Living in Los Angeles eventually stymies the excitement and intrigue of the celeb sighting. However, when afforded the opportunity of a behind-the-scenes event for a film or TV show, the mystique and cool factors somehow return. We recently had the pleasure of meeting members from the cast, writers, producers and channel executives for the BYUtv series, Granite Flats at an event in West Hollywood.
The show boasts a significant cast including the likes of the venerable Christopher Lloyd, whom you may know as Doc in the Back to the Future trilogy. After a successful first season, they are excited to be back for a second season launching in April. Owned by Brigham Young University and based in Provo, Utah, BYUtv is an innovative High Definition television network which has actively and strategically built its roster of original “see the good in the world” programming to fill a void in the primetime market.
Amidst the proliferation of TV programming, the network’s offerings stand out for their thoughtful examination of redeeming elements in our fast-paced, multifaceted world. The BYUtv team presented a narrative plus video walk through from the inception of the show to the upcoming season. “We sought to find something that was not in the market as of yet. We ended up with a period piece, one that examines the Cold War era and its participants, both governmental and everyday. Within there, male, female and children characters are developed into something creative with great writing.”
To sharpen the point, the four actors were introduced with Lloyd joining this new season for a three-episode storyline. Lloyd appears as Professor Stanfield Hargraves, an English teacher with a smart and teasing sense of humor who captivates the attention of the kids with his quick-wit. Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride, Psych) joins for four episodes as Hugh Ashmead, the real-life head of the CIA’s Counter Intelligence program in the 1960s. Richard Gunn portrays the idealistic town sheriff of Granite Flats and Tom Wright comes in as the outsider, an FBI agent looking to get to the bottom of the weird and seemingly manmade dubious occurrences in this remote town. Peter Murnik plays Hershel Jenkins, a troubled character preoccupied with fighting off personal demons while raising his son Wallace (Ethan Ross Wills) alone.
Not usually open for breakfast, the stylish Eveleigh on Sunset Boulevard played host to the BYUtv event. Having visited Eveleigh several times previously for their impressive cocktail menu, the location for the Tuesday breakfast launch piqued our interest for the food prospects alone. The setting itself presents a welcoming and hip ambiance that skirts the line of rustic and new-age, indoor-outdoor dining in Los Angeles. Coffee and virgin beverages preceded a family-style serving that included noteworthy items off the brunch menu.
The Q&A that followed breakfast pulled back the curtain on working within a BYU funded entity and Utah for shoots, and what it’s like to turn back the clock for a script. Tom Wright’s revealing point on the fictional town’s openness set the tone for the session and the overall mindset of the show. Not only is this show not religious, “What I found especially enticing was how this small town, like real people, has so many residents with open minds to others and those that are different.”
A different time indeed, but one filled with similarities and stark distinctions in comparison to today. Lloyd added, “I remember having to respond to fire drills as a boy…Under the desks or taking shelter in the New York City subways…it was serious then and now it seems so ridiculous.” That statement compounded to the curiosity about those past events, and the all too familiar current events. All episodes, from Granite Flats’ first season along with its season 2 premiere are immediately available online at BYUtv.org.