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  • Oct 31 2016 Den of Geek

    Aftermath: Finding the Perfect Genre Mix

    Executive producers Glenn Davis and William Laurin help explore Aftermath’s ability to cross genre boundaries.

    What gives Aftermath its edge-of-your-seat action, emotional depth, and wide audience appeal is undoubtedly its unique twist on some of the most recognizable science fiction, supernatural, and other television conventions. The show manages to set itself apart with its wholly unique approach to an end of the world scenario while still fondly reminding viewers of some recent and classic television fare.

    Aftermath touches on elements of viral outbreaks, creature features, and even disaster stories but what makes the genre crossover work are the cultural roots of the supernatural creatures and the human aspect of those trying to survive the plagues and natural disasters. Plus, of course, it’s all centered around the family dynamics of the Copeland clan headed by Karen (Anne Heche) and Joshua (James Tupper). Here’s a breakdown of how these highlights of the show play out in the minds of its audience, according to showrunners Glenn Davis and William Laurin.

    The Family Drama

    Why it works: If it weren’t for the meteor strikes and natural disasters, Aftermath could be any primetime drama that centers around a single family. The Copeland family shares a close bond but also beliefs that set them apart. Whether seeking to understand each conflict or simply deal with it head on, the arguments and consequences of each situation feel very familiar and comfortable.

    What it reminds us of: With Joshua being a professor of world culturesand Karen being a tough-as-nails fighter pilot, it’s hard not to conjure up Téa Leoni’s Secretary of State and her religion professor husband in Madam Secretary. The main difference in Aftermath is that religion is a source of conflict rather than a background character detail. In fact, the conflict is reminiscent of another skeptic/believer couple: Mulder and Scully of The X-Files.

    What showrunner Glenn Davis says: “We’ve all seen apocalyptic fiction where a  group of ragtag strangers are forced to work together and overcome their natural rivalries and conflicts to survive, but we are looking through the other end of the telescope — starting with a family. Here is a group who knows each other better than anyone else does, who understand each other and who love each other.  It amps up the desperation to survive geometrically.

    “That doesn’t mean that they don’t have all the usual family baggage, there’s lots of stuff between them that gets worked out against this huge, end times background.  But the bottom line is they love each other, they are a unit, and that increases the stakes at every moment.  Plus, very few of us have had to endure massive struggles with a ragtag group of strangers, but we all have a family story.  It makes the stories much more relatable, makes the viewer ask, ‘What would I do in this situation?’”

    The Myth-Based Supernatural Creatures

    Why it works: If it weren’t for the supernatural elements of Aftermath, the show would just be a set of reactions to unexplained natural disasters, perhaps with a climate change agenda — boring! The creatures that emerge provide a historical context both for the dangers the Copelands and others face and for the reasons behind end times, which are an aspect of all major religions and ancient cultures.

    What it reminds us of: Certainly, there’s almost an archaeological, Indiana Jones feel to the cultural research characters on the show must perform in order to survive or at least understand what’s happening. There are also shades of Supernatural, of course, but also some of the over-the-top hijinks of The Librarians where myths become reality.

    What showrunner Glenn Davis says: “The emergence of the creatures and spirits, from a wide variety of cultures and traditions, adds a real gravity to what could otherwise be seen as a series of random events.  Since these creatures and predictions emerge from many cultures and different eras, they tell us that humanity has always had some knowledge, some inkling of the things that are now happening.  It says that this all has meaning.

    “It’s up to our family, and especially Josh, to try to decode that meaning before it is too late.  But as he points out, and the research we did on this show told us this, virtually every culture has an end time story and they are, in important ways, all remarkably similar.  So we have a drama where there are terrifying, life-threatening physical threats to be overcome on a daily basis — but those physical realities and deep and significant cosmological meaning, an overarching mystery to decode.”

    The Plague Outbreak and Natural Disasters

    Why it works: No show currently on the air takes on this many dangers at once, any one of which could wipe out the human race all on its own, never mind the supernatural creatures. Massive hurricanes, tidal waves, and meteor strikes would be enough to deal with, but the insidious, mind-altering plague really takes Aftermath to the next level. Every moment is filled with tension, mistrust, and fear of the unknown.

    What it reminds us of: Many shows explore viral outbreaks as an explanation for their supernatural creatures, even though none do it quite the way Aftermath does. The Strain makes vampirism contagious whereas Z Nation turns its zombies into an infectious vector. The Last Ship perhaps comes closest in viewers’ minds, but let’s face it, this show’s virus is a one-of-a-kind mind killer, both emotionally and physically.

    What showrunner William Laurin says: “Plague is a key idea of Aftermath‘s apocalypse for a number of reasons. First, it’s a touchstone form of blanket death that appears in most, if not all, of the world’s many apocalypse stories. ‘Pestilence’ is often counted as the first of the Four Horsemen, for instance. The plague also provides us with a terrifying ‘quantum’ variable in the storytelling, a totally unpredictable threat that has no telltale warning signs.

    “Finally, and most importantly, the plague gives us the most human vector in our story telling.   Volcanoes, meteors and demonic gods are impersonal threats, appearing from nowhere for unfathomable reasons. The plague, on the other hand, produces pity as well as terror, since its victims remain recognizably human even as they try to tear your face off and eat it. In this they are unlike zombies, whose lack of humanity makes them mere targets in a video game.

    “The murderous police officers in the pilot, for instance, are still convinced that they are heroes doing their jobs, as they murder their way through the countryside. They even have a vague sense that something is wrong, but they’re helpless to know what it is. The plague reminds us of the humanity of killer as well as victim, and with its frightening statistics — a third of the world already dead, and no cure in sight — it’s a constant reminder that nobody gets out of here alive.”

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    It’s a cliche to say a show “has something for everyone,” but Aftermathhas found a recipe that works for combining the best ingredients from sci-fi, supernatural, and horror tales into one outrageous stew. Plenty of shows alternate gut-wrenching terror and swashbuckling adventure with tender emotional moments for their characters, but none have matched the comfort of a close knit family unit with the utter insanity of a world suddenly in the midst of being torn apart.

    Aftermath doesn’t just have something for everyone; it has everything including the kitchen sink. Although… you might want to check to see if the sink is possessed or inscribed with ancient symbols or something. You just never know with this show.

    Aftermath airs on Tuesdays at 10pm ET on Syfy and continues this week with episode 6, “Madame Sosostris.”

     

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  • Sep 18 2016 Vancouver Sun

    Aftermath, Van Helsing lead Vancouver’s apocalyptic sci-fi charge

    Wayne Brady is better known as the quick-witted funny man who lights up TV game shows like Whose Line Is It Anyway and Let’s Make A Deal. You’d be hard-pressed to think of him as a gun-toting tough guy decked in camo gear ready to take on the end of the world.

    Starts Sept. 27Space (Canada) and Syfy (U.S.)

     

    Wayne Brady is better known as the quick-witted funny man who lights up TV game shows like Whose Line Is It Anyway and Let’s Make A Deal.

    You’d be hard-pressed to think of him as a gun-toting tough guy decked in camo gear ready to take on the end of the world.

    Yet that’s exactly what Brady will be doing in forthcoming television series Aftermath, shot in Vancouver this summer.

    The show, which premieres on Space in Canada on Sept. 27, stars Anne Heche and real-life husband James Tupper as they fight for survival, along with their three children, in a civilization on the brink of collapse.

    “Doing things like this is the actor’s dream,” Brady said in a phone interview. “I’m a big sci-fi and comic nerd. I’ve read comic books my entire life. When it comes to zombie flicks and video games, I’m pretty much a 44-year-old man with a 13-year-old boy trapped inside of him, like a lot of us are.”

    Brady will appear as Lamar “Booner” Boone, a former acquaintance of main character Karen Copeland (Heche) who helps the family escape attacks from a yet unrevealed army of creatures (hint: not zombies). In one scene shot on the BCIT campus this summer, Brady was gleefully playing up shooting at and blowing up imaginary baddies, which would later be added to the scene thanks to the magic of CGI.

    “To run around with your fake gun, spouting military dialogue and ducking and dodging — that’s just what I used to do in the front yard as a kid,” Brady said.

    Brady added his dream gig would be to reprise the role of Dr. Scott Beckett in a Quantum Leap reboot, should there ever be one. (The role catapulted Scott Bakula to fame and earned him a Golden Globe.)

    “I’ve lobbied for it,” Brady said. “Quantum Leap is, for my money, the perfect time travel story, yet it’s grounded in science. Those stories were awesome. I’d love to be the next doctor in Quantum Leap or be the next doctor in Doctor Who, that’s the holy grail.”

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  • Sep 16 2016 TV Wise

    5Star Acquires UK Rights To Syfy’s ‘Aftermath’

    5Star has acquired the exclusive first run UK broadcast right to Syfy’s upcoming original series Aftermath after striking a deal with NBCUniversal International Distribution.

    5Star has acquired the exclusive first run UK broadcast right to Syfy’s upcoming original series Aftermath after striking a deal with NBCUniversal International Distribution, TVWise has learned.

    Aftermath follows one family – Karen and Joshua Copeland and their children Dana, Brianna and Matt – who must battle for survival after civilization comes to an apocalyptic end, triggered by massive storms, meteor strikes, earthquakes and plague, as well as the rise of supernatural creatures.

    The 13 episode drama series is a co-production between Syfy and Space, the Canadian broadcaster behind Killjoys, and hails from independent production company Halfire Entertainment and series creators/shworunners William Laurin and Glenn Davis. The cast includes Anne Heche (Hung), James Tupper (Revenge), Levi Meaden (The Killing), Julia Sarah Stone (The Killing), Taylor Hickson (Deadpool). Leslie Hope (24) guest stars.

    After using the channel as little more than a dumping ground for repeats for several years, Channel 5 has been heavily investing in exclusive content for 5Star since the Viacom acquisition and subsequent re-brand, which, per acquisitions executive Marie-Claire Dunlop, saw the channel position itself as a home for “younger-skewing content” and “fun, sexy, glossy shows”.

    Afermath, which is set to premiere next month, is the latest acquisition that fits in with that new remit. Other younger-skewing, glossy first run scripted shows that the channel has acquired in recent months include critically acclaimed FX comedy You’re The Worst, starring Chris Geere and Aya Cash; MTV’s high concept fantasy series The Shannara Chronicles, based on Terry Brooks’ novels; and fellow Syfy series The Magicians.

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  • Sep 16 2016 Three If By Space

    Float It Or Watch it: Syfy’s Aftermath

    When the world as they know it starts coming to an end, the Copeland family must face terrifying supernatural creatures and unprecedented disasters, including massive storms, earthquakes, meteor impacts, plague and the rapid decline of civilization. Will they be able to make it through – and figure out how to stop it?

    When the world as they know it starts coming to an end, the Copeland family must face terrifying supernatural creatures and unprecedented disasters, including massive storms, earthquakes, meteor impacts, plague and the rapid decline of civilization. Will they be able to make it through – and figure out how to stop it?

    Diasters, massive storms, earthquakes and meteors. Everything you want to see in a show about the end of the world. Plus we get Anne Heche who plays the mom, and her real life husband James Tupper, playing her husband. That alone makes the series sound interesting. The show is produced by Halfire Entertainment in association with Syfy and Space. However, natural disasters are not the only thing going on in Aftermath. Add demonic possession and a virus that makes someone go completely crazy and you have Aftermath.

    I would almost have thought this series was produced by the same group who did Sharknado but it’s not. The premiere episode which airs September 27th is going to leave you scratching your head a bit. We are thrown right into the events as they unfold without any warning. The first half of the episode feels like a Saturday monster movie that really doesn’t take itself all that serious. We have no idea why anything is happening and the ‘spirits’ that possess people are behind strange. As one of the cast members said in the video above, the series is unconventional.

    By the time we get through the second half however, the show starts to actually get interesting. Sure we have no f**cking clue why demons are suddenly appearing during what appears to be the end of the world but the writers give us some ‘outs’ on this. Joshua Copeland (Tupper), is a Professor. His knowledge of long fallen civilizations may help save our current one from ending and give us some insight into the ancient mythologies the writers are pulling from.

    The virus side of the disasters reminds me a bit of Fear The Walking Dead and the early days of The Walking Dead. You know, the good old days. The bottom line is, if you can go into this series without being too serious about it and just expect a disaster porn filled supernatural end of times plot line, you will be just fine.

    Our verdict on this Syfy series is: WATCH IT

    It may be the hell spawn child of Sharknado and Z-Nation but its got natural disasters, supernatural creatures and a crazy zombie like virus.

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  • Sep 07 2016 Empire

    David Cronenberg, Edward Holcroft and more on for Netflix’s Alias Grace

    You may already know about Netflix's planned new miniseries Alias Grace, which evolved from a planned cinematic Margaret Atwood adaptation by Sarah Polley. The cast is increasing in number, with an eclectic group signing on including David Cronenberg (making one of his occasional excursions in front of the camera) Kingsman's Edward Holcroft, Kerr Logan, Rebecca Liddiard and Paul Gross.

    You may already know about Netflix’s planned new miniseries Alias Grace, which evolved from a planned cinematic Margaret Atwood adaptation by Sarah Polley. The cast is increasing in number, with an eclectic group signing on including David Cronenberg (making one of his occasional excursions in front of the camera) Kingsman‘s Edward Holcroft, Kerr Logan, Rebecca Loddiard and Paul Gross.

    Polley is overseeing the series, but Mary Harron will be in the director’s chair. Atwood’s 1996 novel is based around the true story of Grace Marks (Sarah Gadon) and James McDermott, two servants in the household of one Thomas Kinnear (Gross), who were convicted of his murder, and that of his housekeeper Nancy Montgomery (Anna Paquin), in Canada in 1843. Focusing, obviously enough, on Grace, the book is told through the letters of a (fictional) psychologist investigating her claims of amnesia, and through the voice of Grace herself. Not a conventional murder mystery in any sense, Grace’s guilt or innocence isn’t the point, with Atwood using the case to explore 19th-Century notions of gender and class.

    The cameras are set to roll in Toronto and elsewhere in Ontario starting this week and the result should hit Netflix next year.

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  • Aug 16 2016 Entertainment Weekly

    Anna Paquin signs on for Alias Grace miniseries on Netflix

    Anna Paquin is taking on a starring role in an upcoming historical fiction mini-series for Netflix and CBC. The True Blood actress will play a murdered housekeeper in the upcoming adaptation of Alias Grace.

    Anna Paquin is taking on a starring role in an upcoming historical fiction mini-series for Netflix and CBC. The True Blood actress will play a murdered housekeeper in the upcoming adaptation of Alias Grace.

    Based on the 1996 Margaret Atwood novel of the same name, Alias Grace reimagines the story of two actual murders that took place in 1843 in Canada. The actual case found two household servants named Grace Marks and James McDermott guilty of the murder of the head of the household, Thomas Kinnear, and another housekeeper, Nancy Montgomery.

    Paquin will play Montgomery in the new series, the housekeeper and lover of Kinnear who grows to resent the new servant Grace Marks when her beloved starts to show affection for her. Sarah Gadon (11.22.63) will portray Grace Marks, and Zachary Levi has signed on for a currently unannounced role.

    “Anna is an incredibly versatile performer who always makes complex, unpredictable, and fascinating choices in her work,” said the series’ executive producer Sarah Polley in a statement. “It’s always a marvel to watch her and we’re thrilled to have her join the cast.”

    Alias Grace will consist of six one-hour episodes. The mini-series began shooting in Ontario on Monday.

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  • Aug 09 2016 Variety.com

    Netflix Nabs Sarah Polley Miniseries Based on Margaret Atwood True-Crime Novel

    Netflix will soon be adding a historical true-crime drama to its queue. The streaming service is teaming up with Halfire Entertainment and Canadian broadcaster CBC on the six-hour miniseries “Alias Grace,” based on Margaret Atwood’s novel of the same name about convicted murderer Grace Marks.

    Netflix will soon be adding a historical true-crime drama to its queue.

    The streaming service is teaming up with Halfire Entertainment and Canadian broadcaster CBC on the six-hour miniseries “Alias Grace,” based on Margaret Atwood’s novel of the same name about convicted murderer Grace Marks.

    The series is being written and produced by Sarah Polley (“Away From Her”), and directed by Mary Harron (“American Psycho”). “Alias Grace” will be broadcast in Canada on CBC and will stream globally on Netflix.

    “Alias Grace” follows Grace Marks, a poor Irish immigrant and domestic servant living in Canada who, along with stable hand James McDermott, was convicted in 1843 of the murders of their employer, Thomas Kinnear, and his housekeeper, Nancy Montgomery. James was hanged while Grace was sentenced to life in prison. Marks became one of the most notorious women of 1840s Canada for her alleged role in the double murder, and was eventually exonerated after 30 years in jail.

    “I first read ‘Alias Grace’ when I was 17 years old and throughout the last 20 years I have read it over and over, trying to get to the bottom of it,” Polley said. “Grace Marks, as captured by Margaret Atwood, is the most complex, riveting character I have ever read. I’m thrilled that Mary Harron has taken the project on. I know that her ability to create suspense, tension, and delve into the dark, unknowable aspects of her characters will bring this piece alive. I can;t wait for us to bring the many versions of Grace’s gripping story, and the questions they raise, to television audiences.”

    Published in 1996, “Alias Grace” was awarded the Giller Prize and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Payback,” “The Robber Bride,” “The Sin Eater” and “Surfacing” are among Atwood’s other novels that have been adapted for film and TV. Kids’ CBC recently greenlit an animated series based on Atwood’s children’s book “The Wide World of Wandering Wenda.”

    “Sarah Polley has done a brilliant adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s classic novel, which combines the richness of period drama with the tension and mystery of a modern day ‘Serial,’” Harron said. “It is an honour to be chosen to take this captivating story to the screen and to give new audiences the thrill of watching it unfold.”

    Polley, Harron and Noreen Halpern will executive produce, while D.J. Carson co-produces.

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  • Jun 24 2016 CBC

    Sarah Gadon to star in Alias Grace, Margaret Atwood’s joint CBC-Netflix miniseries

    Canadian actress to play the character of Grace Marks in screen adaptation of Giller Prize-winning novel.

    Toronto-born actress Sarah Gadon has been cast in the lead role of the upcoming CBC and Netflix miniseries, Alias Grace, based on author Margaret Atwood’s 1996 historical true crime novel.

    The six-hour miniseries centres around Gadon’s character, Grace Marks — an Irish immigrant and maid who was convicted, along with stable hand James McDermott, of a double murder in 1843.

    McDermott was hanged, while Marks was sentenced to life in prison, but exonerated after 30 years. Her conviction drummed up much debate about whether she actually committed the crimes or was an accessory to the brutal killings.

    CBC and Netflix will adapt Margaret Atwood’s 1996 novel, Alias Grace, for the small screen, with production to start in August 2016. (McClelland & Stewart)

    Gadon is the latest high profile Canadian talent to sign on to the screen adaptation of Atwood’s crime drama, joining director Mary Harron (American Psycho, I Shot Andy Warhol) and writer/producer Sarah Polley (Take this Waltz, Away from Her).

    Her participation comes on the heels of acting in another TV miniseries based on a book — Stephen King’s time travel thriller11.22.63 — where she played a Texan librarian opposite James Franco, whose character goes back in time to try and prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

    The eight episode series, executive produced by J.J. Abrams and partly shot in Guelph, Ontario, became available on the US streaming service Hulu in February and was generally well-received.

    The 29-year-old actress is well known for her work on feature films directed by Canadian David Cronenberg, including A Dangerous Method, Cosmopolis, and Maps to the Stars.

    Alias Grace is scheduled to begin filming in Ontario on August 15, 2016. It will be broadcast in Canada on CBC and stream globally on Netflix.

    Link to article 

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  • May 06 2016 Den of Geek

    Aftermath Brings Anne Heche and James Tupper to Syfy

    The real-life couple star in a new post-apocalypse show that blends natural disasters with supernatural elements.

    Everyone enjoys a little post-apocalypse in their summer, and this year Syfy will be offering up a star-studded sci-fi thriller called Aftermath. Real life married couple, Anne Heche and James Tupper will star in the family-centered survival drama in a world devastated by natural disasters, now experiencing the rise of supernatural creatures as well.

    In this show, created by showrunners William Laurin and Glenn Davis, Heche and Tupper will play parents, Karen and Joshua Copeland, who are protecting their teenaged children from the dangers this new world poses, and each family member brings unique skills or difficulties to the table. Karen, for example, draws on the combat skills and survival training she received as an Air Force pilot, whereas Joshua, as a university professor who studies world cultures, has unique abilities and insights that may help him decode the events of the apocalypse.

    Their children, Dana (Julia Sarah Stone of The Killing), Brianna (Taylor Hickson of Deadpool), and Matt (Levi Meaden of The Killing) also contribute to the family’s ability to navigate the wasteland. Dana has a thorough knowledge of science, and although Matt is certainly pushed into a life of brutality, his fierce competitiveness could be an asset as well.

    Aftermath will be produced by Halfire Entertainment, whose president, Noreen Halpern, comments, “We are incredibly fortunate to have James Tupper and Anne Heche take on the roles of Joshua and Karen Copeland. They are both such incredibly talented actors and no better way to create a family on screen then starting with a real one.”

    Chris Regina, Senior VP at Syfy, adds, “Tupper and Heche are a perfect fit for Aftermath since they embody the tenacity and intelligence needed to lead viewers and our fictional family through the unpredictable, mysterious journey at the end of the world.”

    Production on the 13-episode season begins in Vancouver on May 9, and the show is set to air in late summer 2016 on Syfy in the states and on Space in Canada.

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  • May 05 2016 Deadline Hollywood

    James Tupper & Anne Heche To Topline Post-Apocalyptic Series ‘Aftermath’

    Real-life couple James Tupper (Revenge, Men In Trees) and Anne Heche (Hung, Men in Trees) will star as husband and wife in Aftermath, the Canadian post-apocalyptic thriller series from Noreen Halpern’s Halfire Entertainment. It’s set to premiere on Syfy in the U.S. and Bell Media’s Space in Canada later this summer.

    Real-life couple James Tupper (Revenge, Men In Trees) and Anne Heche (Hung, Men in Trees) will star as husband and wife in Aftermath, the Canadian post-apocalyptic thriller series from Noreen Halpern’s Halfire Entertainment. It’s set to premiere on Syfy in the U.S. and Bell Media’s Space in Canada later this summer.

    Tupper and Heche will play Joshua and Karen Copeland who, along with their three teenagers, must battle for survival after civilization comes to an apocalyptic end, triggered by devastating natural disasters – and the rise of supernatural creatures. The series was created by William Laurin and Glenn Davis, who will executive produce with Julie Hope. Suzanne Berger and Connie Dolphin will produce.

    Tupper is repped by Untitled, UTA, and attorney Jamie Mandelbaum. Heche is repped by Untitled, Paradigm, and attorney Ashley Nissenberg.

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