The NBC series Surface has resurfaced on DVD from Universal Home Video
The science-fiction adventure series was created by Jonas and Josh Pate, Winston-Salem natives, and was filmed and partially set in Wilmington. The Pate brothers split the duties on the show, with Jonas moving back to North Carolina to oversee filming and Josh staying in California to work with the writers and special-effects team.
Despite some favorable buzz, the show never caught on and was canceled after one season. Jonas Pate recently took some time off from moving his family back to California for an e-mail interview about the show.
Here is that exclusive interview with Journal Now:
Q. Are you trying to shop Surface around to any other networks or look at another way of continuing the story?
A. We had some discussion with (the Sci Fi Channel), but alas, the budget of the show was beyond Sci Fi’s comfort zone.
Q. Are you satisfied with the promotion the network gave the show?
A. Actually, no. NBC never seemed to understand that Surface was a family action-adventure show. They kept trying to sell it as a B-movie horror show … “the creature from the DEEP!” A good example of the disconnect is the fact that Nim, our little digital sea monster, was never featured in any promo. If it’d been up to us, he would have been front and center.
Q. What do you think of the fan response, their campaigns to save the show, and so on? The show seemed to be embraced by a wide variety of people.
A. When we pitched the show to NBC, we told them our demo was 8 to 80. They laughed, but we actually meant it. So it was very gratifying to get feedback from fans that actually were from all over the age range, not just the coveted 18-49. And the petition was very, very appreciated.
Q. How much did you feel the show was embraced in the Wilmington area?
A. The show was truly embraced by the film community; the crews in N.C. are the best I’ve ever worked with. With the public, I felt the show never quite got out of the shadow of Dawson’s (Creek, which was also filmed in Wilmington). Which is understandable.
Q. Can you reveal anything about the planned story arc and what you had in mind for season two and beyond?
A. We always had a multiyear arc planned in our heads, one that we’d have to occasionally revise according to the needs of NBC. For example, we had a 22-episode opening season planned, but then they cut us back to 15, so we had to upload some of our late-season ideas earlier. I’m hoping someday Surface will rise again. We had more to tell, and I don’t want to blow it here.
Q. How did it feel being back home?
A. Like a homecoming of the best sort. I grew up in Raeford, and I now have two small children, so they got to see their grandparents every few weeks. Also, we lived right on the Intracoastal (Waterway), so when I wasn’t working, I could fish, surf, whatever. Wilmington’s a fantastic place to live.
Surface was one of a slate of science-fiction shows that didn’t survive the 2005-06 TV season. Two others were released on DVD this week. ABC’s Invasion (Warner Home Video) told the story of a small Florida town that was invaded by aliens that could assume human form. CBS’ Threshold (Paramount) involved a group of scientists trying to uncover an alien conspiracy.