When Fringe co-creators Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman announced that they were developing a Hawaii Five-0 reboot, fans of their previous work (Alias, Star Trek, Eagle Eye) undoubtedly let out a collective "Huh?" The twosome, best known for shows with intricate conspiracy theories, have now embarked on a journey of mystery-of-the-week — and say they-re loving it. TV Guide Magazine caught up with Orci at the HRTS Hitmakers Luncheon on December 8 to get the scoop on the mean streets of Honolulu and moving Fringe to Friday nights.
TV Guide Magazine: Where's your focus these days?
Orci: Let's see. Finishing Cowboys & Aliens [out next July]. We're in the editing room on it. Hawaii Five-0 is still in its first year, so you want to be really involved, so right there is a good chunk of my week.
TV Guide Magazine: Fringe?
Orci: No, we get together with [executive producers] Jeff Pinkner and Joel Wyman at the beginning of every year and at Christmas. And I pitch them any stupid idea that I have and then the rest of the year I watch to see if they kept any of the ideas. But it's really up to them. It's their show. We help when we can, but they have a great machine now.
TV Guide Magazine: So, what made it into the first half of the season?
Orci: Very little. But I'm counting on really shining in the second half. [Laughs]
TV Guide Magazine: The show is amazing right now, but it's being moved to Friday night. What do you make of that?
Orci: It may not be a bad thing. My wife was a writer on Ghost Whisperer, which aired on Fridays, and her show used to beat [our ratings] consistently on Thursday, so that might actually be a good place for everybody to find it, I hope. There's a little bit of a pedigree and precedence for a cool genre show on Friday. So let's hope.
TV Guide Magazine: And now we have a murder mystery/conspiracy theory on Hawaii Five-0 as well?
Orci: We can't help ourselves can we? CBS has been great in that I've learned a lot from them about telling the kind of stories they tell, which are close-ended with a beginning, middle and end. And they've been great in letting us do what we like to do, which is to have a little bit stranger character interactions and a little bit of questions hanging over the show, so we're actually having a good time kind of teaching each other that and hopefully you're seeing the result of that.
TV Guide Magazine: Like adding Masi Oka as the quirky coroner?
Orci: Yeah, and on a show like this you don't know what you're going to find out about these people. I like the feeling that the world could be bigger than you think every week.
TV Guide Magazine: Did you always know that McGarretts [Alex O'Loughlin] mother's death was going to be more than an accident?
Orci: Yes. Peter Lenkov, who brought us into this, I think part of the reason he wanted to team up with us was the he hoped we could all come up with how to do these kinds of shows where if you tune in every week you won't be lost, but if you've been following it, you get little nuggets of their lives, like what happened to his mother? What happened to his father? Is it connected? Is there a bigger story going on than just cop show of the week?
TV Guide Magazine: How will that storyline develop?
Orci: McGarrett's going to find out a lot about his family, and maybe what side exactly they were on. That's a big hint. And he's going to pick up, in a sense, what his father was investigating, and find out potentially, how did that get him killed. Was it deeper than just what you saw in the pilot?
TV Guide Magazine: And James Marsters is back?
Orci: Yes! We couldn't let him perish. In the original script for the pilot you were supposed to see him crawl out of the water at a fancy hotel, walk through the lobby and get in a cab.
TV Guide: When do we see him again?
Orci: Soon! Next week. [Monday, Dec. 13, 10/9c on CBS.]
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