WAKE-UP CALL

SFX - - Red Alert - TB

Emerg­ing from hy­per­sleep is bad news in YouTube drama Ori­gin.

Wak­ing up has never been easy – es­pe­cially when you’re mil­lions of miles from home in Ori­gin...

There’s plenty of sci-fi TV out there to choose from but it can be frus­trat­ing that a lot of them tend to be rather parochial. That’s why Bri­tish writer Mika Watkins specif­i­cally wanted to cre­ate a se­ries that fea­tured an in­ter­na­tional cast play­ing char­ac­ters ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the hor­ror of wak­ing up to­gether, stranded on a space­ship in the mid­dle of the inky black void of space.

As it turns out, YouTube Orig­i­nals was equally in­ter­ested in mak­ing a se­ries that would play to its in­creas­ingly global stream­ing au­di­ence, so the com­pany hired Watkins to cre­ate and showrun Ori­gin. De­vel­oped with sci-fi TV vet­er­ans like Jeff Pinkner (Fringe) and Josh Ap­pel­baum (Alias), with a pilot directed by Res­i­dent Evil main­stay Paul WS An­der­son, the cast fea­tures in­ter­na­tional ac­tors like Na­talia Tena, Tom Fel­ton, Nora Arnezeder, Philipp Christo­pher and Fraser James.

“It was al­ways an in­ter­na­tional piece,” Watkins tells Red Alert. “It was al­ways about mak­ing sure we told re­ally au­then­tic sto­ries about all the dif­fer­ent parts of the world that we were ex­plor­ing. I had a re­ally strong sense of who I wanted, and then it was just about find­ing those peo­ple. And I do think the thing I’m prob­a­bly proud­est of is the cast­ing. We just nailed it.”

The thing I’m most proud of is the cast­ing. We just nailed it

Tena leads the cast as Lana, one of the first peo­ple to wake on the ship and dis­cover that some­thing on their jour­ney to a new home has gone hor­ri­bly wrong. As more are wo­ken from hy­per-sleep, they band to­gether to in­ves­ti­gate the mas­sive ship, and au­di­ences get to see, in flashback, how many of them came to be there.

Watkins says those flash­backs are in­te­gral to ex­plor­ing these char­ac­ter’s pasts. “There are sit­u­a­tions where you know what a char­ac­ter did in their past and you know the mis­take they made, and that they’ll make it again, be­cause that’s the ex­treme sit­u­a­tion that they’re in. And then there are times where you’re like, ‘Wow they re­ally have learned from what they did and they’re gonna do some­thing dif­fer­ently.’ I think that was al­ways the heart of the show.”

shock hor­ror

The sur­prise fac­tor that comes with all of the char­ac­ters was a huge sell­ing point for Fraser James, who plays the ge­neti­cist Henri. Once signed on, the ac­tor ad­mits that Watkins only in­formed the ac­tors about their back­sto­ries a week or two be­fore their flash­backs were shot. “I knew that Henri was a ge­neti­cist and so I wanted to un­der­stand what he’d been do­ing,” the ac­tor ex­plains. “That was pretty in­tense and part of the ex­cite­ment of it. Then, as the episodes came, you were flip­ping through to find out what was hap­pen­ing, and there were a few mo­ments when episodes were re­leased where I was just like, ‘Wow, you’re do­ing that?! That is bold. That is ballsy.’ We were like the early view­ers of the se­ries, as we were read­ing it for the first time. And my re­sponse to it gives me an in­di­ca­tion that peo­ple that are go­ing to be watch­ing it are re­ally go­ing to en­joy this.”

Ori­gin starts stream­ing on YouTube Pre­mium from 14 No­vem­ber.

Talk about get­ting a rude awak­en­ing. The Wiz­ard­ing War had been hard on Draco.

“No, you can’t have the last Jaffa Cake.”

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