When it came out in 2000, the science-fiction film Frequency generated a lukewarm response at the box office, but the CW’s television adaptation of Frequency finds fertile storytelling ground by exchanging its tale of a son communicating with his long lost father via ham radio for one in which a young woman (played by The Flash‘s “Golden Glider,” Peyton List) connects with her deceased dad (Daniel Bonjour). The two stars were joined by their castmates Mekhi Phifer, Devin Kelley, Lenny Jacobson, Daniel Bonjour, and Anthony Ruivivar at Thursday’s Television Critics Association‘s summer press tour; along with executive producers John Rickard, Dan Lin, and Jennifer Gwartz, and creator Jeremey Carver (best known for his tour of duty on Supernatural).
“We wanted to age down our characters a bit more,” says Carver of the show’s twenty-year time span versus the film’s thirty years. Carver elaborated by adding that it aided in the choice to have actors play both younger and older versions of their characters. “It is a difficult challenge. We’re succeeding on an episodic level. That was a creative decision we made. I’m happy it’s working.”
Given that the show’s pilot covers much of the same ground as the original film, fans may be curious as to just how many of her relatives Raimy will be tasked with saving throughout the life of the show…
“You see a lot of different things introduced in the pilot beyond the central mystery,” says Carver. “The show is built to have pretty strong legs. The show is not dependent on merely saving a family member. We’ve grown beyond that… Moving past the pilot, we’re gonna be living very much in 1996 and 2016. It’s about equal time as these people are living in their own times periods. We’re also seeing the time Raimy lost. Moving forward, what you’re gonna see is very much a crime drama, a family drama. There’s a soulfulness that spreads through this show, that encompasses everything about this show.”
Regarding how far Frequency‘s butterfly effect extends, Carver remarks, “It’s not a show where every week you’re gonna end up with a different foreign power ruling the United States. If history is a rope, we’re changing maybe fibers on that rope from episode to episode.”
Addressing the show’s gender swap, Carver explains that when the network brought the property to his attention:
“The CW asked me if there’s anything I would change. It felt to me much more of a challenge and that much more exciting to reinvent this project with a strong woman at its core. The idea of exploring a father-daughter relationship, where in many stories it’s limited to a ‘Daddy’s Little Girl’ type of trope, I was interested in exploding that trope and exploring a different kind of father-daughter relationship. As a writer it made the project that much more exciting for the first season and beyond.”
“An interesting comparison,” says List of the love of baseball her character shares with her dad, “is that sports was something I shared with my father. He was the one who taught me the rules of football and was able to explain the rules to me as a young girl. It was something we could relate to each other with… There’s a lot of things in the show that can catch you by surprise, as emotional and personal. It’s sometimes hard for a father and daughter to find common ground.”
As a veteran of several science-fiction shows, List admits to being a lifelong fan of the genre:
“Just because it allows for so much more imagination, and as kid that’s where you live. Initially I had to figure it out — how do you just believe? Then I did a couple of shows where I realized that’s what it’s based in. You just do believe. I got more used to doing that — making the leap and believing one hundred percent. I like how Raimy goes through that process in the pilot, given what her father does to make her believe.”
Citing her credentials, the actress adds that, “I may or may not have had a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles birthday party. My mom knows better… I think it was my fifth. It still kind of competes as one of the best ones ever.”
Frequency premieres on the CW on October 5th.