Tiffany Vogt

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STAR-CROSSED: Introducing An Alien Tale of Forbidden Romance, Forced Integration, and How Its Story Differs from ROSWELL

In * By Tiffany Vogt, * Showcases, * TV Addict, * Video interviews, Star-Crossed on January 25, 2014 at 12:05 pm


The CW’s new series STAR-CROSSED is about how an alien spaceship crash-landed on Earth and how its occupants were hunted down and incarcerated in an internment camp.  It was not humankind’s finest day.  Instead of welcoming the unexpected visitors, mankind treated them like unwanted guests.

Flash-forward 10 years later and everyone has come to accept that the aliens, known as Atrians, are not going anywhere.  Their spaceship was destroyed when it crashed and no one has ever come to rescue them — the Atrians have been either abandoned or are alone in the universe.

So STAR-CROSSED’s story is set in the near future on Earth, and tells the tale of the desire to try to get the Atrians, who have now resided in forced-isolation for 10 years, to try to integrate with human society. Seven Atrian children are selected for an integration program at a local high school, and the story picks up as they are greeted with outright hostility on Day One at the selected school.  It is a day of great pride for the Atrians, but there is great fear on both sides as the 10-year separation between the two cultures has not encouraged friendships or understanding.

But as seen through the eyes of a young Atrian boy and the young teen girl who met briefly 10 years earlier on that fateful day, there is an unspoken kinsmanship and bond between them.  That moment of mutual understanding and kindness has stuck with them during the past decade and it sparks anew when they are reunited.  As the story introduces Roman (Matt Lanter) and Emery (Aimee Teegarden), it is heart-warming to see them rediscover their friendship, and perhaps something more, as their destinies become intertwined once again.

Yet not all Atrians and not all humans are eager to bridge the gap between the two species.  Atrians may look human, but there are differences.  For example, Atrians have birthmarks that look like tattoos that distinguish them.  They also have another key physiological difference, one which was key in saving the young Atrian boy’s life when he should have died on the day he was captured. There are also whispers that the Atrians have special abilities or have access to a miracle cure.  Separation has not only fueled fears and speculations, but it has heightened everyone’s wildest imaginings as to what exactly the aliens can do.

Only one thing is certain, the Atrians are not going anywhere.  Wherever they came from, no others have arrived.  Naturally, the Atrians are circumspect about the circumstances that led to their spaceship crash landing on Earth. Were they on a scouting expedition, were they being chased, or was it just an astrological fluke that they ever came near Earth?  Ten years is a long time and in the absence of signs of anyone else out there in the universe, Earth has slowly come to recognize that they need to make peace and learn to live with the Atrian visitors.  Earth has become their home too.

For now, there  also seems to be bit confusion amongst the genre fans.  Based on general description alone, initial comments about STAR-CROSSED have been that it is a ROSWELL-clone or an attempt to continue the ROSWELL storyline without the original cast.  But nothing is farther from the truth.  STAR-CROSSED may have aliens and it may feature a romance between an Earth girl and an alien boy, but that is where the similarities end.

STAR-CROSSED is the tale of the growing pains of trying to assimilate another alien culture into the existing status quo.  ROSWELL never even tried to broach that global topic. ROSWELL was all about aliens hiding amongst us.  It made the assumption that humankind would never accept aliens as equals and it took great pains to make sure that very few humans ever even knew about the possibility of an alien species living out in the stars.  ROSWELL simply presumed that mankind was just not ready for the reality of extraterrestrial life.  It was about hiding and running.

But in STAR-CROSSED, it is all out in the open.  Everyone knows there are aliens from another planet living amongst them.  They have had time to adjust to that ego-centric surprise.  There is no running and hiding.  It is all about whether humans will finally welcome the Atrians into their homes, their schools and into their lives.  It forces each of the characters to assess their relationships with each other and to see if their curiosity and attraction to something so unknown will overcome their fears and prejudices.

STAR-CROSSED explores inter-species attraction in a beautiful and romantic fashion.  But it is not just a story of young star-crossed love.  It is the story of the tensions that are bubbling under the surface as factions on both sides want to disrupt the attempts to integrate.  There are the Trags amongst the Atrians, purists who believe that humans will only ever see them as animals or sub-human; then amongst the humans there are the Red Hawks, those who believe the Atrians are still here to conquer – that this is just the beginning of a long-term plan for invasion.  If only we could all live in peace together.  But peace remains elusive and both sides will have to quash the warring self-preservation instincts of the Trags and Red Hawks.

Roman and Emery would love to just be a boy and a girl falling in love.  But with the weight of both their species seeming to rest on their shoulders, each must consider whether their budding romance may be the spark that sets off an inter-species war.  Plus, there are other rivals for their tender affections and the temptation to pursue other more accepted relationships shall test the strength of their feelings as well.  However, one significant fact revealed right away is that Atrians only fall in love once in their lives; like swans, they mate for life.  Thus, there is only one true soulmate for an Atrian – and Roman believes he has found his in Emery.  Human or not, he knows that his heart will be true.

So with tensions at near breaking point, covert strikes being made on both sides, and one epic love-story about to ignite a war 10 years in the making, STAR-CROSSED shall explore whether alien/human integration is even possible.  Will friendship and love conquer fears and build bridges towards understanding and acceptance?

STAR-CROSSED is a story of teen romance, the trials of life in high school, and best of all the secrets everyone is hiding.  Roman is not just a young Atrian boy, he is the destined leader of an alien race.  Whether he is ready to take on the mantle of leading his people is a decision he will have to make when the time comes; and with treachery on all sides, Roman has to think about how to best keep his people safe.

Similarly, Emery is not just a teen girl; she is one that has just recently recovered from a grave, life-threatening illness.  She knows exactly how precious every second of life is – particularly with her best friend Julia (Malese Jow) still fighting for her own life.  If the Atrians do have a miracle cure, they are going to find it.

As for the rest of Roman and Emery’s respective friends and frenemies, no one is exactly who they seem.  Everyone has a secret.  Viewers will meet on the Atrian side:  Sophia (Brina Palencia), Roman’s sister, the lovely, awkward teen who just wants to fit in and will do just about anything to feel a part of the world around her; Teri (Chelsea Gilligan), the vivacious Atrian who knows in her heart that Roman is her soulmate and who is determined to find a way to make him believe it; and Drake (Greg Finley), a reformed Trag who is quick to protect his friends and yet cannot help but find himself in the thick of brewing trouble.  Then on the human-side, there’s not only Emery and Julia, but their friend Lukas (Titus Makin Jr.), a happy go-lucky-guy who just wants to be everyone’s friend and for everyone to just get along; Grayson (Grey Damon), the golden boy who wants to sweep Emery off her feet, even if it means befriending her Atrian friends; and Taylor (Natalie Hall), the queen bee of school, whose sense of style only tops her ability to make or break social circles.

Then as if that were not enough to get the storylines buzzing, STAR-CROSSED quickly introduces a few adult characters to keep things hopping in the mix, including Roman’s politically-motivated uncle Castor (Johnathan Schaech) and an ambitious SEU Officer Jack Beaumont (Tahmoh Penikett); both who become actively involved in everyone’s lives starting in the second episode.

If Roman and Emery had their way, STAR-CROSSED would be just a love story and it would be epic; but alas, life is just not that easy.  So their story will involve a lot more cross-species politics, spy shenanigans, and covert actions than they should normally have to deal with as teenagers.  Fortunately for viewers, it makes for a fun concoction of adventure and drama all spun together with a dash of lovely romance to keep it intoxicating.

To discover this wonderful series, be sure to tune in for the premiere of STAR-CROSSED on Monday, February 17th at 8:00 p.m. on the CW.

Be also on the look-out for our exclusive video interviews with the cast, which we will be posting that shall provide more fun insight into each of their characters in the next few weeks.  In the meantime, here’s an interview with star Matt Lanter from last summer’s San Diego Comic-Con as he cutely explains whether Roman and Emery are destined for each other or are simply falling in love  (video at 8:25):

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TCA 2014: 5 Reasons To Watch Discovery Channel’s KLONDIKE

In * By Tiffany Vogt, * Showcases, * TCA, * TV Addict, Klondike on January 20, 2014 at 8:00 pm


Premiering tonight is the first of the 3-part mini-series KLONDIKE.  In its first scripted series, Discovery Channel has struck gold. KLONDIKE tells the tale of two young men who travel to the remote tundra of the Yukon in the late 1800′s to seek their fortune.  Despite great odds against them, they not only survived the brutal trek to the Klondike region, but they surprisingly thrived — for a time at least.

(1) LUSH LANDSCAPE – Every scene on screen is intoxicatingly beautiful.  It is a feast for the eyes and each feels painstakingly chosen to maximize viewers’ appreciation of the raw beauty surrounding them.  Yet even in the midst of such magnificent scenery, there are the elements to contend with.  At the Television Critic’s Association 2014 Winter Press Tour, the cast and producers of KLONDIKE provided a candid look at the behind-the-scenes rigors of filming on location in the middle of winter in Calgary, which provided a lush and incredibly scene backdrop for the tale they wanted to tell.   Executive producer Delores Gavin summed it up as, “56 days, 9,000 feet above seas level, above the cloud cover, temperatures that dropped to almost 30 below zero for 16 hours straight, and raging rapids — for our cast and crew, that was a day on the job.”  Co-star Abbie Cornish added, “Something that really struck us very early on is that the environment that we were in really formed the environment that these characters would have been in. . . Richard [Madden] spent the whole day with real snow blowing on his face . . . It was hard to talk, and there was something very elemental, very challenging, and very dramatic about the landscape.”  Star Richard Madden noted that for one of the scenes, “I did throw myself into the rapids. They were real rapids, and we were all kind of on speed boast trying to achieve something really difficult and mad.  But it was brilliant. . . [but then] I got there and I was like, “oh, we’re not actually using this are we?  This is really dangerous.’ And I just kind of convinced myself that it was a studio and we could just turn the rapids off if it got dangerous.” Then director Simon Cellan Jones described it as, “The story is so sort of brutal. . . [and as] one of the characters says, ‘You’ve got to go as far as you can go and then just keep going’ because it was so hard to get there.”   Co-star Sam Shepard added, “the exterior [of] course is different, but I see it just as another piece of American madness.”

(2) ADDING A BIT OF MYSTERY – Writer and executive producer Paul Scheuring cited the source material as the book “Gold Diggers” by Charlotte Gray and brought to screen at Discovery by Ridley Scott’s production company.  He explained that to give viewers a focal-point, he focused on the character of Bill Haskell, portrayed by Richard Madden.  He further added, “One thing that keeps Bill Haskell in the Klondike is that he has some unfinished business in terms of the mystery of his murdered friend . . . It was my feeling early on that if our main characters’ only goal was  to go up there and get rich, that was not something the audience would embrace and empathize with. . . This isn’t about gold. It’s about the kind of arc of their souls and can they find deliverance in this horrid place.”

(3) WOLVES – No story of survival in the remote region of the Yukon would be complete without a few wolves adding to the tale.  While they may look scary enough on screen, the wolves used for filming were much more docile.  As direct Simon Cellan Jones laughingly noted, “The most difficult scene was the one scene with wolves chasing Richard [Madden] because the wolves were sort of like big, fluffy pets who’d go and fetch your slippers for you.  So it was very hard to make them aggressive.”

(4) PASSION – Every second of the 3-part series feels so painstakingly put together and cherished.  This was a passion-project by all involved.  As co-star Abbie Cornish explained, “Discovery’s attitude and excitement and passion for this project and their willingness to really dive in the deep end, bringing in Ridley Scott and David Zucker into the project — it’s classy, it’s sophisticated.  And Simon [Cellan Jones] brought this edge to it that was just so raw and so real.  When you put all of those elements together, you get something that’s really fresh and really new and exciting.”

(5) STRONG CAST – From Richard Madden of GAME OF THRONES to Tim Roth from LIE TO ME, to Sam Shepard and Abbie Cornish and all the other talented cast members, KLONDIKE shines.  Every scene holds the viewers’ attention as they are never quite sure what each will do — all the characters have an unexpectedness to them and it will keep you guessing ’til the end on who is going to stand by each other to the bitter end.  With gold, friendship and souls on the line, each will be tested and their true mettle revealed.

KLONDIKE is unequivocally a television master-piece.  It offers heightened-drama with teasing moments of mystery, romance and levity.   The story and scenery may draw you in, but it is the rich characters that will keep you coming back for parts 2 and 3 over the next few nights.  It is a story that draws you in and which will leave you satisfied in the end.

Make time to watch the 3-part mini-series KLONDIKE tonight, tomorrow and the next night (January 20th – January 23rd) at 9:00 p.m. on  Discovery Channel.

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JUSTIFIED: Previewing “The Kids Aren’t All Right” (Including More Cast Interviews)

In * By Tiffany Vogt, * Events, * Interviews, * Showcases, * TV Addict, * Video interviews, Justified on January 14, 2014 at 12:05 pm


Revisiting Season 2’s favorite kid-in-jeopardy, Loretta McCready (Kaitlyn Dever) is back.  But whenever Loretta is around, nothing is what you think is.  She was trained by Mags Bennett (Margo Martindale) and the best criminal minds of Harlan County; so Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) is naturally a little cautious about rushing to Loretta’s rescue when she is usually perfectly capable of rescuing herself.  Yet not quite able to resist tempting fate, Raylan finds himself embroiled with Loretta while coming to the aid of one of her friends, which introduces him to Loretta’s fetching new social worker, portrayed by Amy Smart.

Then adding to the troubles stirred up by Loretta, the Florida branch of the Crowe family has decided to have an extended stay in Harlan as well.  Now that Dewey Crowe (Damon Herriman) has come into a little money from his lawsuit, his opportunistic-extended family members from Florida feel that he should share the wealth. So Daryl Crowe (Michael Rapaport), Wendy Crowe (Alicia Witt), Danny Crowe (A.J. Buckley) and Kendal Crowe (Jacob Lofland) shall all be making an appearance to reacquaint with cousin Dewey.

As for Boyd (Walton Goggins) and Ava (Joelle Carter), things are not looking so good for them as the justice system seems determined to make Ava pay for killing Delroy (William Mapother) – especially if Boyd keeps eluding its grasp.  But Boyd, being Boyd, cannot help but strike out when things do not go his way.  After nearly beating Lee Paxton (Sam Anderson) to a blood pulp and leaving him for dead, Boyd is dodging the crosshairs of lady justice once again.  Plus, all those big dreams of becoming the new drug supplier between Detroit and Harlan is becoming less and less of a certain possibility.  Criminals just do not know how to play nice or even fairly – it’s not in their genetic make-up.  So even a good plan on how to make money in the drug trade is more problems than it is worth, as both Boyd and Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns) continue to find out.

Finally, as if Raylan did not have enough on his plate with Loretta’s situation, the influx of Crowes looking for a quick score, and keeping tabs on Boyd’s dealings with the Detroit mob, Raylan tries to juggling being a long-distance father as well.  With Winona (Natalie Zea) living as far away from Harlan as she can get to keep the criminal element away from her baby, Raylan is mighty distracted about how to do his job effectively and be a good father.

At last week’s Season 5 premiere, more of the cast took a few minutes to comment on their characters’ respective roles in this next season of JUSTIFIED:

Natalie Zea:

A.J. Buckley:

Jacob Lofland:

John Kapelos:

Jere Burns:

(NOTE: Additional video interview with the cast may be seen HERE.)

With Crowes, criminals, and crime bosses all breathing down Raylan’s neck and setting up shop in Harlan, look for things to get explosive again real soon in JUSTIFIED.  All new episodes of JUSTIFIED air Tuesday nights at 10:00 p.m. on FX.

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