Resurrecting the dead

New show about a boy who comes back from the dead has attracted buzz on social media

Set in a small town in America, Resurrection stars (from left) Omar Epps, Frances Fisher, Kurtwood Smith and Devin Kelley. -- PHOTO: LIFETIME
Set in a small town in America, Resurrection stars (from left) Omar Epps, Frances Fisher, Kurtwood Smith and Devin Kelley. -- PHOTO: LIFETIME

High-concept TV shows with a huge mystery nestling at the centre of their premise are hit and miss, as Lost, Heroes, Under The Dome and FlashForward have shown.

Resurrection, the latest such example, is as high-concept as they come - it is about the dead coming back to life in a small town in the United States.

But its cast members, who were here to promote the show, are confident that their show has the potential to go on for quite a bit.

American actor Omar Epps, 40, tells Life! at an interview at Fullerton Hotel this week: "The show has legs because, essentially, it is a family drama. The concept may be huge and it's hovering over the show, but once you delve into all the characters, it's really about their relationships, which flip and fold, and flip and fold."

His fellow cast member Kurtwood Smith, 70, points out that the show can have longevity because "the sky's the limit, anything can happen".

In the show, which premieres on Lifetime (StarHub TV Channel 514) on Monday, he plays Henry, a man whose son Jacob shows up at his doorstep as an eight-year-old, the same age he was when he drowned more than 30 years ago.

Epps adds that the story could very well be extended to many parts of the world and not be limited to just the state of Missouri, where Resurrection is set.

"In the first season, it's happening in this one place, but it could go on to be in any other part of the world too, as it happens in the book," he says, referring to Jason Mott's novel The Returned, on which the show is based on.

While he may be correct, high- concept shows run the risk of fizzling out after a big opening. That fate has arguably marred the initial successes of such TV shows as FlashForward (2009-2010) and Heroes (2006-2010).

So far, Resurrection has received generally positive reviews since its debut in the US in March. The Washington Post described the show as "a solid yet initially disturbing new drama", while The Wall Street Journal called it a "smartly ordered, sizzling drama, which establishes itself from the opening scene and builds from there".

According to Epps, who is extremely active on Twitter, where he has 1.7 million followers of his account (@omarepps), viewers of Resurrection are going rabid "with the notion of it all".

He says excitedly: "They're going left and right with their theories. They love the twists and turns - they think they've got it cornered and figured it out, but then something happens and they're all like, 'Damn it, what was that?'

"So it's been cool to see all those engagements with the fans."

He points out that this situation is different from when he was working on medical drama House (2004-2012), in which he played doctor Eric Foreman.

"When I did House in 2004, Twitter wasn't Twitter. Social engagement was different - it was all fresh and it didn't really resonate as much back then.

"Now, it's all like ABC Studios saying to you, 'You have a million followers - you have to tweet about the show'," says the actor with a laugh.

At this point, Smith pipes up with a grin: "You have a million followers? I have, like, less than 2,000. That's crazy. Can I have some of your followers?"

His Twitter account (@tahitismith) has around 1,880 followers.

His deadpan comment comes out of nowhere and almost reminds you of the famous sarcastic dad role he played in comedy series That 70s Show (1998-2006), arguably his best-known part to date.

You ask him what plans there are in store regarding the casting of the little boy who plays his son in Resurrection, child actor Landon Gimenez, given that the 10-year-old may have a growth spurt any day.

He pauses and then replies evenly: "I guess we'll just have to kill him."

He then laughs and says: "Nah, we'll see. If there is a season two, it doesn't necessarily have to pick up exactly from where season one ends, right? I'm sure the producers will make something work."

Follow Yip Wai Yee on Twitter


Resurrection premieres on Lifetime (StarHub TV Channel 514) on Monday at 10pm.

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