Is Andy Reaser surprised by the fan reaction to Alek? Where might things go on season two? And what can we expect on the Tuesday night finale of The Nine Lives of Chloe King?
Were you given any restrictions on how closely your story had to follow those set up in the books?
No. The books are certainly where everything started, but TV fiction and book fiction are very different animals. We knew from the beginning that we would have to sustain Chloe's story for much longer (hopefully) than things go in the books.
We also didn't want people to read the books and feel like they didn't have to watch the series, because they already knew everything that was going to happen. So we took a "blue skies" approach. People can still read and enjoy the books, but at the same time, reading the books doesn't spoil the TV series in any way, because anything can happen.
Are you surprised at how adamantly viewers have taken to Chloe and Alek?
This was a bit of a surprise. We expected everyone would start on Team Brian and then migrate to Team Alek as the season went along, but the opposite has happened. People seemed to start on Team Alek at the beginning, but then as Brian's mystery has developed, Team Brian has gained a lot momentum.
How much does audience reaction affect the writing?
Because of the production schedule, there's not much chance for audience reaction to affect our stories in any given season. By the time the series premiered, we were already shooting episode 8! There's a sense among a lot of fans that we just write and shoot an episode in the week between episodes, but that would be impossible - especially given the incredible look of our show.
The writers room met for the first time in February. We spent the first two weeks coming up with our season-long arc. Then we were coming up with individual episodes, pitching them to the network and studio, writing outlines, getting notes, writing episodes, getting notes, casting, building sets, re-writing, scouting locations, hiring directors. And that all has to happen before you shoot a single thing!
Then a whole other team has to edit the episode, find music, write music, mix and color-time the whole thing, generate special effects. From start to finish it takes about one month to complete a single episode. There was actually a time in the middle of the season where our (amazing) creator/showrunner, Dan Berendsen, was working simultaneously on ALL TEN episodes.
That said, WE LOVE audience reactions, and it's quite possible those reactions can factor into FUTURE seasons.
If, fingers crossed, you get a green light for season two, will the focus continue to be on the love triangle?
Most definitely, although it's going to play out very differently from season one (sorry, that's all I can say).
To this point, Brian's story seems disjointed and in the outer rings of Chloe's life. Is the idea to bring him closer to the fold?
Brian's Dad wants to kill the Uniter, and that's not the sort of thing that can remain hidden from Brian forever. In the finale there are going to be some pretty huge revelations in the Brian story. I know it might seem like his mystery is very separate from Chloe's Mai world - but that's definitely not the case. In fact, his mystery shares a very strong (and very surprising) link to Chloe's world.
How much more Mai lore might we look forward to?
Going forward, we plan to reveal much more about Chloe's past and her destiny. But this is all so new to her, we didn't want to clobber people with it up top. I think the secret to what makes this show work is the fact that Chloe has her feet firmly planted in two separate worlds.
On the one hand, she's a normal sixteen-year-old girl, and on the other, she's the destined savior of an ancient race. I think if we jumped into the deep end of the Mai world up top, it would be much harder to relate to Chloe. We want to ease our way into all that stuff. But you can expect more of it in the future.
Paul asked Alek a great question in "Responsible" - how many races are there? We know of humans, Mai and Jackals. Alek said something to the effect that every "god" had its own lineage. Would you expect to explore even more races and their interactions given more seasons?
Definitely. But again, we're really careful about how much of this we see, and when we see it. We want Chloe getting involved in all kinds of different adventures every week. So we probably won't introduce more than one or two kinds of mythical creature per season.
Chloe's dad seems to know about her heritage. If he comes back, would that open the door for Meredith finding out about Chloe?
It certainly could. We really tried to make Chloe's relationship with Meredith feel real, and if Meredith suddenly knew the whole truth about Chloe, it would be very difficult to maintain that. Meredith is so protective of Chloe, it's hard to imagine her letting her daughter go out and risk her lives each week. That said, Chloe is definitely changing, and she can't expect to keep that a secret from Meredith forever.
Our hope in having Chloe almost get caught by her Mom was to address this, to have Chloe seriously consider telling Meredith the whole truth, but then to decide she's not ready to tell her just yet. So while I'm sure it will come up in the future, it's kind of been settled for the time being.
Also, it's very possible that Meredith knows more about her daughter than she's told her. She does have a box of secrets under her bed. Chloe could just as easily find that, as Meredith could look through Chloe's emails.
When will we get some scenes between Valentina and Meredith? If nothing else, their children are friends, so meeting would be a treat for the viewers.
I agree - that would be very fun to see! No plans for it this season, but moving forward, anything is possible!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.