The team of Adam Armus and Kay Foster of Xena, Heroes, and The Following fame bring a new journey to television tonight on NBC as they introduce Sgt. Odelle Ballard, one of three major characters who are part of what the network describes as “a complex journey through global politics, corporate espionage and military secrets involving three strangers who only have one thing in common… the truth.”
The show is called American Odyssey, and we spoke with Mr. Armus earlier this year at an NBC event to get more details about his new series.
“The project originated with a producer in England named Simon Maxwell, who basically pitched to Kay and I this idea of the story of a modern-day Homer’s Odyssey,” Armus said when explaining the show’s origins. “We thought about the idea, and we thought ‘this would be great,’ and then we decided to make it a woman, and then we decided to add these other storylines about the conspiracy, and that’s where it all began.”
The show filmed in multiple countries and locations – between New York and Marrakech, and Armus describes the experience as being “an amazing ride.”
Thirteen episodes of the series will comprise Season 1, and the stars include Jake Robinson (The Carrie Diaries) as a young activist named Harrison Walters; Peter Facinelli (Twlight) as Peter Decker, a former U.S. attorney turned corporate litigator; and Anna Friel (Pushing Daisies) as Sgt. Odelle Ballard, a woman who some people want the world to believe to be dead.
The show’s plotline and the way we connect is the basis of how we as people can start to make a difference in the world again. “All of our power has been taken away from us by major corporations and major government agencies that don’t really pay attention to the role of people anymore, and this is a show that teaches you how to fight back a little bit,” Armus says.
“Odelle Ballard’s journey is something that is amazing to behold, because it’s about how many different adversaries are out there against her, and how many allies she finds in very unexpected places,” Armus adds. The advent of social media makes American Odyssey a different kind of show than we would have seen 20 years ago. “Social media is a big part of the show, and how we communicate with each other is a big part of the show, and beyond that, 20 years ago, I don’t think we were talking about the fact that corporate power was so big that we didn’t feel like we had a place in the world anymore. Now, it’s something that we all think about every day. That’s the thing that we tapped into,” he says, though personal stories will also be a priority.
“At the core, it’s about a woman struggling to get home, and the idea that she has these relationships that are at the core of it, and the relationships that these characters have with each other,” he says.
Finally, Armus wants to make it clear that American Odyssey doesn’t necessarily have a political agenda, neither Democrat nor Republican. “At first blush, people are going to say ‘well, this is just some liberal show,’ but it’s not true,” he promises. “When it comes to power versus the people, the idea of Democrat versus Republican is a diversion. It’s all the same. And the truth is, is that we as people have to unite against something that is much more powerful than all of that. It’s about trying to take back the will of what we want again. The will of the people. And that’s something much bigger than politics.”
American Odyssey premieres tonight (April 5) at 10PM on NBC. See some preview images from the first episode below: