the cynicism that is out there right now, that I really deeply care about.
It was quite a long interview and Wyman talked in depth about his vision for the show and how great Jonathan Tucker is to work with. You can tell he’s so impressed with Tucker, but I would have liked to hear more about the actress who plays Finola, Riann Steele. She’s phenomenal too. In that last section I excerpted above he really captured the appeal of this show. It’s smart and wide-reaching but it speaks to the human experience and is relatable. It’s very much like X-Files in that way. I would like to see a little more humor in it, similar to the goofy episodes of X-Files, but there’s plenty of time for that. I just hope it gets renewed as I look forward to more of Steele and Tucker on screen. Also thanks to my friend Zakia for introduction me to this show!
Here’s a cute moment!
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