Created by J.H. Wyman, he is definitely no stranger to the science fiction genre. He was an Executive Producer and writer for the FOX series Fringe and he created the short-lived, but impressive Almost Human.
Today, we sit down the Wyman to discuss the first season of Debris including its affect on Bryan, his thoughts on Maddox and is George someone we can trust.
Pop Culture Principle – With this series, you have really been able to mix the alien and science fiction element with the human and emotional element perfectly. Were you hoping that was something that the audience would pick up on while watching the show?
J.H. Wyman – That’s a good question. That is how it was sort of designed. As an artist, I can only do what I do which is tell stories about things I am really moved by and this is sort of my commentary about things in society and the world and where we are. There are a lot of people out there that do the spaceships and little green men way better than me. For me, what I do is really specific and that is a fingerprint of mine and an element of my work hopefully.
With Debris, I thought the concept was really cool because of the outer space stuff. I wanted to bring it here and sort of allow the stories to be inherently human and it’s really about us and not just the pieces. So, I really set out on that goal and it was always my intention to make the first season like the origin story and allow people to understand the vitamins and minerals of what the show is and now it takes off into directions they never could have imagined. I’m really thankful that we got here, and I am thankful for the reactions.
I’m ready for specific people who want to believe in that kind of cool wonder and that we can all be connected and that human beings are awesome. I am really concerned with people’s loss of wonder and hope because there is so much cynicism out there. I am trying to give the fans something that will help all of that.
Pop Culture Principle – What we find interesting about the debris is that it’s not good or bad, it’s the manifestation of someone’s fears or dreams. Would you agree with that?
J.H. Wyman – Yes, I would. It’s funny because it’s like science. Science is neither good nor bad, it’s just how we use it. I mean, you can split an atom to do evil or you can make an iron lung. It’s very interesting because it’s a mirror of our humanity and the way we sort of look at things. What are we going to do with this? How is this going to reflect on us? Can we get to a higher consciousness like George is hoping for? Can we do things that will change us fundamentally and spiritually or will it destroy us, so I would definitely agree with that statement.
J.H. Wyman – I think we are going to learn a lot about him if we get a second season. He’s a really complex character in that a lot of these guys who started in the CIA, there is a certain degree of sociopath. They can compartmentalize their minds and rationalize that what they are doing is for the greater good. They can forge relationships with people that are not authentic because their job requires it.
Maddox coming from where he comes from, he’s done it all and he definitely thinks in his mind that everything he has done is absolutely just. That’s what I find interesting about characters that are running that line is that they have a great rational for the things that they are doing and those are the kinds of characters that really make me think and realize there are good and bad here. So, to your point, grey area is a great way to put it and he lives in that area, but he believes that he is doing the right thing.
Pop Culture Principle – There seems to be something a little fishy when it comes to George. Should we trust him at all?
J.H. Wyman – I think that part of the fun about the show Debris is that everybody has two sides, and everybody is sort of in conflict with those two sides. I think that George is someone who sees things a certain way. Orbital has taken away his reason for being. He created Orbital, he was the guy behind it, and he was the brains, so if we get a second season, we’ll learn more about George. He is always going to be a character that will have interesting layers that we will strip away. I really love his relationship with Finola and where that is going.
Pop Culture Principle – In the most recent episode of Debris, we see Bryan looking at the debris and what its possibilities are in a different way as compared to the beginning of the series. How important was that specific journey for Bryan?
J.H. Wyman – Yes. Hopefully, everything that I lay out has a reason. This show is something I’ve been thinking about for a long time. I have a five-season plan and I know what that last shot of the series will be and the last line of the series because I tend to right in metaphors. So, I need to know where I am going before I can write about it.
Everything is for a reason and it’s definitely not something that is arbitrary. Hopefully, in the season finally and if we get a second season, it will force people to go back and recontextualize everything they saw before and be able to watch the pilot and realize they missed something. Even, the ball of light for instance, we had two people mention the ball of light earlier and it appears in episode twelve. Definitely realize that everything our characters are experiencing is crucial to the story.
Pop Culture Principle – Will we ever find out the meaning of the scene with the Native American man and the four directions comments?
J.H. Wyman – You are going to get answers to that quickly or I should say you will understand it more. I feel that the viewers of Debris are smart and realize that I wouldn’t put that in the show for no reason. Who is this Native American and why is he in the middle of the desert and what does he have to do with anything? I would say that Maddox’s last line before that scene is a bit of a tip. I feel the people that enjoy the kind of science fiction that I like to write, they are really clever, and they will go along with the ride and I was hoping that that scene would be something to make them think that something is definitely coming.
Pop Culture Principle – Should we assume those transmissions at the end of each episode are important?
J.H. Wyman – Yes, they are. There are a lot of easter eggs in the show like I did with Fringe. I know when you watch the show live, the promos overlap the transmissions at the end. For people that are interested, they can go and figure out the other story that is going on in tandem. I can leave clues for people and it’s just the beginning and I wanted to give something a little extra for the fans. It’s talking about something specific, and they can learn something about the show as it moves forward.
Pop Culture Principle – Speaking of a second season, if the series gets renewed, can we assume that you already have that season mapped out?
J.H. Wyman – I do and very specifically. I have all five seasons mapped out already. Some people are really good at looking at a blank page and making it up as they go along, and I am not one of those people. I like to tell a story for a reason and a purpose. I like to work in metaphors and in order for me to tell a story, I have to know where I am going, and I can’t just wing it. Making a television series is really tough and everybody has their own method, and my method is not let’s just see where it goes. There are a lot of shows that have done really well that way and I’m not criticizing them, but it’s just not my way. For me, there is a very specific story, gather around the campfire and this is the story I’m going to tell you.
Pop Culture Principle – What can fans look forward to with the Season One finale of Debris?
J.H. Wyman – Nothing! 😊 I will say that there are a bunch of revelations and surprises. There are things in the finale that people definitely won’t expect. It will allow you to leave understanding that there will be some really fun journeys to go on if there is a second season. It will leave you with some answers and will leave you with a couple of questions that I think are fundamental and that are more intriguing.
J.H. Wyman – That’s a really good question. It’s my job to do things a little different and do my art in a way that is uniquely my own and to try and reach like-minded people out there who feel the same way about humanity and science fiction. I feel that I was successful in that realm.
In television, it is very hard to be unique. From the sound of the show and the look of the show and the things that we pulled off, I’m really proud of Debris. That’s the hardest thing is to work your butt off for you guys and have it be looked at in a way that you know that we are really trying.
I had a very specific vision and there is a ton of art in it and that’s what I am. It got what I believe across as an artist and hopefully it spoke to the people who follow my work and will fit nicely in my Uber of what I like to do and hopefully bring more people to my next project.
A big thank you to J.H. Wyman for talking with us. You can catch the Debris Season One finale on Monday, May 24th at 109/c!
**All photos courtesy of James Dittiger/Sergei Bachlakov/NBC**