To get readers ready for the Syfy lineup of Christmas specials, Colin Ferguson (Eureka), Eddie McClintock (Warehouse 13), and Emily Rose (Haven) recently spoke to the press. It was kind of a chaotic call, but it was incredibly fun, as well—like it always is with these guys.
On Eureka, Carter and Allison try and plan the perfect Christmas for their kids but are surprised when they find themselves—and the rest of the town—animated. For Warehouse 13, it’s not a wonderful life for the Warehouse team when Pete discovers a world in which he’d never been born. Finally, on Haven, Audrey is surprised to see Christmas decorations suddenly popping up all over town—even though it’s July!
Jump with me to read all the great holiday Q&As!
On filming a Christmas special in the middle of the year
Emily Rose: Yes well we laughed because we film in Nova Scotia, Canada in a small town called Chester. And we kind of were laughing, we were like, “We really should have filmed this one first because it’s so cold there the majority of the time that it would have been nice to start out with the Christmas episode and then launch into the rest of the season.
But we had a very, very small, small window of warm weather when we were in Chester. And so to be filming it in the middle of the warm weather season, even though that was still pretty cold in Nova Scotia, it was really, really funny.
And it’s always fun to see the town sort of come out and taken in the Christmas decorations and we refaced one of our main theaters in town that a lot of great little shows go on at with a huge marquee and just kind of pumped the town up to this next, like holiday Christmas level.
And it was fun, because we’re not there in Chester over the holidays, to sort of get a glimpse ahead of what that would be like was really, really neat. Although it was totally sunny and no snow anywhere. But still fun; everybody gets in the holiday spirit when you say, “It’s Christmas.” It was great.
On this year’s Christmas episode being heavier in tone for Pete
Eddie McClintock: I just liked this year’s Christmas episode better because I just felt it was a little too, dare I say, “Schmaltzy last year.” Not that it was a bad episode, I enjoyed it but I just like this one better.
I mean Roger Rees is back as Macpherson, you know, there’s an actual bad guy and the stakes are much higher this year. And gosh I don’t know, I’m trying to remember – I don’t think H.G. is in but God, I don’t know. Don’t get that involved, all the shippers will come after me.
I just recently learned what a shipper was by – because all these – everybody wants Myka and H.G. to get together. And I posted this video that somebody did about H.G. and Myka and they were like, “Oh Eddie, I didn’t know you were a shipper.” And I thought it was some lesbianic (sic) slang involving the navy. So apparently I’m a shipper.
But was it harder this year; no you know, just more great writing from Jack Kenny and company, to you know, give Pete the depth that I think that he needs to have longevity in regards to the show.
On the Christmas episode being completely separate from the normal timeline
Essentially some of what I’ve said before about the episode is, the way I put it is just that it’s kind of like a little gift to the fans, kind of a holdover type of intermission episode where it’s kind of just its own little gem of an episode. So if you miss the characters and you’ve missed the world, you could hop into it.
But we’re really hoping that the fans know not to put it in any kind of sequential order because it won’t pay anything off or reflect on anything. We kind of took all time references out of it so it would just be its own little episode.
Colin Ferguson: Yes, absolutely. It exists out of time, and part of that is a necessity for the writing staff because the – where – when you shoot it and all sorts of stuff like that.
And as well, you want it to be perennial; you want it to be something that can air every single year. So if you lock it in the continuum of a show, you almost make it outdated by the next year. So I think I you do a service to the holiday, we all – all of ours exist out of time.
On the Eureka episode being animated different ways & his favorite
Colin: Well for us it was sort of more of a concept than a reality, we took one of the sets that we usually shoot in, Café Diem and we sat there for six hours one day and blew through 30 pages of dialogue or something like that. That’s awesome. I mean if I could shoot like that everyday that’d be the greatest (unintelligible). So we loved, loved that.
We didn’t really adjust vocally for any of the animation that we were doing. And – so I’ve only seen the – I think the rough version, which is I think what you guys have seen. So I haven’t seen the final tightened version that’s going to go out or air I guess in a couple weeks.
But it was really, really fun, really fun to see – for myself to be a Rankin and Bass character like Fred Astaire when he was like S.D. Kluger and like it’s just really – it brought me back to when I was a kid. I haven’t seen that stuff in a long time so it was really, really fun to watch.
Probably my favorite is the old Rankin and Bass Claymation style. It’s just not something that anyone does anymore, and nor will they probably ever do it anymore because it’s so low-tech. Like it’s that chunky way that they move, that sort of stutter way that they move.
And it’s so cool, I mean it’s so warming, that that was one of those things, when you see all your friends all done up with their Claymation characters, it’s a really sort of amazing thing to see.
And we asked for our little dolls — they called them dolls – the Claymation dolls, if we could have them afterwards and Curious Pictures said, they said, “You can have them but they’re so beaten by the time they’re done, like they just – they’re completely falling apart.”
So they said they wouldn’t even survive a shipping, so we don’t get to have them. But that’s definitely my favorite. Although the anime is really cool, it’s sort of sexy and fun. But as far as a nostalgia thing I would say the Rankin and Bass.
On Audrey’s lack of memories affecting her meaning of Christmas & seeing people vanish suddenly
Emily: That’s what launches Audrey into her journey for that time and that’s what makes her so resistant to be on the journey and what is the thing for her that she has to sort of overcome. I think that’s the great chestnut about that character is that the past for her is something that is really hard for her to literally wrap her head around.
And but what she does remember, whether they’re her memories or not her memories, what she does remember isn’t exactly the most pleasant thing. So how does she overcome that and deal what’s going on in the day? And I think it makes for a pretty interesting episode.
[And] what would we all think if we saw [spoiler—so someone] vanish? Probably the same thing; I think everybody hopefully will feel the same way. I think for her it’s – it always has to be life or death for her. If she doesn’t believe that it’s really a reality then we really wouldn’t have much of a story or much of a character.
So for her it’s just that sort of initial freak out that one of the only people that kind of walks through this life with her could really be gone. And considering her past and that she’s always lost people and that she’s never had a family, it’s a really big deal when someone like him disappears so.
On why holiday specials are such a big tradition
Eddie: You know, it’s a tradition because the television networks have created it and starting back as far as I can remember like Miracle on the – whatever, Miracle on 38th Street or whatever? How am I doing?
And it’s a tradition at my house because we can put the kids in front of the TV and the adults can have some quiet time. I suppose that’s what my parents did with me.
Colin: I mean it goes to like the end of the year. It’s the most dark that we get, you know, solstice-wise of the year. I think it’s a really important time of year, sort of culturally and historically.
And I think that’s why we put holiday’s there and that’s why we try to sort of put some brightness into our lives when it’s the darkest day that we get. So that’s what interests, I think that’s me. But I – for culturally it’s I guess yes, what we – I don’t know I’ve got nothing. Emily shoot for it.
Emily: I can’t guarantee I’ll have any better. But I think one of the things we love culturally about traditions is it’s something that we all can relate to in different traditions and different ways, but we can all talk about it and all relate to it. I know as a kid, I loved watching when television sort of merged into my own life. I don’t what that says about my vocation today.
But I really loved watching the characters on television go through maybe the same things that we were going through at home, whether it was like getting the Thanksgiving turkey ready or you know, all of the Christmas mayhem that – when these characters go through what our families go through every time we come to hang out.
And so I think there’s a bit of a joy of peering into an imaginary world with them kind of going through the same things that we do; it kind of joins our two worlds together. And so I think it’s something that we all love to have something that we can count on that makes us laugh and that entertains us.
Colin: That’s a great answer. I like that answer. I’m doing all my calls with Emily. That’s a great answer.
Eddie: When I was growing up you couldn’t just dial up a Christmas show on iTunes or watch it on your phone, or you know you actually had to wait an entire year to see those shows again. So it was exciting, it was like, “Wow, I remember this from last year.” You know, I mean my kids watch Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer now like once a month. So it’s just like, you know, hopefully the tradition will be able to stand up in the face of all this new technology.
Emily: And you had to set your VHS’s, if and when you had one, to the specific time because if you missed it you would never be able to watch it again.
On what they would wish for their characters for Christmas
Emily: I would always hope for Audrey that she would find out more about her mother or her previous, you know, memories or whatnot. I will always be begging writers to dive more into that and kind of (unintelligible) more because it’s so intriguing.
And whenever I do get to look into her past, I get to dress up in really cool period costumes. So that’s what I would hope for for her.
Colin: I think for Jack it would be a simpler wish of just raising a family again, in a sense properly and continuing to do what he does in the town. I think he belongs there, I think the town should sort of go off, you know, and do what it does forever.
So I – my wish would be that he gets to settle in and have a real family community small town life. I think it would do well for him to have that.
Thanks again to Colin, Eddie, & Emily for speaking to us! I’ve seen all three special episodes, and if you’re a fan (and even if you haven’t seen the shows at all!), you don’t want to miss them! Tune in to Syfy on Tuesday, December 6, at 8/7c for Eureka, 9/8c for Warehouse 13, and 10/9c for Haven!