Helix returns on Friday with a brand new location, divergent time periods, and a potential new threat!
At he end of last season, with the arctic base destroyed and Dr. Julia Walker kidnapped, we saw Alan and Peter track her down to Paris a year later, where she appeared to be in charge of the Ilaria Corporation, which is run by 500 immortal humans, of which Julia is one.
But in the Season 2 season premiere we jump in two different directions but the same location – a mysterious island in the Pacific Northwest. In one case we see Peter, Sarah and newcomer Dr. Kyle Sommer (Matt Long) investigating possible Narvik infections, and come across a boat where a mysterious pathogen kills all but one of the passengers and leads them to the island, which is inhabited by a cult led by the mysterious Brother Michael (Steven Weber).
Interlaced with this we see Julia also arrive on the same island, some time in the future, where she is captured by someone in a cobbled-together protective suit, while apparently looking for Alan.
Check out the sneak peek below, along with a catch-up of last season’s events – then read on for a discussion with executive producer Steven Maeda and Kyra Sagorsky (Julia Walker) along with Syfy’s Bill McGoldrick about the upcoming season…
Season 1 in 5 Minutes:
BILL McGOLDRICK: So Steve, why don’t you talk about the new location and what we’re doing a little bit differently this year?
STEVEN MAEDA: Yeah. One of the things we always talked about doing with the show, if we were fortunate enough to have a second season, was changing up the location. And because the show is so self-contained it happens — it really occurs in one space for all 13 episodes. Obviously, season one, we were in the arctic at Arctic BioSystems, and it all blew up at the end of last year, so we can’t go back.
And so, we decided this year to find a great location, which we did. We found this really, really incredible space outside of Montreal called Oka Abbey, and it’s where we’re setting the second season. It’s going to be set on an island off of the Pacific Northwest, and it’s going to be cool and different, and yet the same.
BILL McGOLDRICK: Perfect. All right. Well, they put you through quite the wringer as a character, as an actress last year. How are you coping with what they’re doing to you this year?
KYRA ZAGORSKY: Things haven’t really changed in that respect. Yeah, there’s always a new adventure for my character right now. It’s pretty intense and exciting and I’m definitely getting put through a different wringer, I guess.
STEVEN MAEDA: Yes. We torment our poor actors.
BILL McGOLDRICK: What did she do to deserve that?
STEVEN MAEDA: Just be on the show, that’s it.
QUESTION: One of the really compelling aspects of the first season was sort of this claustrophobic effect of being stuck, you know, at the station. Will we still be able to access that kind of claustrophobia for the highlands? Will they stillfeel trapped, I guess?
STEVEN MAEDA: Yeah. It’s a different claustrophobia, that’s how we feel, anyway, from the end of writing the scripts; that the island, because it’s on an island and they’re surrounded by water and it’s not easy to hop off to another place, there’s still that sense of being trapped. It’s not as interior.
One of the really nice things about this season is we actually get to go outside, which we did some last season, but it was all green screen and snow and fake snow and that sort of thing. But this year, we actually get to go and run around in the woods, which are deep and dark and scary as well. So yes, we’re hoping that we can maintain that sense of claustrophobia in not being able to go anywhere.
QUESTION: Last year you had this music that didn’t really match up with what was going on on-screen. Can we expect more of that this season as well?
STEVEN MAEDA: That and more, yeah, absolutely. That’s one of my favorite parts of the show.
QUESTION: Now that you’ve sort of — I want to say sort of cured the virus. I mean, we found out what it is. How is it going to be different because it’s not going to be focusing on like worrying about the people getting infected and all of that?
STEVEN MAEDA: Well, it is, to a degree. What we’re trying to do is, without completely ditching the Narvik story from last year, which was our virus from the first season, we’ve come up with something new and even potentially more dangerous. And so Narvik doesn’t go away completely, but it kind of takes a back seat for a while and then will rear its ugly head again.
But part of what we wanted to do was, in our minds anyway, as we were breaking second season, okay, new location. Let’s come up with a new disease. Let’s have a new threat so that each of the seasons can stand-alone a little bit.
QUESTION: What can we expect from Dr. Walker’s character arc this season? What kind of things is she going to be dealing with?
KYRA ZAGORSKY: Well, I can’t speak for where it’s going to go, but so far some of the things that are happening — you know, last season there was a lot that was taken from her, and who she was at the beginning of the season, she became a completely different person physically by the end of the season. So, there’s a lot of things that have made her evolve.
And when we came into season two, I feel like every time I get a new script, I’m kind of in a different adventure and journey within the story. So it’s been — it’s been pretty intense and interesting, and even episodes three and four in particular, I’m really excited about because some of the stuff that they did with my character and where she goes — and again, part of that psychological thriller aspect of the show, really starts to hit home here for me.
But the things that I was going through in shooting those episodes in particular were some of the most creative, bizarre, dark, intense, just craziest things that I’ve ever gotten to do on camera in the first place. And so it was really exciting and I just really appreciate they keep putting me — it’s not just about getting put through the wringer, but it’s about getting a script and thinking, wow, I have to rise to the occasion for this one. It doesn’t feel like T.V. for me. Sometimes I feel like I’m in this isolated indie film about some weird new thing that’s happening.
So, yeah, her character is definitely — you know, she’s become something else, and the whole thing with immortality, I think what’s interesting is it’s this new way of having to start over. You get that chance to try to right a wrong, but then that’s where the whole “play God, pay the price” starts to step in. So, yeah, she’s definitely evolved into something.
STEVEN MAEDA: One of the things I can tell you also about Kyra’s character, Dr. Walker, in particular, is we’re going to be playing with time this year, because one of the cool things about immortality is you live forever. And so, without getting into too much detail we are — you know, the great thing about having a show with immortal characters in it is that they look the same. And so we’re going to be having a lot of fun with structure and with time and with storytelling where we’re bouncing around a little bit.
QUESTION: I was wondering, can you talk about how much time has passed from season one? When season two opens, is this like a year later
STEVEN MAEDA: It’s about 15 months.
QUESTION: With the CDC in the news, is that kind of, I guess, do you feel prophetic or something?
STEVEN MAEDA: It’s bizarre. I think it’s really strange and scary. It’s nice to know that we were, you know, thinking just ahead of that. But actually, it’s affecting us in a small way as well, because our — our technical advisor, the guy who’s been reading our scripts all last season and this season, too, to make sure that we’re staying true and honest is actually working on one of the Ebola teams, and so he’s been very busy. And if it takes him a little while to get a script back, we don’t mind.
QUESTION: You know, one of the things about television is that you usually get to put all of your biggest costs at the beginning, which is building the sets and having those. So changing locations, I don’t know if this is going to be like a seasonal thing now, if we’re going to change locations. Does that kind of add a little bit to it in terms of, you know, how do you keep it from getting overly expensive so you’re not starting out each season like with this big, you know, let’s build new sets or let’s build new locations, that kind of thing? How do you kind of control that aspect of it?
STEVEN MAEDA: You’re absolutely right. That’s a huge issue for us. And we don’t have — I mean, if you think about most shows, you’re able to amortize, you know, over multiple seasons, you hope, the cost of the sets, the cost of wardrobe. And we’re kind of saying, for the most part, burn it all and start over again. So yes, it is something we very much consider as we move forward. But we do want to do different locations and change it up, so it is an expense that we bear and it eats up a lot of our budget for the show. But also, part of what we were trying to do is find a great location, and something that was already there for us that we could go, oh, the story could fit really nicely in here, and that’s what we did. We found this location that, when you see it, I think it’s going to be amazing.
QUESTION: I’m just curious, speaking of location, are there going to be any flashbacks to the base or will we never see the base again? Because that was a beautiful set.
STEVEN MAEDA: Yeah, that definitely was. I can tell you that we will see snippets of the base, but really, only in kind of reminding people. That being said, we’re doing some different things this year with flashing back and flashing forward that will take you to all sorts of different places. That’s one of the things, I think, is fun about the show is that we have the opportunity to do that kind of story arc.
KYRA ZAGORSKY: And talking about the beautiful set from last year, something that’s fun, somebody mentioned the music before? I’ve always thought the music was almost another character when you started watching the show. And the environment, I think, is always another character with our show, because of that idea of claustrophobia, whether you’re stuck in the arctic or now you’re stuck on an island, but also — or stuck in your mind or whatever is going on. But what’s interesting about this season is last year it had these very cool colors and cold tones, and this year, what’s fun about what we do with our show is that it’s now evolved into something else because of this idea of going to different locations each season. It’s really warm and different, and it’s kind of great. It’s like a whole new animal.
STEVEN MAEDA: Yes, it is, and with us bringing the same characters and our mythology over, and we’re having fun with toying with things we did last year and changing them up just a little bit. For example, one of the things we’re talking about doing is changing the main title sequence, which is just a short little thing, but has this great little bossa nova piece that our composer, Reinhold Heil, put together. And we’re going to use the same bossa nova, but we’re talking right now about what that’s going to look like. And it’s something that I hope we can do every season, change it up, and kind of reflect the theme of what we’re doing in the show.
QUESTION: Hi. Can you explain a little bit more about that closing scene where we see Julia at the head of the table of the meeting of the immortals? Can you talk a little bit more about that?
KYRA ZAGORSKY: That was awesome, wasn’t it? I love that scene. I love the silver eyes. Yeah. I think we start to get into it in this season. You’re going to have to get that answered about what happened, because it’s only 15 months later, you know, but when we ended that last episode, I was kind of a part of that. So, I think she’s a survivor and she’s going to do what it takes to keep going. That was one of the parts about the character that I loved the most that I discovered last year is that she — she’s not without fear, she’s really brave. She just keeps putting herself into it to figure out a way out. She just doesn’t give up. And she’s got a lot of flaws, but that’s one thing about her that I think keeps her going. So I think whatever she believes is the right or wrong thing to do, she’s going to do what she can to maneuver her way through. And so it’s an interesting thing this season to figure out which side she’s on and which side she’s being genuine with or not.
STEVEN MAEDA: And one of the things that we really wanted to do, one of the reasons we did such a time jump between first and second season is we wanted to start characters off in a really different place. And then you can watch and go, wait, how did that happen? How did this person — just like we did with that jump to the Ilaria headquarters at the end of last season, and we wanted to do that with a number of characters.
So when you see them for the first time, they’re going to either be in a different situation or they’re going to look really different. And we’re bringing back a whole bunch of people, but really hoping to do it in a surprising way so that you go, whoa, how did that happen? And then explain it and backfill it in a way that feels cool and fun to watch.
QUESTION: Are we introduced to new main characters and can you tell us anything about the ones that we may meet?
STEVEN MAEDA: Yes, absolutely. There is a new character, a new CDC character, a doctor by the name of Dr. Kyle Sommer, and he is a really interesting addition to the team played by Matt Long. And he’s southern, he’s got a little more humor, not quite as wacky as Doreen, but he’s definitely got an edge to him.
KYRA ZAGORSKY: Brings a nice charm and lightness and fun energy.
STEVEN MAEDA: Yeah. And then we’re also going to meet some new characters that are just specific for this season, at least so far, going forward. One is going to be a guy by the name of Michael who is played by Steven Weber, who is amazing, and he is going to be part of this location that we go to, this island. Our folks are going to find him there, and what he’s doing there is going to be pretty amazing. But yeah, it’s been great.
QUESTION: You mentioned changing it up from season to season. How many, like what type of — how many ideas do you have for — how far out have you sort of thought about things like that?
STEVEN MAEDA: A hundred. (Laughter.)
STEVEN MAEDA: A couple, definitely, and that’s one of the difficult and fun things about television is you just don’t know how many seasons you have. And so, yes, we have some ideas, you know, moving forward, if we’re so fortunate to be able to do so. But, yeah, we have — we have all sorts of ideas and we just hope that we get the opportunity to play with them.