Last year when I was in Los Angeles for The Last Jedi Press Junket, I was able to visit ABC studios for an exclusive sneak peek at a new show. The Crossing is coming to ABC and premiers tonight at 10 EST on ABC. The Crossing is a Sci-fi drama that is sure to thrill audiences. We were able to watch an episode as well as speak with Executive Producers and Showrunners Dan Dworkin and Jay Beattie.
Image credit Lovebugs and Postcards
The Crossing is a refugee story with a twist. Dozens of dead bodies wash up on shore and dozens more survive the journey. What unfolds is unlike anything one would expect. The refugees are not escaping a war torn country of today, but of the future.
Some of those who came from the future are genetically advanced. Without giving away the entire plot line, these are people we have never seen before during our time. The difference between these two types of humans is apparently the reason for the war of the future. While Sci-fi doesn’t tend to be my favorite genre, I was on the edge of my seat. The story is inventive and exciting.
This show by author and screenwriter Ray Bradbury is fresh and unique. I was thrilled to be able to sit down with some of the folks that created The Crossing. After we screened the first episode of The Crossing, we had some time to speak with Executive Producers Dan Dworkin and Jay Beattie. They shared a bit about how they came up with the show. They also shared how they did their research. They have some insight on what the future may hold. My eyes got big as they shared that the world the future refugees talk about is maybe not as Science Fiction as we may think!
One of the very first statements by Dan Dworkin had my heart captured at the start. When asked where the idea came from, he spoke of a photo that most of us are familiar with. In case you have not seen this photo, you can see it here. This is the inspiration for the entire show.
” It started with a photograph. It was, I don’t know, 18 months ago or so maybe. And it was one of the many photos that were kind of besieged by every day in the press of refugees. And it was very specifically a photo of a dad who had come from Syria to Greece and had crossed the Mediterranean in a raft and barely made it by the looks of him.
The photo one Pulitzer actually last year. And so, you guys would probably recognize it. It’s a father holding his little boy and just the look on the guy’s face, as a father, killed me. And that was kind of the spark initially. That’s when I emailed Jay and said, “Refugees.” We don’t normally write kind of straight ahead, ripped-from-the-headlines dramas. We usually like to put a little spin on it. So, we figured out a way to put a spin on the refugee story and that was this.”
I immediately remembered that photo from their description. I remember those same feelings. I think even those most strongly opposed to opening doors for those fleeing terror took a second look at that photo. The humanity, desperation, and vulnerability. That father could be any of us…..
Fans of the show LOST will really enjoy this show. There is a similar feel. The executive producers said they were fans, and I think you will see a nod here and there.
Dan Dworkin said “Yeah, we’re definitely fans of Lost. I think in a greater sense, we’re both, especially myself, we’re genre fans, fans of sci-fi. Another big inspiration for this idea was Ray Bradberry. There are a couple of stories he wrote about time travel, that kind of factored into the idea little bit. So, our influences kind of run the gamut.”
Jay Beattie added “Being that this was the network of Lost, you know, comparisons are going to be made and, you know, we don’t shy away from that.”
We’ve shared already that the photo of the dad from Syria is the inspiration, but what other things did they draw from for the series as a whole?
Dan Dworkin had a lot to say about that, “Well, again, like I said, another influence was Ray Bradberry who’s written a couple of really interesting time travel stories, which impressed themselves on me at a very young age and always stuck with me. And it was initially, when you say ‘time travel’ when you’re trying to brainstorm ideas for TV shows, there can be a little bit of a gag reflex because it’s an incredibly challenging sub-genre of storytelling because it can get very confusing and you can go down enormous rabbit holes when you’re trying to discuss the mechanics of time travel and paradoxes.
But then we talked about a way to do it very simply and I think it’s kind of the way that what you see in the pilot is an initial jumping off point for the time travel. And we kind of made a pact early on in the writer’s room, let’s not go down any time travel rabbit holes. Let’s not get into paradoxes. Let’s not get into parallel existences. Let’s not get into things that are going to distract from the stories we’re trying to tell. So, we warmed to the time travel idea early.
And also of course, the notion of what will our world be like in 180 years? Will it, you know, potentially be a place that people will go to these lengths to escape from, we thought was compelling.”
Jay Beattie added that they wanted it to be timely (as far as refugees), but not just a copy of current times. “And in terms of the refugees, the discussion began with, you know, how do we tap into what’s happening in the world but not make it ripped from the headlines? How do we get some distance from it? Which is why we dipped into kind of this sci-fi genre because it gives you that distance from something that’s happening, you know, now, to talk about and explore in ways other sort of socially relevant issues that are coming out from and we decided to make these refugees from America to avoid the comparisons of refugees coming from different countries and different religions. Focus on the people and the experience that they’re going to have as refugees versus any sort of sociopolitical baggage that might come with it.”
When asked what kind of research they did for a time travel, sci-fi series, it got really interesting!
Dan Dworkin shared “All kinds. Especially on the scientific end of things. Going forward, you’ll see a lot of that crystallizes. We had a synthetic biologist as a consultant who read all our scripts and who we talked to. His name is Andrew Hessel who’s at this very moment probably curing cancer and I’m not kidding. That’s one of his pet projects. We talked to futurists about what the world might look like in 180 years which was fascinating.We talked to a climatologist from NASA about what the weather might be like in 180 years. It was awesome.”
Photo credit : Lovebugs and Postcards
The Crossing is a show my husband I will be watching for sure. Teens and tweens are sure to like this series too, but as one might assume, it is a bit spooky. While it is on too late for my big kids, we will likely watch it on the ABC app at a later date (don’t give them any spoilers, friends!)
A big thank you to Dan Dworkin and Jay Beattie for taking the time to sit down and speak with us. The Crossing premieres on ABC tonight (4/2) at 10 pm!