Much like its vampirical antagonist, AMC’s summer horror fare, “NOS4A2” recently began its second life. The show, based on Joe Hill‘s novel of the same name — about a 1938 Rolls Royce Wraith symbiotically linked to succubus Charlie Manx (Zachary Quinto) and his battle against Vic McQueen (Ashleigh Cummings), a young woman who has superpowers of her own — had its second season premiere last week and is once again available as a full season stream to those with the AMC Premiere subscription.
However last year, its future wasn’t so certain. The premiere of season one garnered significant interest, with over 2 million viewers watching live, streaming, or watching through DVR, but as the season progressed, viewership was almost cut in half. The show’s mixed reception slowly affecting return viewership, and the remaining fans were uncertain if they would ever see the conclusion of Vic’s battle with Manx. However, that fear was quickly put to rest, as AMC decided to put season two into production before season one had even completed airing on cable.
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So with newfound confidence, showrunner, and creator, Jami O’Brien knew she and her cast and crew had a rare opportunity to really dig into Hill’s work and begin expanding the mythos.
“The big difference with season two is that there is no mystery,” said O’Brien. “[In season One, Vic] was learning what her powers were, what she could and could not do, she was learning who Charlie Manx is, [and] the audience was learning all these things along with her.” Perhaps this explains the mixed reception of Season 1. Often it could suffer from slower, but nevertheless important, episodes that had to explain these rules. O’Brien promises season two will excite on a regular basis. “With that mystery gone, it just means the show, right off the bat has more gas in the tank.” Having screened the first five episodes, I couldn’t agree more.
Shows can often find their legs in the second season. Many believe it’s the perfect time for them to find their real voice with that first season of exposition out of the way, and the core audience established. O’Brien also knows that she and her writers were given a great opportunity to really focus on the shows’ strengths, and that includes catering the characters to the talents of “NOS4A2’s” (arguably) underrated cast.
“[In Season 1] we had most of the scripts written before anything was cast,” said O’Brien as she focused on one of the major draws of the show, the always charming, often twisted Zachary Quinto, as Manx. “Zach is amazing and explosive whenever he’s on-screen in season one. But at the end of the first season I [realized], we have the amazing Movie star/Broadway star, Zach Quinto… let’s put him to work.”
Season 2, really finds its footing in the second episode, and the first two episodes are excellent companion pieces that reveal how layered the crux of the show can be. They feature excellent performances by Quinto and Cummings. It is a great reminder of why the show was renewed, and how those two can carry it for the remainder of its run (along with a terrific supporting cast). This season promises enough expansion, twists, and turns and fun-filled-horror that AMC and “NOS4A2” are known for, and let’s hope the audiences will return in greater numbers to pump some blood into the heart of the show for future seasons.
During our conversation with O’Brien, we discuss getting to the heart of Hill’s original novel, the challenge in bringing iconic moments from the book to life, being selective with scares, why comparisons have been drawn between the show and Peter Pan, and much more.
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