is a new digital series calling itself an “original superhero comedy” that follows a group of heroes who realize that in order to make ends meet and pay some bills, they’re going to have to go undercover as the very criminals they fight against in order to plan the ultimate heist. The show stars Abby Miller (Justified, It’s Not You It’s Me
), Beth Riesgraf (Leverage, Criminal Minds
), Hartley Sawyer (Glory Daze, Young & The Restless
), and Harry Shum, Jr. (Glee)
, and is being brought to life by the phenomenally talented folks over at Geek & Sundry
, the digital entertainment company spearheaded by actress/writer/producer/geek Felicia Day. I had the privilege of visiting the set of Caper
and got a chance to talk to the creative team behind this clever new series.
One of the most underrated shows no longer on television was TNT’s crime/comedy Leverage, which was sort of like the A-Team with more brains and less explosions. One of the writers and producers on Leverage was Amy Berg, who was also responsible for some of the best episodes of Eureka and Person of Interest as well as a writer on the old Nickelodeon series Kenan and Kel and All That, which provided her with her first experience writing comedy. Amy, together with co-writer Mike Sizemore (Precision, Howl’s Moving Castle stage adaptation), is the driving creative force behind Caper.
I sat down with Amy in the “interrogation room” set to get the lowdown on the secret origins of her new show. “Caper,” she said, “is a digital series that combines live action with motion comics and animation. It’s about the alter-egos of a team of superheroes who turn to a life of crime to make ends meet.” Although the show is a digital series, Berg is working with some very grand ideas: “It’s a world in which superheroes exist, much like the Marvel Universe, but not everybody has abilities. So our characters are among the special group of people that have them. The show is set in the City of Angles, where everybody’s got one… (an angle), and they are sort of the city’s team of heroes.”
The mention of “motion comics” as an integral part of the show particularly piqued my interests, and Berg has an original take on how to use them in the show to help tell a bigger story. “We have an artist named Dave Kennedy, based in the U.K.,” she said. “He’s amazeballs. We’re lucky to get him before he breaks out and everybody knows who he is. We’re sort of treating them as interstitials. All the live-action stuff is with the alter-egos. We never see them in costume or as superheroes; that’s all done with the motion comics, which allows us to avoid a lot of the cheesy elements. Superhero stuff, to me, never works better than the way it does in comics. So we’re embracing that aspect.”
Series star Abby Miller, perhaps best known for her recurring role as Ellen May on FX’s Justified, plays Penny, the brains of the operation. She took time out of her demanding schedule to chat briefly about Caper, Penny, and what makes her geek out these days.
Nerdist:. What initially attracted you to the project?
Abby Miller: Amy Berg. I had worked with Amy earlier in the year on a pilot. I loved her writing and really connected with her while working on that project. She said she wanted to write something for us to work on again and I said I’d love that. When she told me about Caper, I said yes immediately.
N: Who is Penny?
AM: Penny is a girl from a small-town who loves her pops and loves being in the lab working on her revolutionary ideas. She is the only one without super human powers. But what she does have is her intelligence, her ideas and her suit. She is called “The Machine.”
N: What do you geek out over?
AM: Right now, I am loving the new American Horror Story season about witches called Coven. I’m kinda obsessed with witches right now. The cast of this season is phenomenal. I also love a good ghost story or movie. I have a couple girlfriends that I meet up with once a week, and I swear we always come around to talking about either witches or ghosts. Or both.
N: If you had powers would you fight crime or commit crime?
AM: My gut tells me I’d be better at the fighting than the committing. I sooo wish sometimes I could be bad. But I am actually very much like Penny. I follow the rules, sometimes to a fault. Plus, if I were committing crimes day in and day out, I think my guilty conscious would get the best of me. I was raised Catholic. It’s still in my blood.
A healthy dose of Catholic guilt is usually an excellent crime deterrent, but also a great motivator… so remember, kids: Watch CAPER or you’ll make Abby super sad. The series premieres in early 2014 on Geek & Sundry
Amy Berg can be found on Twitter @bergopolis
along with co-writer Mike Sizemore, who is known simply as @sizemore
. Meanwhile Abby Miller can be found @absmiller
, series artist Dave Kennedy is known as @cherrysheriff
and updates about the series can be found on the official Twitter account @caperseries