Sure, we’ve got 30 Days of Night and Saw IV to look forward to, but you know what this October needs? Some witches!
Fortunately, David Eick, co-creator of the new Battlestar Galactica and Bionic Woman is here to oblige. Eick’s serving up two full nights of witches, when his TV mini-series The Gathering (directed by Bill Eagles, who helmed the recent BBC TV movie adaptation of Dracula) airs Saturday, October 13, and Sunday, October 14, on Lifetime. The O.C.’s Peter Gallagher stars as Michael Foster, a New York City medical doctor whose wife mysteriously vanishes one morning, leaving him with their teenage daughter. Foster teams up with his daughter’s teacher (played by The Sopranos’ Jamie-Lynn Sigler) in an effort to find his beloved, but is soon under attack by a cabal of witches; who may be in cahoots with a wealthy real estate developer (played by Peter Fonda) with a secret agenda that threatens all of New York.
Despite a crazy schedule that sees him serving as executive producer on three TV productions this year, Eick chatted with FEARnet from his Los Angeles office about the inspiration behind The Gathering.
“It was basically a kind of one-liner I doodled on the airplane on one of the eight-million trips I was taking to Vancouver during Battlestar Season 2,” says Eick. “It was simply, ‘A man wakes up one morning and realizes his wife has vanished, and there’s no sign of foul play. There’s no ‘Dear John’ letter. There’s no explanation for it whatsoever. They’ve got a daughter; it doesn’t make any sense why she’d leave. And in investigating her disappearance, he comes to realize that she may not have been who she seemed. That leads to the discovery of a movement taking place—in this metropolitan, incredibly familiar environment—that is having to do with witchcraft, and using witchcraft to affect change in the political spectrum, and to cause terror and violence.’ So I guess it appealed to me because it was touching on some very universal themes about ‘How well do you know the person you’re sleeping with?’ And also the idea that I think we all feel, that things are out of control, on whatever side of the political spectrum you might be on. Things can get out of control, and at times it does feel like maybe there’s some larger hand guiding things for good or ill. So using witchcraft as a metaphor for that seemed like an interesting thing to do.
“That ended up getting pitched to [Supernatural co-executive producer] John Shiban, who came aboard and fleshed it out with me as a writer. We took it and sold it to NBC as a pilot, and they elected not to move forward with it. But they gave us the rights back, and we took it to Lifetime, who expressed interest in it as long as it was a four-hour miniseries. Then we set about expanding it two hours, giving it a little bit more of a beginning and an end, as opposed to leaving it entirely elliptical—although I still say it [could be] a backdoor pilot. We actually just delivered the cut to the network, and they’re quite thrilled. So I’m very anxious to see how it performs.”