Maybe the most bonkers entry in the 2014 TV season* was SyFy’s Helix. The arctic outbreak drama saw a team of CDC investigators responding to a strange outbreak in an isolated research facility, causing victims to spew black goo and go feral. Sounds pretty par for the course for your typical zombie-like story, right? Well, that’s before the series introduced long-lost twins, a race of immortals, and sentient blood.
Helix is coming back to SyFy next year for a second season and the network brought out producer Ronald Moore (Battlestar Galactica and showrunner Steven Maeda along with stars Neil Napier (Peter), Jordan Hayes (Sarah, really), Kyra Zagorsky (Julia), and Mark Ghanime (Maj. Balleseros) to talk about the heading into another year of infectious weirdness.
Maeda kicked the panel off by saying that the second season would double down the crazy. Maeda says the appeal of the show is that it’s a claustrophobic thriller, something that tends to grab audiences. If you watch the show, that’s not really a factor any longer and I think we’re all wondering how that will work headed into season two.
Moore says initially he wasn’t attracted to the concept, bored by yet another outbreak series. But he says that reading the script, he was attracted to the characters and wanted to follow their journey.
The actors talked about their arcs, with Ghanime saying that he was worried when his character went from a nondescript army guy to a villain. He knew that those characters didn’t tend to last long, but was relieved to find that Belleseros was someone with the capacity to care about something beyond his mission from the immortals by the end of the first season.
Maeda says that Napier’s character almost didn’t survive the pilot: in the original script, Dr. Farragut was dead when his brother and the rest of the CDC team arrived at the facility. But in later drafts, they decided to make him the infected hiding out in the ducts, stalking the facility. Napier joked that he enjoyed playing a character who was nice and consistent with no twists or changes.
Speaking of twists, Maeda and Moore feel that they’ve tried to craft the series like it’s a house, building one part on top of another, with various elements revealing themselves during construction (that’s… and odd description of the construction process, but adds so much insight into how they’re building this show).
As for the format of the second season, Maeda says that they’ll keep the one day per episode format, albeit with more jumping around in time. He says the plan is to “re-set the table,” and that we’ll be spending our time in a different location this time: on an island. We got a look at some of the concept art for the new facility: a well-light bio-lab which is a complete 180 from the frozen-in boio-dome from the first season.
The second season of Helix will debut in 2015 on SyFy.
*Well, we’ll see how The Strain shakes out. There’s plenty of room for that show to go deliriously off the rails (in a good way).