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Yip Wai Yee
Saturday, May 10, 2014

Showbiz

Resurrecting the dead

The Straits Times | Yip Wai Yee | Saturday, May 10, 2014

Television still: Resurrection starring (from left) Omar Epps, Frances Fisher, Kurtwood Smith and Devin Kelley

High-concept TV shows with a huge mystery nestling at the centre of their premise are hit and miss, as Lost, Heroes, Under The Dome and FlashForward have shown.

Resurrection, the latest such example, is as high-concept as they come - it is about the dead coming back to life in a small town in the United States.

But its cast members, who were here to promote the show, are confident that their show has the potential to go on for quite a bit.

American actor Omar Epps, 40, tells Life! at an interview at Fullerton Hotel this week: "The show has legs because, essentially, it is a family drama. The concept may be huge and it's hovering over the show, but once you delve into all the characters, it's really about their relationships, which flip and fold, and flip and fold."

His fellow cast member Kurtwood Smith, 70, points out that the show can have longevity because "the sky's the limit, anything can happen".

In the show, which premieres on Lifetime (StarHub TV Channel 514) on Monday, he plays Henry, a man whose son Jacob shows up at his doorstep as an eight-year-old, the same age he was when he drowned more than 30 years ago.

Epps adds that the story could very well be extended to many parts of the world and not be limited to just the state of Missouri, where Resurrection is set.

"In the first season, it's happening in this one place, but it could go on to be in any other part of the world too, as it happens in the book," he says, referring to Jason Mott's novel The Returned, on which the show is based on.

While he may be correct, high- concept shows run the risk of fizzling out after a big opening. That fate has arguably marred the initial successes of such TV shows as FlashForward (2009-2010) and Heroes (2006-2010).

So far, Resurrection has received generally positive reviews since its debut in the US in March. The Washington Post described the show as "a solid yet initially disturbing new drama", while The Wall Street Journal called it a "smartly ordered, sizzling drama, which establishes itself from the opening scene and builds from there".

According to Epps, who is extremely active on Twitter, where he has 1.7 million followers of his account (@omarepps), viewers of Resurrection are going rabid "with the notion of it all".

He says excitedly: "They're going left and right with their theories. They love the twists and turns - they think they've got it cornered and figured it out, but then something happens and they're all like, 'Damn it, what was that?'

"So it's been cool to see all those engagements with the fans."

He points out that this situation is different from when he was working on medical drama House (2004-2012), in which he played doctor Eric Foreman.

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