Showrunner Steven Maeda, Actor Neil Napier Talk ‘Helix’ Season 2

Neil Napier as Dr. Peter Farrugut in "Helix" | Jeff Riedel/Syfy
Neil Napier as Dr. Peter Farrugut in “Helix” | Jeff Riedel/Syfy Photo

Syfy’s weird and wacky “Helix” will start season 2 on Friday, Jan. 16, 2015 at 10/9c. Syfy describes season 2 in this way: “After barely escaping with their lives, the survivors of season 1 attempt to move on from the horrors that took place at Arctic Biosystems. But when their work takes them to a mysterious wooded island, they quickly discover that Ilaria Corporation’s reach is deeper and darker than anyone imagined, and a deadly new virus will present a threat that no one thought possible.”

Steven Maeda
Steven Maeda

Showrunner Steven Maeda and actor Neil Napier, who plays Dr. Peter Farrugut, told journalists by phone a bit more about what we can expect from the new season – more scary virus symptoms, more crazy counterpoint music, and now a cult led by Steven Weber. The story is told by going back and forth between two main time periods, and Billy Campbell is back as Dr. Alan Farrugut, but not exactly the same as before.

Warning: If you haven’t seen season 1 yet, there are a couple of spoilers here.

Below are some of the highlights from the conversation:

Steven on the season 2 concept:

What we want to do with the show is a little bit of reinvention with it every season. That was always our plan from the get-go…. One of the things that we wanted to do is go to a different place location-wise and let the show have a different look to it and be dealing primarily with a new pathogen, but at the same time bring along our characters and bring along the vast story from season 1.

So, it’s not a complete reinvention. We’re not “American Horror Story” where we completely reinvent the wheel every season. But we do reinvent something and bring other pieces along….

Neil Napier as Dr. Peter Farragut, Jordan Hayes as Dr. Sarah Jordan, Matt Long as Dr. Kyle Sommer in "Helix" season 2 | Jeff Riedel/Syfy Photo
Neil Napier as Dr. Peter Farragut, Jordan Hayes as Dr. Sarah Jordan, Matt Long as Dr. Kyle Sommer in “Helix” season 2 | Jeff Riedel/Syfy Photo

And so, we did a little jump ahead in the end of last season going from the destruction of Arctic Biosystems from Paris. And we’re jumping ahead in time again to this very remote area in the Pacific Ocean 20 yards away from Seattle. And it felt to us like a very different place to have the show, but also a place where we could still play trapped, play claustrophobic….

We’re probably about a year and a half ahead of the destruction of Arctic Biosystems from last season. And as a result, what it does for us, which is really nice, is it allows us to start the characters in some very different places than where we left off…. And then, we get to kind of backfill and tell you the story of how they got there.

Neil on what’s ahead for his character, Peter Farrugut:

It’s a transcendent and transformative experience in season two for Peter. Yes, there are a lot of twists and turns…. And again, nothing is really ever what it seems. And we’re learning a lot – all the characters are learning a lot about themselves and about the reality they inhabit. So, I think it’s a pretty wild ride. You guys are going to love it.

Neil on the relationship between the Farrugut brothers in season 2:

I always think of Peter as a guy who’s trying to do the best he can and live up to certain expectations he has for himself based on his relationship with his family of origin, the relationship with his brother, Alan, that we see….We got to see a little bit in season one, and in season two, we’re going to explore more of the relationship between Peter and Alan…. And [it] will really help to inform why Peter is conflicted and seems to be playing for a couple of sides at once….

We get to see a little more in-depth kind of what makes these two men who they are, and the nature of the rivalry between them, where their love stands, where their jealousy stems from. We get to see what makes Alan Alan, and what makes Peter Peter from a family of origin perspective. I love the stuff that I’ve got to do with Billy [Campbell] this year.

Billy Campbell and Steven Weber in "Helix" season 2 | Jeff Riedel/Syfy Photo
Billy Campbell and Steven Weber in “Helix” season 2 | Jeff Riedel/Syfy Photo

Steven Maeda on Steven Weber’s new character in season 2:

The Steven Weber group, it really is a cult of a sort. They espouse a very kind of different worldview, and they have been living in isolation on this island for generations and really bring a new set of obstacles to our people.

Steven and Neil on whether they would prefer the virus in season 1 or season 2:

Steven: Well, they’re both horrible. What do you think, Neil?

Neil: I don’t know. I’d go with Ebola. I’d rather contract Ebola, I think. No, they’re both pretty nasty. Yes, it’s a whole other world of hurt this year in Helix-land.

Steven on whether there will be some resolution this season with all the characters coming back together:

Everybody will be meeting up at some point. It will definitely happen before the end of the season, and the challenge for us was trying to keep the storyline both moving ahead in a way that was hopefully satisfying and is an interesting thing to watch, even though we’re watching both storylines from the same episodes going in kind of different directions.

But yes, we are definitely planning on bringing everything all together. I think that the reunions, be they happy or sad, are going to be very rewarding when they finally start happening.

Steven on upping the ante in season 2:

We spent a copious amount of time trying to come up with what are the most horrible things that we can actually show on television. But we also want to make them interesting. We want them to feel organic to the story…. It’s definitely a horror show, and it’s very dark. But at the same time, hopefully, darkly funny.



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