It’s the season of time travel. This year, on The CW alone, three shows deal with time travel: The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and Frequency. On other networks, there’s also Timeless, 12 Monkeys, Time After Time, Making History, and some others that have at least a few elements of time travel in the story. Of those, four are new this year. That’s a lot of time travel and manipulating the timeline, so it’s easy to get lost within them.
Luckily each is handling time travel a little bit differently. For Frequency, there’s not any direct travel, but rather time communication – people chatting using a mysterious CB radio twenty years apart. The butterfly effect is felt, though, as that communication gets the main characters, Raimy and her father Frank Sullivan, into a lot of trouble very quickly.
“I didn’t realize that the time thing is such a popular thing, that was a random stroke of luck with me picking this script early,” star Riley Smith, who plays Frank, told Comicbook.com in an exclusive interview. “Then it was lucky that not only were they popular during pilot season, but then actually got picked up.”
While he gets it that all this time travel and science fiction gets lumpted together by some people, he really sees them as having only very surface similarities.
“It’s funny to me, though, that we get compared to the other ones, I know Timeless is one we get compared to a lot. I think that we’re all so different, especially ours because it’s so much more rooted in reality and rooted in the family connection, the drama; the time element is more something that’s a payoff immediately, and makes it more exciting, too.
“I think that what I read, and what we’re really trying to portray is the heart of the matter, the relationship between Frank, Raimy, and Julie Sullivan.”
That relationship, between Raimy and her parents, is tested early and often. When she uses the radio to save her father’s life twenty years in the past, it leads directly to her mother’s death, and the father-daughter team have to work together across two decades to save her life, too. Smith praised the work of showrunner Jeremy Carver, who he called a “genius,” and said that every script he gets blows him away. He loves that they’re creating “a smart show that makes [the audience] think, and keeps them on the edge of their seats.”
As for acting opposite Peyton List (Raimy) when they’re always just talking on a radio, the pair have come up with a unique solution, and it involves knitting.
“Peyton and I have 12 years of experience reading together,” Smith explained. “Whether we have each other in the room or not, I can hear her take [in my head] of her lines. But we made a deal with each other to be off camera during the radio scenes. So I’ll sit in the corner with a little pen flashlight and just read the lines, vice versa for her. She always knits while she’s off camera. I don’t know who she’s knitting for, I ask her if she’s gonna knit me a blanket with all her off camera time. I’ll be sitting there tweeting with my phone. That’s what we do! It’s just a whole day of sitting in a corner, a dark corner.”
As for what’s next for Frank and company, Smith said that he can’t reveal much, but promised “a lot of twists and turns, a lot changes, and it gets very exciting.”
Frequency airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on The CW, directly after Arrow. Watch the full interview above for more about the series and Smith’s career.