Jesse Alexander On What To Expect - And Not To Expect - On Day One

Wondering what to expect from Jesse Alexander's new NBC series Day One? The creator has been talking about the show's influences, format and why it's not as like Jericho as you may have originally thought.

During an interview with John Siuntres on the WordBalloon podcast, Heroes and Lost alum Alexander explained the set-up and tone of the new NBC series:

Day One follows a group of people who live in a small apartment building... They're all strangers, they're all living their own lives, and then this earth-shattering event takes place that really changes the way the whole world has to move forward, and we follow this group of people as they become a community, a community of strangers, very much in the same way that the plane crash in Lost brought that group of people together... and they're all quite surprised to learn that they all have key roles to play in the upcoming new world order they are facing...I'm being a little cagey there, kind of hiding the big reveal, but, you know... It's a big event series, and the kind of story you see in a summer blockbuster... I love the idea of bringing a massive high production value entertaining story that people can get for free. I always loved that idea, that "Let's just make something so massive that people can get in their house for free and they're so compelled by it." That's what I'm trying to do with the show... The spirit of Day One really is entertainment, and optimism, and really cool characters working together to push through some challenges. I think the tone of the show is going to be fun and exciting and inspiring in a way that I really like in my genre entertainment. It's going to be interesting to see if that spirit works for people, and if it doesn't, it's my fault... because NBC has been so great and so supportive and encouraging for letting me do what I want to do on this thing.

With NBC's original description of the pilot playing up the post-apocalyptic aspects of the show, a lot of people wrote the series off as a Jericho clone, but Alexander feels that the actual show is something entirely different:

If people are looking to compare this show to other things, they're going to be building a very long list. The influences that are in Day One really come from so many different places [and] all the entertainment that had shaped me over the years, that I'm obsessed with. I'm such a fanboy nerd at the end of the day... There's a lot of Star Wars and Star Trek and all sorts of other elements. There's some Doctor Who elements, some Battlestar elements... You can see where I'm sort of trending with those references, they're different from any Jericho references.

Something else to look forward to when the show debuts in March next year is a format that balances story-arc with individual episodes, apparently:

That balance between episodic and serialized television is something that a lot of people are trying to figure out these days, and I've worked on crazy serials like Alias, and then on Lost, we kind of iterated on that a little bit by bringing in the flashbacks to try and give the folks something they could hang their hats on on a weekly basis potentially, and then on Heroes, we messed around with the format. And again, I'm really trying to figure out a way I can tell compelling stories every week. My taste in story is... I like a lot of story, I like a lot of stuff happening, you know? I like to keep it entertaining and compelling, and that's what I'm going to try and do with Day One... Sci-Fi really is the genre that I love, and I'm obsessed with trying to figure out a way to bring that genre to a mainstream TV audience. We're on NBC, we're on a broadcast network where the rubric for success is pretty high. We need to have a lot of people watching the show for it to stay on the air, and I've really been trying to figure out a way to do that. Hopefully, I've come up with something that will be fun to watch.

Day One premieres March 2010 on NBC.

Jesse Alexander On NBC's Day One & Sgt Fury [WordBalloon]