When a show as monumentally crazy as 12 Monkeys comes to a close, it can be hard to talk about what to expect from the future without ruining things for the viewers.
So when I spoke with Terry Matalas about 12 Monkeys Season 4, I kept it as vague as possible (except when I didn't, and I can't share that with you!).
Matalas is one of the greatest guys in television, both creatively as evident with his vision for 12 Monkeys and with his kindness toward fans and people like me. check out a condensed version of our conversation below and prepare to be awed when 12 Monkeys returns TONIGHT on Syfy!
What can you talk about with a show we don't want to spoil?
I think you're in the last epic chapter of this series where there's a lot of questions and there needs to be a lot of answers, and I think that's what Season 4 is about. And it's about these characters coming together for one last battle.
I was surprised with what I've seen of the new season and the feeling of hope that prevails. It's hard to put into words, but it may be because they aren't guessing at a goal and I wondered if it was done on purpose.
Well, I think they know they have to work together if they're going to beat this thing, which is something they never really ... They are going to have to become this family to take down the Army of the 12 Monkeys, so maybe that's what you're feeling.
How much of the story did you have going into all of this and how much of it was plotted out as you went along?
We didn't really wing it. Before each season we always had a plan, but before Season 3 we needed to know how exactly it was going to end because there were scenes from Season 4 in Season 3 because it's time travel, so we needed to know exactly where we were going. So we had to be really far ahead.
And did it help to film them together? Because that's what you did, right, film them concurrently and together?
It does help. It also adds a mental exhaustion factor to it all. This show does require a lot of brain power and certainly to keep that going in every department from writing to props to actors to music, it's just not a traditional television show by any stretch of the imagination.
As the first set of episodes comes up, what can you tease for people about what they can expect for the first set of three?
It's going to be... each one of these nights is sort of like its own movie, so you're going to get a nice little summer blockbuster leading to a giant one at the end on night four. So there's going to be a lot of emotion because everybody's facing the end, and a lot of answers to seasons, series-long questions.
How did that work out last year for the episodes airing over a weekend as it did?
I think it was a noble experiment. I think ambitious and it was cool that they tried it. I think it's similar to how a streaming outlet would just drop a whole season at once, but I think this is a good way to do it, to make it a month-long event.
It's such a unique show that it's going to be hard to get something with quite as many facets of the characters again.
I agree, but that's the goal. That's what you always set out to do when you develop a show, is to have multiple-dimensional characters and storyline and mythology, the kind of stuff that I gravitate to. So I'm hoping to do that again.
It's pretty big, I'm not going to lie. It's the biggest thing we've ever done, so hopefully, people will like it.
Is there anything you can compare it to?
The final night, again it's the only thing I can ... It feels like it's from a blockbuster, it's just so big in scope. That's the only thing I can say. Everyone that sees it says this feels like a movie. So yeah.
So, yeah, you're excited, right? What answers will come? Will you ever be satisfied with a show so intricately planned ending?
Tune in tonight at 8/7c and prepare to stick around for THREE HOURS while 12 Monkeys Season 4 kicks off and come on back for a discussion. If you're behind, watch 12 Monkeys online. You're running out of time!
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.