How You Can Save 'Mockingbird Lane'
For those who don't know the backstory, Pushing Daisies creator Bryan Fuller was charged with rebooting The Munsters for NBC and tapped Jerry O'Connell, Portia de Rossi and Eddie Izzard to star. The pilot for Mockingbird Lane was shot and delivered to NBC, who decided not to put the show to series, instead opting to "burn off" the episode as a Halloween Special, airing October 26.
But, like many of The Munsters, Mockingbird Lane could find itself resurrected if fan reaction is right. At least that's the hope, according to star Jerry O'Connell, who rang up TheInsider.com this morning to talk about this unconventional series, what future episodes could look like and how Mockingbird Lane is like The Walking Dead meets The Voice!
TheInsider.com: Do you feel like you're promoting a TV movie or the first episode of a potential series?
Jerry O'Connell: Listen, I'm not a producer; I'm an actor. That's a question for Bryan Fuller. That said, I kind of get the feeling that NBC, who has been very supportive, is waiting to see how it's received. I don't know if ratings are as important as general reaction. This is the network that airs The Voice, where America votes for people to stay, and social media plays a huge part in that. So I think NBC will fire up Twitter Monday morning and see what people are saying about it. We're just living in a different age now and the audience will ultimately decide if it goes to series or not. I have to believe that shows like The Voice are influencing television decisions these days. There’s such access to the audience that why not take advantage of it.
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Insider.com: Do you understand why NBC didn't move forward with the series?
Jerry: Look, I'm really proud of this show. I've watched the pilot twice, I love it, my wife loves it. But it's a tricky show. It's a family show, it's a monster show, it's got comic elements, it's very dark and it's pretty graphic. I mean, there are two open heart surgery scenes and some monster deaths. This is sort of like The Munsters meets The Walking Dead. It's a darker re-imagining of an iconic show.
Insider.com: Were you nervous about reinventing a character who is beloved by so many people?
Jerry: This role was very scary. I'm on Twitter, I know when [my casting] was first announced a lot of fans of Fred Gwynne, who could not have been a more talented person, weren't thrilled. This was a scary undertaking for me. But I wanted to work with Bryan Fuller and I knew this was going to be my one shot for doing that, so I couldn't pass it up.
Insider.com: How do you describe the show?
Jerry: Visually, like most of Bryan's work, it’s stunning. The Munsters have to move because our son, Eddie, is entering puberty and unbeknownst to him, when the moon is full, he turns into a werewolf. It's about having him come to terms with not only being a monster, but a Munster. Herman has a lot of trouble explaining to him that being a Munster is something to be proud of, but also, to be careful of. Meanwhile, Grandpa wants Eddie to fully embrace being a Munster and not be ashamed of his monster side. Bryan has told me if the show goes ahead, things are just going to get insane.
Insider.com: Did you guys have these conversations before or after NBC decided to air the show as a TV movie?
Jerry: They were conversations that came up during the casting process. It was a pretty long process for me to get this part. They wanted to make sure this was the right decision. I met with Mr. Fuller and Mr. Singer a number of times and there were some things that trickled out. Herman is going to start a zombie apocalypse after I get into an argument with this man and bite him. So we have to stop that. The Creature From The Black Lagoon is going to try and have an affair with Lily. We have access to the Universal creature vault and Bryan plans to use that to the fullest.
Insider.com: What do you think of NBC's choice to air the pilot episode as a TV movie?
Jerry: It's a tricky show and that's why I think it's so nice of NBC to put it out there. This is a show that has not been done before. The Walking Dead is extremely graphic and visually stunning, but it's a pretty scary show. At the same time, we're a family show and spend time talking to our son about going through puberty. It's a strange show and I don't think anybody knows what to do with. It's going to be different, but everything about Mockingbird Lane has been different since day one. It's unlike any other television project I've ever worked on, so why should the release of it be normal? We're a weird family, we're a weird show, everybody who has anything to do with making this show is weird, so let's be weird about how we air it!
I need Bryan Fuller to have a TV show on again, you guys...