Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
The most intriguing material to emerge from a TCA panel promoting the new ABC action thriller Zero Hour starring Anthony Edwards came after the panel during an informal chat with creator/executive producer Paul Scheuring. He was asked about the presence of Nazis in the pilot and whether that was perhaps done to give the show something of a baseline for evil so there is no ambiguity. His surprising reply: “No. Actually, that’s a source of ambiguity. The idea that all Nazis are bad is something we are exploring, 100 percent.”
“The entire show is about the man or the woman beneath the identity,” Scheuring continued. “If you wear a Christian cross, are you automatically good? If you wear a Nazi armband, are you automatically bad? And that I think ultimately makes for more complex and interesting drama. All those different characters wear these different surface adornments, like Naziism, Christianity. But what’s the human beneath it?… I want to have a more sophisticated three-dimensional view of the characters as opposed to ‘Nazi! Bad!’ I mean, who cares?” Scheuring identified himself as Buddhist and went on to pose the hypothetical question whether the Christian God is real. “Scientifically, that’s the question we are starting to ask as the season goes along.”
Zero Hour stars ER alum Edwards as a man who, after spending 20 years as the editor of a skeptics magazine, becomes embroiled in a huge conspiracy. Lorenzo DiBonaventura is among the executive producers of a show that might be described as 24 meets The Da Vinci Code, at least in the pilot that was shot in Montreal.
The concept lured Edwards back to series television after he had sworn he’d never do another hourlong show following his intense eight seasons on ER. “Yes, I was done,” Edwards, perceived as one of the industry’s genuinely good guys, admitted. “When ER was done, I’d really felt I’d accomplished something. It was an amazing eight years, and it took awhile to recover from that.” But apparently, he’s now fully recovered. “The script that Lorenzo sent me was a great surprise,” Edwards said. “I thought that if these guys are crazy enough to do this story, I want to do it with them.”