The creative team behind AMC’s Lodge 49, in a wide-ranging TCA panel suiting the peregrinations of the series, touched on Thomas Pynchon, the “dread” of Sundays in Southern California and how the show is a “palate cleanser” during the peak-TV era.

Following Sean “Dud” Dudley, an ex-surfer in Long Beach played by Wyatt Russell, the show explores the activities of a social club that is based on a mash-up of groups such as the Elks, the Masons and the Rosecrucians. While there are ominous overtones, the show is a more sardonic adventure with a light-hearted streak, a tone that runs counter to the portentous feel of many prestige series.

“The ‘great’ shows still feel like homework,” said executive producer and showrunner Peter Ocko. “We see our show as a bit of a palate-cleanser so you can go back to the hard work of watching shows about complicated robots.”

Jim Gavin, the creator, writer and executive producer of Lodge 49, said the idea for the show was shaped by the dense, witty imagination of Thomas Pynchon, who rooted his distinctive work in Southern California. “I can take you to the place in Manhattan Beach where he wrote Gravity’s Rainbow,” Gavin said. “He’s big for me.”

From the real-life clubs that sparked ideas for the show to the particular feel of the setting for the show. “Sunday in Sunny California seems particularly strange and full of dread if you’re me,” Gavin said.

Paul Giamatti, who is an executive producer of the series, said he wasn’t fazed by the fact his contract with Showtime’s Billions prevented him from acting in Lodge 49. “I knew right after I read it that I wanted to be a viewer of this thing,” he said. “I wanted the joy of being able to watch it.”