BBC America is looking to have another big sci-fi mystery phenomenon on its hands with “Intruders,” which premieres Saturday, Aug. 23 after “Doctor Who” Season 8. The new TV series deals with subjects of immortality, secret societies, souls and fate, and offers far fewer answers in its premiere than many TV viewers might feel comfortable with.
But that’s not something showrunner Glen Morgan is concerned about. He developed the series based on the book of the same name by Michael Marshall Smith, and expanded upon it in a way that he feels is true to Smith’s story.
“I think the people who love the book are going to love this, because it’s faithful to the book but at the same time expands,” he tells Zap2it. “It’s almost like a second part already in the first season, because it does expand what’s happening in the book. Hopefully, if there’s another season, it’ll expand it even more. There’s just so much material.”
Mira Sorvino’s character Amy Whelan and James Frain’s character Richard Shepherd in particular are expanded beyond what’s on the page. That was exciting for both actors, who say they developed their characters alongside Morgan to create what’s on the screen.
Because the series expands from “Intruders” the book, none of the cast knew where the story was heading after they shot the show’s first four episodes. Even Sorvino admits she “still wasn’t quite sure what was going on” after reading the first four episodes and part of the book. But the mystery surrounding the show is got what the actors hooked, and they hope it has the same effect on viewers.
“It was just so intriguing,” John Simm, who plays Jack Whelan, tells Zap2it. “It was like, where is this going and what the h*** is going to happen to these people? The first four [scripts] were unputdownable, really. … Even if you’ve read the book, you don’t know what’s going to happen.”
The pilot episode doesn’t give much context for the strange events taking place. Various lives intersect as new personalities take over certain people’s bodies, and Shepherd — fittingly named — tries to steer these Others together.
“At the end of episode 1, the main characters have all kind of shared some of the knowledge about the conspiracy,” Sorvino teases. “Getting into the heart of what’s going on is Season 2’s business, I think. At the end of it, the main characters — and the audience, through Jack — are going to be like, ‘Oh, I sort of see. Wow, this is huge.’ And then you’re going to get into the inner workings of everything, and everybody’s private battle.”
“Intruders” director Eduardo Sanchez, who is best known for co-directing “The Blair Witch Project,” notes, “There’s kind of a level of sophistication that you don’t see very often with this kind of material. I like the idea that you’re watching this and there’s drama elements … and then somebody’s brain splatters all over the wall.”