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From, Epix's new horror/thriller series premiering Feb. 20, is the first series from creator John Griffin. But he was paired with two long-time genre storytelling vets, Jeff Pinkner (Fringe) and Jack Bender (Mr. Mercedes), to bring the enigmatic series to life. Pinkner and Bender were both part of the Lost creative family, which today continues to be a lightning rod series in terms of its ardent proponents and equally vocal critics.
At today's Television Critics Association virtual winter press tour panel for Epix, attended by SYFY WIRE, the From creative team assembled to reveal some more details about their series, which revolves around a rural town that beckons outsiders to arrive, and then keeps them there against their will.
Starring Harold Perrineau, Catalina Sandino Moreno, and Eion Bailey, From has some clear parallels to Lost, including a collection of disparate strangers in an isolated locale with no contact with the outside world and something deadly lurking in the woods. However, Pinkner and Bender bring with them the benefit of hindsight and a decade's worth of distance from the global hit to identify ways to improve some of the fundamentals they've woven into this new series.
"Having done Lost, and taking those storytelling lessons and running them through the filter of Fringe, [we looked at] this series so that every season is its own chapter with its own questions and answers. This is a very contained arc," Pinkner explained. "And limitations force you to make harder choices. We make sure the characters ask the questions the audience would ask, and that reinforces the audience's experience. And we're always being mindful of the questions, and knowing we have answers. Then using that to ask what are the characters going through."
He added that the characters being stuck together in this town is akin to using a "Twilight Zone trope" to explore humanity. "The town is a crucible for each of these people and what they are going through in their lives," Pinkner teased.
Having directed some of the most seminal Lost episodes, including "Walkabout" and "The Constant," Bender says his initial attraction to From was Griffin's detailed mythology for the characters and town. "In my first phone call with John and Jeff, I asked, 'What’s up with this town?' Then John talked for 40 minutes about the details. He had so much worked out."
He continued, "Six years of Lost was an amazing wave and learning experience. And Lost was like a big old novel, and with episodic TV you can take the roads where they take you. Every season is a chapter but this is worked out and creativity may send it up and down, but there’s a path. I'm not so sure with Lost," he chuckled.
From premieres Feb. 20 on Epix with new episodes weekly.