FlashForward has come out on top this fall, becoming one of ABC’s highest-rated new dramas since Desperate Housewives. TV.com caught up with FlashForward writer Scott Gimple (a former writer for Life), who in an e-mail interview (cautiously) told us everything he could about the kangaroo from the pilot, the writing team's feelings about FlashForward's comparisons to Lost, and the stray dog he adopted on-set.
First things first: What is the deal with the kangaroo? Did it escape from a zoo? Are we going to see more of it?
The kangaroo does, in fact, have a deal, its OWN deal, and we will see said deal. Its deal will be fully dealt with.
Very mysterious. I know that FlashForward showrunner David Goyer has said that there's already a plan for what caused the flash; are we going to find out what it is this season?
My mysteriousness is one part being extra spoiler careful, one part leaving story flexibility (we have a plan, I assure you, but we reserve the right to goof around with it), and one part Goyer and [recently departed showrunner and executive producer Marc Guggenheim] keeping a handful of the details of the flashes locked up away from us.
In the pilot, we saw an Oceanic Air billboard that said something about a "100% safety rating" What does that have to do with the flashforwards? Is there going to be a Lost character/storyline crossover?
It's simply props, nothing more. And by props, I don't mean "property props," I mean just paying some respect. David Goyer is a friend of [Lost co-creator and executive producer] Damon Lindelof, and since both shows are on ABC, it was something fun and fairly easy to pull off. There aren't any crossovers ahead for the shows, nor do we share the same universe. A lot of us are just huge fans, our offices are right next door to theirs, and we share one of their producers, who helps with all of our online stuff and a galaxy of things beyond that.
FlashForward has been compared to Lost quite a bit -- even by the producers. Do you think the comparisons are valid?
The comparisons were kind of inevitable -- our show has sort of a big concept around it, a large cast (with a few of the show's alums, to boot), we're on the same network...
We're not the same show, not by a longshot, and I think the comparison kind of takes a big shortcut -- it's kinda like saying The Mentalist is the new CSI. They have things in common, format and network-wise, but they are vastly different programs.
I once heard Marc Guggenheim say, "We're not being compared to Lost; we're being compared to peoples' memory of the first few seasons of the show." And, that said, we're huge Lost fans and what our shows do have in common is that we have a mythology. We're trying to apply lessons we may have learned as viewers of Lost to what we're doing now. One huge thing is that we do know EXACTLY where we're going. We have it all mapped out and organized on a Hummer-sized bulletin board that we keep under lock and key. In fact, we know so much about where we're going, when questions [that] are posed [will be] answered (we try not to take too long in between), and how the season will end that I am actually usually pretty nervous to talk too much about the show. I'm so used to some of the character and story and emotional turns and revelations that I'm afraid I may slip up, simply because we've been taking about that stuff for months.
Is it true that Michael Nankin (Battle Star Galactica) will be directing a few episodes?
Nankin isn't the only Battlestar vet who's directing/directed episodes so far. Michael Rhymer (who was nominated for an Emmy for a Battlestar episode he helmed this year) did our third and fourth episodes, the latter of which I co-wrote.
I think their experience on BSG lends itself to our show; BSG has a lot of flavors going on -- mystery, questions of faith, family drama, action, romance, politics, even some comedy -- and our stories also mix it up tone-wise as well. Battlestar definitely has a darker tone, but these directors have been able to dial it up and down for our show, with great results.
What can you tell us about the episode you wrote?
It's called "Black Swan," and I co-wrote it with Lisa Zwerling, who's the co-executive producer of FlashForward. Writing and shooting the episode [which aired on October 15] was the most fun and the most hard work I've ever had on an episode of live-action television Also: while we were shooting a sequence in Compton, I crossed paths with a stray dog that I wound up rescuing. I named him Vlad, after one of the characters in the scenes we were shooting. I'll send you a picture.
FlashForward airs Thursdays at 8 pm on ABC.