Described by co-creator Scott Rosenberg as "a combination of "Salem's Lot" and a little bit of "Twin Peaks," ABC's new supernatural who-dunnit mystery "Happy Town" made its debut to an eager crowd at Saturday's WonderCon in San Francisco. Set in the fictional small town of Happlin, the series centers on a murder that not only ends a five-year absence of crime but also may result in the re-emergence of a possible serial killer nicknamed "The Magic Man" who'd been responsible for seven disappearances in the last twelve years.
After a screening of the pilot - the first time anyone outside of the production had seen it - creators Rosenberg, Andre Nemec and Josh Applebaum were joined on stage by stars Geoff Stults, Amy Acker and M.C. Gainey to answer questions about what everyone had just seen. Judging from the first episode, the show - which mixes Stephen King-style horror with soap opera and David Lynchian humor - might be what ABC has been hoping for from shows like "Flash Forward" and "V," a successor to the outgoing "Lost."
However, according to Nemec, that doesn't mean "Happy Town" will match "Lost's" slow pacing. "We answer a lot of questions along the way. We have an endgame in mind with the series, [and] a lot of our resolutions and answers to questions raise more questions," he said.
Even though the first season is only eight episodes, the "Happy Town" creators don't think the short length is a problem. "Eight episodes are great," Applebaum told the crowd. He explained that although audiences will uncover the true identity of the Magic Man by the end of the first season, that doesn't mean the heroes will, and the character's identity will open up more mysteries about the town's inhabitants. "We find out who the Magic Man is, which turns everything on its head. We can go on for years, if you'll have us."
Acker explained why she was drawn to her role, a wife to Stults' character, which she jokingly identified "a reason in itself" to take the part. "It's about the town and you know bad stuff is happening, it really plays into the family and the way that they trust each other. It allows bad stuff to happen to other people, too," she said.
Does this mean that one of Acker's family is the Magic Man? Find out for yourself when "Happy Town" debuts on ABC Wednesday, April 28.