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Sunday
Apr052015

WonderCon 2015: ‘The Messengers’ Pilot Review

From PopInSomantics

Whatever you wanna say about The Messengers, you can’t blame The CW for not being bold enough. This is a show about preventing the Apocalypse, with five seemingly random characters getting hit by a shock-wave from a meteor. These characters all “die,” only to wake up with a start moments later, with new abilities and wings whenever they find themselves in front of a mirror. They are the titular messengers, ostensibly tasked with the responsibility to save the world. It’s certainly an ambitious concept with higher stakes than, say, 2 Broke Girls.

Before any of this happens, however, we meet Rose (Anna Diop), showing off her new ring to her friend outside of the hospital where she works. Then she has a premonition, a “bad feeling,” and goes into some sort of fugue state, before getting shot several times by a random gunman.

The CW isn’t known for subtlety, but it spends much of the first hour obliquely skirting its own concept, before hammering it home. Vera (One Tree Hill‘s Shantel VanSanten), who works for NDSA (a NASA stand-in) with Alan (Craig Frank), finds herself luckily within range of the meteor blast, getting there before even the military can. They shepherd her away, clearly intent on covering it up (the meteor is explained away as a solar flare), but not before Alan has stolen a sample from the blast site.

The kid from Super 8 (Joel Courtney) is Peter, an orphaned H.S. kid who has the kind of awful, evil bullies that only exist on TV, yet he also has a blonde babe totally into him. He has a suicide attempt in his past, which is sad, but that doesn’t excuse this line: “I’m confused about everything, but I know how I feel about you.”

Erin (Project Almanac‘s Sofia Black-D’Elia) is a single mother, driving her adorable daughter Amy to school, when the shock-wave hits her, causing a car accident. Amy nearly dies, and is in a coma. The tragedy brings her ex Ronnie (Prison Break‘s Lane Garrison) back into the picture, who’s the worst. He’s a cop and threatens to claim that she was drinking during the accident.

Raul (Revolution‘s J.D. Pardo) is an oft-shirtless criminal about to get killed in Mexico, first by some gangsters, and then by the guys who save him from said gangsters. He escapes through to the American border, nursing a bullet wound and the subject of a manhunt. Luckily, he bumps into Erin and commandeers their car (don’t ask how Erin and Amy got another car after trashing the first one).

Josh (Jon Fletcher) is a televangelist making his debut, the son of a famous preacherman trying to come out under his father’s shadow. His wife is super pregnant, and after he collapses in the middle of a live performance, he reawakens with new purpose, a fire and brimstone message that goes against his father’s teachings, but (he claims) comes from God. While Raul gains telepathy and Erin can heal people, what happens in this subplot is the craziest, grossest and most uncomfortable/HBO of the entire pilot.

In addition to these five characters, there’s also a visitor (The Bible‘s Diogo Morgado), who arrives, naked and in Terminator pose, along with the meteor. He’s not given a name, and is listed as “The Man,” on IMDb, but by the end, we find out he’s the ultimate villain, Biblically speaking. He pays a visit to Vera, who we find out has a long-lost son named Michael (because all these characters need to have an insane amount of baggage), and offers a trade: kill someone and you’ll get your son back.

For a show about faith and religious end-game scenarios, it’s hilarious that all of these characters and plots are converging in hell Houston, TX, an unfortunate city to play a huge part in the Apocalypse, but one where Rose (Anna Diop) is located, clinging to life, in a hospital bed. There’s nothing special aboutThe Messengers‘ first hour, but it’s undeniably intriguing for a genre fan. I think it suffers from over-stuffing and over-complication, trying to make these characters unique and haunted all at once, with LOST-like back-stories. Unfortunately, none of the actors jump out at me as compelling leads in the first hour aside from The Man, but the show has promise and improved as the pilot wore on, providing optimism for future episodes.

Sunday
Apr052015

THE MESSENGERS: Cast and Creators Tease New Apocalypse Thriller at WonderCon

From Coillider

the-messengers

Today at WonderCon, the cast and creators of The CW’s new supernatural drama,The Messengers, took the stage to screen the pilot and tease what audiences can expect from the new take on the biblical rapture. Executive producer Trey Callaway(Revolution), co-executive producer/creator Eoghan O’Donnell (Teen Wolf), and cast members Shantel VanSanten (One Tree Hill), Jon Fletcher (City of Dreams), J. D. Pardo (Revolution), Joel Courtney (Super 8), Diogo Morgado (Son of God),Anna Diop (Everybody Hates Chris), and Craig Frank (Mixology) offered some insight into the first season and the tough road ahead for the Angels of the Apocalypse.

Check out our thoughts on the pilot and the full panel recap below.

The Pilot

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Image via CW

Angels! Angst! Abs! The CW’s latest sexy drama centers on a group of five disparate souls, chosen to stand for humanity in the biblical apocalypse. When an extraterrestrial object impacts with the earth, sending out a massive shock wave, a scientist (VanSanten), a high school athlete (Courtney), a single mother (Black-D’Elia), an undercover agent (Pardo), and a televangelist (Fletcher) all fall to the ground, dead. Minutes later they come back to life, each with a unique power and a mean set of angel wings only seen in reflections. Oh, and that extraterrestrial object that hit the earth? None other than Satan (Morgado). The group of strangers all find themselves drawn to Houston, Texas where Rose (Diop), a woman of great, but unknown, importance lies in a coma.

It’s a solid pilot. I walked into the room with no expectations and was genuinely sucked in by the end. There are moments, particularly in the high school-set scenes, which read poorly or have an extreme cheese factor, but overall it’s an engaging script with a promising mythology. And Craig Frank knocks it out of the park as the comedic relief. I’ll certainly be tuning in for the second episode to see where the story goes from here.

The Panel

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    Image via The CW

    Series creator, Eoghan O’Donnell, has always been interested in apocalyptic stories because they force you to strip away what’s extraneous and focus on what’s important.

  • The basic premise of the show revolves around the idea that humanity is being tested through the group of messengers. The show centers on choices, good and bad, right and wrong, and how those crossroad moments affect everything and everybody around us.
  • The Satan character, played by Diogo Morgado is a part of that test. He knows all the characters’ weaknesses and desires, and uses that against them to try to persuade them from the righteous path.
  • While the series uses the Christian book of Revelation as a base for the mythology, but it’s not a religious show. All the characters come from different faiths and backgrounds. The show is about putting your different beliefs aside and uniting for a bigger cause.
  • the-messengers-diogo-morgado

    Image via The CW

    Likewise, the series writers come from a number of different faiths, offering unique and diverse input on the story.

  • O’Donnell noted that all the world’s major religions include an apocalyptic end to the world – including science, which foresees an inevitable end to life on earth
    Rose, who spends all but the first scene of the pilot in a coma, will become a major player in the series. The series asks the question – if you could save mankind, would you? Rose encourages the messengers to do so. 
  • Each of the characters is endowed with a unique supernatural power after they are revived, including healing, telepathy, and super strength. The characters will come to find that those abilities can be a gift or a curse.
  • The goal of the first season is to make all the characters aware of each other, unite them and get them all on the same page. They will be informed of the mission set to them, and the rest of the story will see them deciding whether or not to fulfill that mission.
Sunday
Apr052015

WonderCon: What Makes THE MESSENGERS a Unique Apocalypse Show

From Collider: 

A meteor crash in the New Mexico desert brings unexpected and supernatural gifts to a group of strangers in the pilot for the CW’s new show, The Messengers. The stars and creators sat down with us after their panel to talk about what makes this show worth watching and what distinguishes it from other apocalypse-based shows currently on the air.

During our round table interview, we discussed everything from the original concept of the storyline to what drew the actors to the script, and learned a thing or two about the characters they are playing. Hit the jump to read more about what to expect when the show premieres on April 17th.

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    Poster via The CW

    Creator, Eoghan O’Donnell, drew inspiration for the show from his interest on apocalyptic stories. “I wanted a way to do that, that drew a wide range of characters into those extraordinary events.” Growing up in Arkansas also had a lot of influence in his interest for religious underpinnings and scientific beliefs. O’Donnell said it was important for him to have characters that reflected different points of view on the show.

  • While some might argue that the apocalypse theme might been overdone, writerTrey Callaway believes it’s a part of our every day lives and it’s at the core of many of the religions of the world. “This show reflects that, in that it’s a search for meaning. It’s an opportunity for five strangers to work together and find the greater meaning and greater purpose in life.”
  • How much of the mythology will be present in the show? For starters, the angels—while having wings—will not be representing a certain heavenly entity but instead be normal humans with angel powers. “They are regular people,” said Callaway, “That’s something that’s really important to us. And you’ll find that some of the villains are regular people who have their own destinies that might be darker in origin than our messengers.” While the show is based on biblical mythology, ultimately, story is drawn from the crises the characters face in their life and the choices they need to make.
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    Image via CW

    The pilot only introduces us to five messengers but according to Callaway, at the end of the season, there will ultimately be seven. And they found it a challenge to figure out who the last two messengers were going to be and how they would be inserted into the group.

  • While other shows only focus on the ugly side of humanity in a post-apocalyptic world, The Messengerswill draw a lot from the concept of hope and the good side of humanity. “This is a unique interpretation of an end-day scenario. It’s as if a higher power is saying, this is going to be a little bit different, the world isn’t an ugly place like you see on the news and other shows but you have choices to make a difference.”
  • The take on Lucifer in this show will be quite different from the sinister, evil character that’s usually portrayed in fiction. According to Diogo Morgado, who portrays the character, “He’s going to be playing different roles in the same role and being around the corner waiting for them to fail.” The character won’t be in-your-face evil but instead make the audience question his motives and even relate to him in some level. “In terms of my character, there are no good and evil, there are only circumstances. That’s what the show is about all the time.”
  • Joel Courtney explains that his character, Peter, has had a very rough upbringing. Being gifted with strength will be a struggle for him, especially after a fateful incident that occurs in the pilot. “Peter is looking for control over something that he has none.
    the-messengers-cast

    Image via The CW

    He did something that will follow him the rest of his life,” says Courtney, “He finds through the stability of the messengers to gain control.” As for the character of Joshua, a televangelist who has been gifted with the ability to receive visions,Jon Fletcher says things will get a lot darker for him throughout the season. “It’s an immediate shattering of his beliefs. He reawakens having seen the face of God and it’s just a very different God than what he’s been told. He feels like he’s been cheated.”

  • The mystery of Vera’s gift will be revealed in the episodes following the pilot.Shantel VanSanten explained that her gift was a secret even to her because the writers had two choices for her in mind. “It really plays on the fact that Vera is a scientist. She is an atheist and approaches things from the standpoint of, what is the answer? Theorize. I’m going to test until I can prove. The gift she’s given will challenge her belief system more than anything in her life,” she teased. According to VanSanten, her character’s kidnapped son will be her driving force throughout the whole season.
  • Craig Frank, who plays Alan, a non-gifted human and Vera’s partner in crime, says his character will find the whole concept of angels more awesome than confusing. “I’m going to be a part of the group in conjunction to her,” he added.
  • the-messengers-shantel-vansanten

    Image via The CW

    Anna Diop, who plays Rose, teased that her character will be a sort of leader to the messengers. “For now she’s the wildcard, you’ll have to see what happens with her and why she’s so important to the devil,” she said, remaining tightlipped about her character. JD Pardo on the other hand, was able to share a little more about who he’ll be playing. “Raul can hear negative thoughts. These gifts kind of happen as they’re needed. It’s not something he can just turn on,” he explained. According to Pardo, this will create confusion and an interesting dynamic between all the characters.

  • Diop believes the audience will have a character on the show they can relate to and that’s what will keep them tuning in. “It deals with the supernatural aspect but it also deals with their personal lives. It’s different from what we see a lot, it’s not super cliche, it doesn’t just fight bad guys,” she explained. Pardo thinks there’s a deeper level to the show, “You get to see in these moments how different people are and how we believe in different things. They have to respect each other in order to fight together. I think there’s something for everybody.”
Sunday
Apr052015

WonderCon 2015

Joel and the cast of "The Messengers" were at WonderCon 2015 yesterday. 

Check out all of the photos here.  

 

Sunday
Apr052015

Ryan Sheckler & Joel Courtney Serve Up Meals At LA Mission For Good Friday

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