Check out the new trailer for next week’s episode as well as HD screencaptures from the trailer.
“We try and keep them contained to a very personal level,” Jeremy Carver tells The Wrap about the repercussions of messing with time.
Jeremy Carver doesn’t necessarily consider his new series “Frequency” a time-travel show, though it’s a handy shorthand in a season lousy with time travel programs.
“Let’s put it this way: It’s a lot snappier to say it’s a time-travel show than a cross-time communication show,” the showrunner told TheWrap in a recent interview about his series, which is an updated remake of the 2000 Dennis Quaid film of the same name.
This time around, it’s 2016, and police detective Raimy Sullivan (Peyton List) inexplicably finds herself able to communicate on an old ham radio with her father, Frank (Riley Smith) — shortly before his death in 1996.
Carver, who is a big fan of the film, also discussed why he gender-swapped the main character, why he kept the central communication device a ham radio despite such a tech-savvy world and how List and Smith developed and maintained their chemistry even as they never shared the screen.
TheWrap: Why “Frequency?”
Jeremy Carver: It came together from always having loved the movie. I loved the central connection between father and son, and saw an opportunity to expand on that for a potential TV series.
Why gender-swap the main character?
For me, it was the most exciting way to go. Pretty familiar with father-son relationships, and I really enjoyed movies and shows that delved into that — everything from “Field of Dreams” to “Frequency.” I thought it was a neat idea to have the daughter, there’s a little bit more of a mysterious relationship, particularly when you rip away the idea that every daughter has to be daddy’s little girl. It became more of a dynamic way to go.
How did your cast develop this father-daughter chemistry despite being almost the same age and never sharing the screen?
The cast has been extraordinary. Riley Smith and Peyton List, basically every scene they had together, they’re not in the same room. So it requires a tremendous amount of preparation and trust between the two actors to give as much as they do in each of these scenes. In fact, they made this promise to one another to be in theses scenes, huddled off-camera, in these ham radio scenes, to lend help with the intimacy of the scenes.
As far as the rest of the cast, from Mekhi Phifer to Devin Kelley, those guys are pulling double duty, playing the older and younger versions of their characters. In many ways, they’ve got the really heavy lifting of the show. They’ve been tremendously versatile in how they’ve approached it. The thing that’s been the saving grace for all of them has been the incredibly natural and organic ways they’re coming to these characters. At heart, it’s a high-concept genre show, which never feels like it, because of the naturalness our leads are all bringing to their parts.
Do you consider “Frequency” a time-travel show?
I know we’re lumped in it, there’s a bunch of time-travel shows this season. Let’s put it this way, it’s a lot snappier to say it’s a time-travel show than a cross-time-communication show. So I’m happy to be labeled as time travel, even though we’re really not.
Are there time-travel rules in this universe?
There are butterfly-effect rules in this universe, although we try and keep them contained to a very personal level. It’s not something like every episode ends with, this episode so-and-so is president, another episode the Germans have taken over — it’s on a personal level. We do use certain rules of the butterfly effect, very much in our storytelling. It’s part of what stretches it beyond your normal police or drama drama.
Why did you keep the ham radio even though the show is set decades after the original movie, in a very post-Internet, tech-savvy world?
There’s something very sweetly nostalgic about this ham radio. Even for people out there who don’t know what a ham radio is, you sense there’s something special about this sort of, I’m calling it a “golden box.” It’s its own living, breathing thing, and it just feels very special. I think because it’s so lo-fi, it lends itself to create a greater air of authenticity in the show. I don’t think many people are, after watching the pilot, questioning the high concept. People seem to be taken in by the characters and go with it. Whether they realize it or not, the ham radio, because it’s so nonthreatening in a way, it’s not some hi-tech computer, is almost a comforting way into the sci-fi.
“Frequency” premieres Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.
Screencaps to come.
After years as a working actor, singer Riley Smith takes on leading-man status in CW’s “Frequency.”
Riley Smith believes in destiny. That’s no easy task in Hollywood, a land as full of rejection and broken dreams as it is of opportunities and runaway successes. But the 38-year-old actor, who stars in the television drama “Frequency,” which premieres tonight on the CW network, considers himself fortunate. “My first job was a pilot for the WB and here I am 20 years later working for the same studio,” he says.
Smith considers himself among the lucky ones. “I never had to have a ‘real’ job,” he said. “I got lucky that I’ve always supported myself acting, but I always say if I had the choice I’d probably have 30 credits on my IMDB page instead of 75.” Smith, who moved from Iowa to Los Angeles to take acting classes after high school (he used the money he made modeling in a Tommy Hilfiger ad campaign to pay for them), landed his first acting job within months, on a WB pilot that never made it to air.
Since then, he’s become a television fixture, more handsome than your typical “character actor” but equally versatile — with regular roles on popular shows such as “7th Heaven,” “Freaks and Geeks,” “24,” “Joan of Arcadia,” “90210,” “True Blood” and “Nashville.” He’s also appeared in films including “Not Another Teen Movie” and “Bring It On.”
“I’ve done a lot of failed pilots and shows that got canceled. When you are going through the journey you are always asking yourself, like, ‘Why didn’t this happen?’ or ‘Why didn’t that happen?’ and then when something like ‘Frequency’ comes along it becomes very evident that everything has a reason.”
The show, a reboot of the 2000 movie starring Dennis Quaid and Jim Caviezel, centers on Frank Sullivan (the role originated by Quaid) a Queens, N.Y., cop killed on the job who manages to reconnect 20 years later with his adult daughter through the supernatural airwaves of an old ham radio.
Because of his long relationship with the parent company Warner Bros., CW offered Smith three different pilot scripts to choose from, and he chose “Frequency,” which also stars Peyton List and Mekhi Phifer. “Peyton and I have actually been acting partners for 10 years and we’ve put in countless hours studying together,” he said of the actress, whom he met through a mutual agent. “We were in the same episodes of ‘90210’ but not in the same scenes. Now we are in scenes together but not physically on the same camera. It just makes sense that I am working with someone who I know so well and that I trust as an actor,” he said of the serendipitous casting.
If he seems overly earnest, blame it on his Midwestern roots. “I have a really strong family back home in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I get emotional just talking about them,” he says. “My mom always told me to have faith. That’s kind of what keeps you going.”
Cedar Rapids’ other famous sons include Ashton Kutcher, Michael Emerson, Ron Livingston and Elijah Wood. “I consider myself fortunate to have done well for myself, but you go back to my town and those guys have done really well, so everyone’s kind of unaffected in a way. I almost feel like sometimes people are, like, ‘Man, you gotta pick it up.’ If I was from Wisconsin I’d probably be a bigger deal in my hometown.”
As for his music career — his L.A.-based band, The Life of Riley, has released three albums and he also sang on “Nashville” — Smith says he’s always writing songs when not acting. “I set up a mini studio in my apartment in Vancouver [where “Frequency” shoots] and it keeps me really calm,” he said. He grew up on his family’s quarter horse ranch listening to country music. “It’s sometimes hard to switch back to my Queens accent for the show when I’m listening to country in my trailer. I’ve gotta lose the Southern accent quick.”
I’ve added a few episode stills of Mekhi’s appearance on Home & Family on the Hallmark Channel. He looked quite handsome!
We had a chance to talk to Peyton List about The CW’s reimagining of Frequency, what could have become of Flash Forward, and being a badass.
Frequency was a time travel movie with a twist. Instead of a time machine, it was a radio that could talk into the past, so a modern day cop got to speak with his father again, and save his life. CW has reinvented Frequency as a TV series, and this time the story revolves around a father and daughter.
Raimy Sullivan (Peyton List) is a modern day cop who discovers her old HAM radio can speak with her father Frank (Riley Smith) in 1996. Like in the movie, she gives Frank vital information that saves his life, but inadvertently leads to her mother falling victim to the Nightingale Killer. If the show makes it, it will take longer than two hours to save her mom too. We spoke with Peyton List at a CW party before their presentation to the Television Critics Association. Frequency premieres Wednesday, October 5 on The CW.
Does Frequency have double the backstory of a normal job because you have two timelines to remember and they keep changing?
Yeah, it’s a lot to remember simply because it’s not just point A to point B to point C. You have to remember what happened in each one. Not like you have to be crazy on top of every single detail. We don’t want to overload the audience but it’s important to remember certain bits of information that sometimes are planted and then reveal why they were planted a few episodes down the line. It’s really smart writing but in a rewarding way for the audience. I feel rewarded as a reader when I get the scripts, so I hope it comes across in the execution.
Once you establish how the radio works and the events of the Nightingale Killer in the pilot, what’s the next step in the case?
Well, the most immediate problem is the mom, Julie’s disappearance. They know what day she goes missing. They know what day she doesn’t show up for work anymore. They know when she is taken. It’s just a matter of figuring out who takes her, what they did that made the Nightingale Killer still active, finding who he is, track him down and get him. That is the most immediate problem. It has the most consequences but then you also have the other smaller things that are important to her, like the loss of her boyfriend/fiance who was her life. The mom relationship is suddenly torn away from her life and her identity is taken because her loved ones around her are no longer there. She’s struggling with that while trying to be a detective and trying to solve the case of her mom. So it’s watching her deal with that and then you have the flip side of Frank’s character dealing with the fact that he got to come home. He gets to be with his wife and he wants to enjoy those moments. He wants to have that time. You get Frank and Raimy trying to figure out a way to work together when they’re people that don’t really know each other very well. It’s a lot of interesting personality character elements.
Is it like they’re meeting for the first time even though they’re father and daughter?
They’re meeting for the first time as adults with fully formed personalities and character traits. There’s times where they’re oil and water and they’re blood, but they don’t have tons of shared experience together and memories and stuff. So it’s forging that relationship. It’s an interesting thing when you’re not doing it sitting across from each other. You’re doing it just talking to somebody like on a phone. It’s like building a relationship just on a phone. It’s a really particular kind of relationship and at times it’s even more intimate. I think they’re trying to find their way in what their roles are, if it’s father/daughter, if it’s partners in this case that they need to solve and also with Raimy it’s getting over the hangups that she had about growing up without him.
Is Riley there when you do the radio scenes?
Riley is sitting off camera when I’m doing the radio stuff and I’m going up first thing Friday morning, the day after the panel. We’re doing Riley’s side of the HAM radio so I’ll be sitting off camera.
Do you think you can keep that up for 22 episodes?
At first, I was a little bit concerned about the logistics of it. I was like, “Oh, it’d be awesome if we can try but eventually one thing will happen and it’ll fall by the wayside.” Production has actually been really great about making the extra effort to make sure it happens. It’s so important to this show. Everything hinges, both storylines hinge on the relationship that is forged through those HAM conversations. So I think we’re going to keep it up as long as we’re on the air.
Is Raimy trying to get her fiance back?
Raimy is starting to toy with the idea of how could I do that. How would I get someone back who doesn’t remember me? When you stop and think about it, I don’t even know how I would start to go about it without coming off like a totally insane person.
How do you recreate a courtship when one of you knows how it went before?
No, it reminds me a little bit of that movie with Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams, The Vow. It reminds me a little bit of that where it’s how do you make someone fall in love with you when you know that they did at first organically. How do you recreate that natural thing that you had? When you know we can be great together, we actually have already done it, how do you get there. It totally reminded me of that.
You were on another show with a lot of mythology, Flash Forward. Are there any similarities between everything you had to deal with and remember for that and what Frequency entails?
With Flash Forward, I would say the similarities are this shared ticking clock of an end date. One of our biggest storylines and threads throughout the season is finding Julie. We know what day she’s taken. We know that we’ve got X number of weeks. We’ve got 11 weeks until she’s taken and we’ve got to solve this mystery by then. With Flash Forward, it was the same thing. Everybody catches up to that date six months later down the road. So it has that element of urgency and high stakes but on Flash Forward, it was just a slice of so many different people’s experience and so many different people’s lives. Where this is so centered around Raimy and Frank and then the ripple effect outward from there and all the people in their lives and how it affects those people, and how their relationships are different with those people because of changing the past. Like not having a fiance anymore.
Is there any 1996 equivalent stock tip Raimy can give Frank? In the movie he says Yahoo.
That is one of my favorite parts of the movie. “Repeat it: Yahoo. Yahoo.” I love that because I saw the movie way later and I remember Yahoo. Oh my God, that’s so funny. I don’t know. To be fair, I was not really up on the stock market back in 1996. I suppose you would say Google. I don’t know.
Twitter or Facebook maybe.
Yeah, yeah. I am embarrassingly poorly informed about the stock market.
So it hasn’t come up yet.
It hasn’t come up yet but I don’t put anything past JeRaimy [Carver]. I’m sure he’ll find a way to sneak in those homages to the movie. Especially the treats that I go, “Oh my God, that was my favorite part of the movie.” I’m sure he’ll get those in.
When did you see the movie Frequency? You said you saw it later.
I saw it after I read the script [for the show]. I saw the movie the second time I read the pilot. I was kind of blown away and I was blown away that I hadn’t seen it before. I don’t know how I missed it. I thought it was awesome. It was great. There were so many things about it that just reminded me of movies I used to watch in the ‘90s and early 2000s. There’s just that certain feel to it where the explosions are really big and the music comes in and it pulls at your heartstrings. Jim Caviezel and Dennis Quaid were wonderful. Elizabeth Mitchell was just warm and just magnetic. It was a great movie, start to finish.
Is Raimy a badass cop?
Yeah, yeah. If I had any question before about it, it was solved in episode 103. She’s a badass, yeah. She’s not afraid to get her hands dirty.
Do you ever think about what Flash Forward could have been had it continued?
I don’t know where Flash Forward would have gone in season two. I know they set up this entirely open premise for a season two and I was devastated when that show ended. I don’t think I’d really been part of something on that large of a scope before, where it was exciting to get every script because you’re just going, “What’s going to happen to my character? Does my character die? Does my character live? Why is she in this place when she’s in that place? How does she cope with this relationship not working out and how does she move forward and put value on other things?” And then it ended and you’re like, “Well, I’ll never know.” So I don’t know where they would have gone with it. I think it would’ve been great. I love the show so much that I have no doubt that it would’ve been awesome and fun.
It changed a lot from the pilot, didn’t it?
Yeah, it changed a lot. I don’t know what the plan was initially. I only knew what the pilot script was then. I didn’t know what they were going to do with my character so I would just wait for the next script to come out. I know a lot of the storylines they did, I had no idea what was coming but I liked how global it was. They were constantly sending characters all over the world to deal with a humanity problem as opposed to something that’s happening in Los Angeles or in America or in North America. They’re going to every continent and I really liked that about that show.
That was one of your first roles. Are you a much different actor now?
I feel like that was sort of my first, I had done guest stars here and there with sci-fi, but that was my first time spending a long time with sci-fi. Like spending a whole year just in that genre. I don’t know if it made me a different actor. I was kind of used to ensemble casts and being a part of something larger. I think I’ve changed more in the years since where I’ve done shows that are slightly smaller in cast and they focus on more intimate relationships. I think that’s definitely different.
He portrayed Dr. Greg Pratt on NBC’s long-running medical drama ER and had a co-starring role opposite Eminem in the feature film 8 Mile. Now, actor Mekhi Phifer is starring in the new TV show, “Frequency,” playing Lieutenant Satch Reyna.
Darlene Hill from FOX 32 talks with actor Mekhi Phifer about his new series on the CW, “Frequency.”
Cast: Peyton List (“The Tomorrow People,” “Mad Men”), Riley Smith (“Nashville,” “True Detective”), Mekhi Phifer (“8 Mile,” “Dawn of the Dead”), Devin Kelley (“Covert Affairs”), Lenny Jacobson (“Nurse Jackie”), Daniel Bonjour (“The Walking Dead”), Anthony Ruivivar (“Scream: The TV Series”)
Airs: The series debuts at 8 p.m. Wednesday on The CW.
The premise: Detective Raimy Sullivan (Peyton List) has always wanted to prove that she is nothing like her father. In 1996, when Raimy was 8 years old, NYPD officer Frank Sullivan (Riley Smith) left Raimy and her mother behind when he went undercover. Frank turned rogue and was killed. Or so Raimy thought. Now, 20 years later, Raimy is stunned when a familiar voice suddenly crackles through her father’s old, long-broken ham radio. Separated by 20 years, father and daughter have reunited on a frequency only they can hear, trying to rewrite history.
Highs: “Frequency” is based on the 2000 film of the same name. The movie, starring Dennis Quaid and Jim Caviezel, is an underrated sleeper, so its great to see it get the reboot treatment as a TV program. In the original version, the pair communicating mysteriously through time are a firefighter and his policeman son. They team together to prevent not just the death of the father, but also capture a serial killer.
To turn the concept into a series, some changes were necessary. Aside from the obvious lead change from father/son to father/daughter, which is likely to attract a wider audience, it actually makes more sense for the duo to both be police officers. This allows them to have a common language and provides a unique procedural slant to the program. Solving crimes in 1996 from 2016 is a clever premise.
While the time-travel element is certainly engaging, the glue of the series is the relationship between Raimy and her father. Connections between fathers and sons are pretty straightforward. The father/daughter dynamic is much different, with fathers taking on the role of protector. But in this series, those roles are reversed.
In “Frequency,” Raimy is the wiser one because she knows what’s going to happen. She’s the one who has to protect and guide her father. Heck, in the show Raimy is actually older than her dad. It’s unique to see the child pass on advice to a parent.
A fascinating plot device and a twist on traditional father/daughter dynamics looks good on paper but wouldn’t work without a strong cast, which this series has. List shows her range in “Frequency,” displaying a toughness and vulnerability that makes her immensely endearing. Equally up to the task is Smith as List’s father. He plays a guilt-ridden cop with complete believability. An excellent supporting cast, led by Mekhi Phifer, helps round out an able roster of actors.
Lows: There are a number of characters whose paths are muddied in the premiere. We meet Daniel (Daniel Bonjour), Raimy’s dedicated boyfriend, but after she saves her father’s life the timeline has been changed and he no longer knows her. Gordo (Lenny Jacobson) is Raimy’s friend from childhood. The timeline shift doesn’t impact him, but with everything else going on he feels like an unnecessary character. If viewers can’t become attached to these people, why are they there?
A bit more concerning is how the show is going to handle timeline disruptions. Saving Raimy’s father leads to unintended consequences – not just for her but for others. How are audiences supposed to keep track of the timeline when Raimy and her father do something to alter the present by changing the past?
Grade: B: Since I’m a fan of the 2000 “Frequency” film, my expectations for this show were high and I wasn’t disappointed. Skillfully shot, with a slick concept and a strong cast, I was eager to see what happened next after viewing the premiere.
With everything it has to offer, “Frequency” has the potential to be another breakout CW series.
Four of the broadcast networks’ 20 new fall shows premiere next week. Two of these rookie series are exceptional. One is lackluster. The other is mind-numbingly terrible.
The significant thing about that breakdown is that both of the exceptional shows, “Frequency” and “No Tomorrow,” are on the CW, the mini-network carried in this area by WBNX Channel 55.
OK, they are the CW’s only two fall starters, but it still translates into the best batting average among the broadcast networks. You can’t do better than batting a thousand.
Although the CW only programs 10 prime-time hours a week (8-10 p.m. Monday-Friday), it has become, pound for pound, the most successful programmer among those networks. Yes, being smaller, and therefore able to identify more targeted audiences, gives the CW a decided advantage over its four bigger and older competitors: ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC. Still, the CW has made the most of that advantage.
Formed in 2006 from the merger of two struggling networks, UPN and the WB, the CW necessarily started with a bit of an identity crisis. Gradually, it became a network for young women, relying on such fare as “Gossip Girl,” “Girlfriends” and “90210.”
But over the last few years, the CW has transformed itself, broadening its audience with a growing reliance on horror (“The Originals,” “The Vampire Diaries,” “Supernatural”) and superhero shows (“Arrow,” “The Flash,” “Legends of Tomorrow”). The viewership has grown, and so has the acclaim for its programming.
The CW is now so successful and strong, it has almost no openings in its limited lineup. Indeed, to make room for “Frequency” and “No Tomorrow,” it had to put two of its popular shows on the bench for midseason: “The Originals” and “iZombie” (a series that craftily blends horror, comedy, romance and the superhero genre).
Adding even more muscle to the CW schedule will be the arrival of “Supergirl,” moving from CBS to the network where it should have landed in the first place. “Supergirl” begins its second season at 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 10, on Channel 55.
Through all of this development, the CW hasn’t sacrificed the demographic it so obviously courted before the horror and superhero booms: women, 18 to 34. You see that with such adventuresome hour comedies as “Jane the Virgin” and “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” So, celebrating its 10th anniversary, the CW has much to celebrate.
The rich in programming are about to get richer. “Frequency,” an engaging and intriguing reworking of the 2000 film starring Jim Caviezel, premieres at 9 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5. Peyton List stars in this immediately riveting mix of police drama and time-bending fantasy.
She plays Raimy Sullivan, a New York City police detective who believes her deceased father, Frank (Riley Smith), was a dirty cop gunned down 20 years ago, when she was 8 years old.
But then she starts getting transmissions from the past on her deceased father’s long-broken ham radio. The person on the other end says his name is Frank Sullivan and it’s 1996. She tells him her name is Raimy Sullivan and it’s 2016. Neither believes the other.
But the CW has great belief in “Frequency,” and that belief is justified, at least in the outstanding pilot episode. Almost as good is “No Tomorrow,” quirky romantic comedy that premieres at 9 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 4, on Channel 55.