” The list of unfortunate but far-from-surprising cancellations today continues. We have already heard official word today that both “Constantine” and “State of Affairs” are going away, and the same now can be said for “Backstrom.” E! Newsreports that the Rainn Wilson crime series is ending after just one season on the air.
We feel heavily for “Backstrom,” mostly because it is a show that barely even had a chance. It aired most of its season against two big shows in “Scandal” and “The Blacklist,” and it also aired during what has been a pretty rough year for Fox. Sure, they’ve got “Empire” and to a certain extent “Gotham” and “Last Man on Earth,” but most of their other new shows failed and even some returning ones struggled. (We’ve already discussed heavily the major failures of “Sleepy Hollow” season 2.)
Unfortunately for “Backstrom” fans, we feel like the odds are low of it being shopped elsewhere successfully. It’s possible in theory, but there is not much incentive given how low the ratings were for most of the season.
What we do hope moving forward is that Wilson does eventually land on another show where his talents can be utilized to the fullest. He may be best going back into an ensemble, since that is where he shined the brightest on “The Office.” Hopefully, the right role will come for him over time, but we are far too late in pilot season for him to hop aboard a new fall show unless there are some recastings that happen over the course of the upcoming months. ”
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— KSiteTV (@KSiteTV) May 8, 2015
— Thomas Dekker (@theThomasDekker) May 9, 2015
‘Backstrom’s’ Thomas Dekker Talks Character’s ‘Dark’ Past, Rainn Wilson’s Hurt Feelings (Video)
We’re both heinously cruel to each other all day,” the actor said of his relationship with the “Office” alum during TheWrap’s “Drinking with the Stars”
” Thursday’s episode of “Backstrom” will shed light on “a very dark experience” that the eponymous detective’s roommate endured, actor Thomas Dekker told TheWrap during the latest installment of “Drinking with the Stars.”
“Episode five that’s airing this week, this is sort of the turning point where we get a lot more information about Valentine’s past. There’s a very dark experience that he went through that is sort of connected to the murder case that they’re solving,” Dekker said. “From there we really delve into how these two seemingly opposite characters — but very similar characters, I think — came together.”
“I just said screw the breakdown, I’m just gonna do what I want with it,” Dekker said. “I was the only one in the audition that went in the mohawk and the eyeliner and the leather and the whole kind of boy with the dragon tattoo thing … I thought they’ll either love it or hate it, and they actually loved it, and so the character became a complete collaboration between Rainn Wilson, myself and Hart Hanson, our showrunner.”
“Rainn despises the fact that I’ve never watched ‘The Office,’ which wasn’t a conscious choice, I just never did. I’m very, very picky with my TV shows,” Dekker said. “When I told him that, he was ‘pretend devastated,’ but I think he actually was, deep down.”
When it came to mid-season in January 2015, many were quick to write-off Hart Hanson’s Backstrom as another House knock-off about a piece of crap main character with a God complex. However, upon further examination, it’s clear to see why that fact is simply untrue. Rather, upon deeper analysis, Backstrom reveals itself to be something much more than the average procedural while still also acting as an homage to ’70s cop shows.
Part of House’s dynamic came from the idea of how far the character could corrupt the people around him through cynicism. Many of the show’s struggles grew from watching the supporting cast step over their personal lines of morality again and again and again because they were simply following the genius doctor who was operating unchecked at the hospital. The big question was always, “what’s this character’s breaking point? Where do they finally decide House’s behavior has grown too corrupting?” Ultimately, what one roots for in House is the character’s redemption not for himself, but for the sake of those around him. Backstrom, however, operates on the opposite end of the same scale.
In the Hart Hanson show, you root for the character’s downfall. No matter how hard Everett tries, he simply can’t corrupt the incorruptible. He can’t force his colleagues, who operate at supremely high levels of joy, to change their by the book ways no matter how much he barks or threatens to bite. He may be a genius cop, but unlike Gregory House, Everett Backstrom does not work unchecked, and it’s that dynamic that plays to the series’ advantage in a big way. To argue the show doesn’t deserve a season 2 because it’s a “House knock-off” is to argue a position that couldn’t be further from the truth.
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Thomas Dekker: Fearlessly Disappears into Characters
In February, Thomas Dekker was working social media for his new Fox series Backstrom and noticed that William Shatner had posted about the show. Never one to bite his tongue, Dekker shot back at the Star Trek icon, “I wonder if he remembers we worked together when I was six?” Shatner didn’t (though he did remember Dekker from another show, and replied with a thumbs-up emoji). Shatner probably isn’t alone in his hazy recall of Capt. Picard’s son on Stark Trek: Generations. Few remember Dekker as the creepy blond-haired son in John Carpenter’s Village of the Damned. Or for the fairly significant parts he had as a child on Seinfeld, ER, Honey, I Shrunk The Kids, or Seventh Heaven.
Dekker had a great time as a kid, but doesn’t particularly care about being lauded for that period. “My father was a huge film aficionado and he had — it’s still in my house — a huge library of movies, three to a videocassette. My favorite when I was eight years old was Carrie. My father showed me Kubrick and Bergman when I was like nine,” says Dekker. “So there was definitely something in me from a young age that loved great cinema. But it really didn’t feel like those films were connected to my own experiences as an actor.”
“By the time he was 17, Dekker was ready to move on from acting; he filled out an application to work at Amoeba Records, put a band together, thought about directing. But instead of quitting, he switched representation, booked a huge role on what would turn out to be the mega-hit Heroes, then quit that show to play John Connor on Fox’s TV adaptation of the Terminator franchise, then landed the lead in Gregg Araki’s Kaboom in 2010.
When it was done, and I was at Cannes, at Sundance — I just felt like, My god, I am part of a universe now that I have grown up obsessed with,” says Dekker. “I still can’t believe that I was given the opportunity to be a character that weirdo kids — like I had been myself — loved and watched.”
It was a role that his agents had advised against (too sexual, too risky), but they were missing the point: For Dekker, it was a transformative experience. Suddenly he was free to go for it, to play roles in any sort of off-kilter way that seemed right. And that’s
what he did, taking on all sorts of twisted projects, like the eccentric Lance Loud on HBO’s Cinema Verite and a heroin-addicted rocker in Catherine Hardwicke’s Plush.
Which brings us around to his current gig with Fox: On Backstrom he plays the flamboyant, petty- thief roommate of the title character. It would be a pretty run-of-the-mill police procedural if it weren’t for his character, and for the fact that Backstrom is
played by the similarly eccentric Rainn Wilson. “We said the whole time that it felt like we were shooting two different shows:Backstrom and The Backstrom and Valentine Show,” says a laughing Dekker, who admits that he embellished what was originally a much smaller part when he auditioned. “I’ve never
wanted to be this guy that you recognize in every role. What’s interested me has always been how different I can be from one role to the next, how unrecognizable I can be.”
Hair: Tony Chavez
Grooming: Jo Strettell