Syfy’s Aftermath is a bit like The Day After Tomorrow meets Cthulhu (long may he reign). Since its debut back in September, Aftermath viewers face a weekly onslaught of earthquakes, deadly stellar phenomenon, meteors, an insanity-inducing virus, carnivorous plants, and even a dragon with a taste for Amish cows. Comic book writer/artist Kaare Andrews directs this week’s episodes of Aftermath and offered Fandom readers some behind the scenes info about this insane new show.
You might believe another end-of-the-world series like this is overkill in a TV landscape already overstuffed with post-apocalyptic shows; to that, Aftermath scoffs and presents you with a Māori bone-sucking sea goblin. Besides, technically this is a mid-apocalyptic show since, you know, the civilization-ending disasters are ongoing.
If you’ve not watched yet, Syfy is giving you a chance to catch up on Tuesday with one of their all-day marathons (from 6am to 1pm, check your local listings) or you can watch all the Aftermath episodes anytime at Syfy.com. Now is a good time to jump onboard the old RV with the show’s Copeland family. After a series of harrowing adventures, they currently sit on an erupting Mount Rainier after a reincarnated monk of unknown origin said that was the safest place to be when the lava starts flowing. It is one of the series’ strongest episodes, the first of a two-part story directed by Kaare Andrews.
This week I talked to Andrews about his time directing the show. He says, before he even knew about the planned Canadian series, his involvement was “foretold” to him in a dream. “I had a nightmare one night, which is unusual in itself,” Andrews recalls, “but I was hiding in the basement of a building, protecting my family from supernatural demons. The next day I was sent the script for Aftermath. True story.”
Andrews’ Aftermath Explodes Mount Rainier
While he’s directed shorts and feature films, Andrews is actually best known as a comic book artist and writer. He just wrapped a 12-issue run on Iron Fist: The Living Weapon for Marvel as well as his original creation Renato Jones: THE ONE% over at Image. He’s currently working on a serialized story called Black Sinister for Dark Horse Presents and will return with a new Iron Fist book just in time for the Netflix series. “I always seem to be doing a hundred things at once, but I wouldn’t have it any other way,” he says. “Right now I am furiously working on both comics and film and just finished writing my first original (TV) pilot.”
After the Aftermath dream and reading the script, he spoke to producers and series creators Bill Laurin and Glenn Davis. “They saw a feature I had directed and offered me the job. I think they responded to my work and my unique hybrid background of both directing for film and creating comic books for Marvel.”
Andrews says he was nervous that he’d have less control on television than with his movie work but found directing for TV had more in common with comics than anything else. “When you draw comics, you are dealing with the same situation,” he explains. “You have a script written by a writer, featuring a character that may have been around for 40 years, you take your turn at bat, and you look for places to add. You have to learn the TV show completely, reading every script and watching all the dailies, but you have to find that thing that only you can bring to the work.”
Kill Your Darlings
While he’s worked in movies since 2003, working in television is still relatively new for Andrews. “This year I’ll have directed three series on three networks, from giant robots (Disney’s Mech-X4) to post-apocalyptic volcanoes, and I can say that I’ve fallen in love with the medium.” With Aftermath, he found much to love about the show’s core characters. “My favorite thing is the family. I love that a family is surviving the apocalypse together. Not just one or two of them, but all the Copelands,” he says. “Every moment between them feels real.”
His professed love for the characters and the actors who play them didn’t stop Andrews from killing and maiming a few in spectacular fashion before blowing up Mount Rainer and possibly taking out half the state of Washington. “I love the challenge of creating big, giant spectacle on a modest TV budget. It really lets me dive back into my indie filmmaker’s bag of tricks. It’s that mix of big spectacle with an indie sensibility that makes the production model of this show so unique, and it’s an approach I love.”
More Magical Monk and Exploding Mountains
With the Aftermath survivors now sitting on an exploding volcano, we want to know how Andrews plans to pay off his cliffhanger in this week’s episode. “Oh, the things you will see …,” he teases. “I love the mystical and spiritual elements in the first episode, and it continues in the next episode. Joseph Campbell has a quote that goes, ‘the cave you are afraid of holds the treasure you seek,’ and this was the thematic road map for the next episode. Karen is buried in a volcano, looking for treasure but finding something else.”
Kaare Andrews directed episodes seven and eight of Aftermath. Episode eight will air on Tuesday, November 15 at 10pm on Syfy in the US and on Space in Canada.