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Peacock laid back, relaxed, and kicked off a multi-generational mystery at this year's San Diego Comic-Con with the world premiere of The Resort. Created, showrun, and executive produced by Palm Springs screenwriter Andy Siara, the genre-blending series follows Emma (Cristin Milioti) and Noah (William Jackson Harper), a married couple with serious romantic problems attempting to celebrate their 10-year anniversary in the Yucatan. Their failing relationship gets just the boost of adrenaline it needs when they decide to solve a 15-year-old missing persons case (one related to a now-defunct resort near their own hotel) that turns out to have more layers than an onion... or Shrek.
Siara revealed that the project took almost a decade to make, as he was unhappy with the original script. "I kept coming back to it, year after year, trying to recapture some feeling," he said during the subsequent panel discussion attended by SYFY WIRE. "After many failed attempts to revive it, I realized that I was looking at the script through this kind of nostalgic lens. I was trying to capture a feeling that couldn't be recaptured and so, I just split up these characters over two timelines."
In addition to launching an investigation into the fishy disappearance of two young people (played by Skyler Gisondo and Nina Bloomgarden) back in 2007, Emma and Noah unwittingly start to "look at the mystery of what happened to them [as a couple]," Milioti explained. "There is a lot that you learn about them and why they ended up in the spot that they are. Something I found very intriguing about it is sometimes, the loneliness that someone can feel in a relationship is more acute than loneliness on their own."
Jackson, meanwhile, admitted that the overall pitch initially threw him for an unexpected loop. "I was confused," he said. "I was like, 'I don't know exactly where this lives and I'm not sure how to do it.' I think that [can be chalked up to] the TV I am used to watching. You know exactly what genre it fits in, you know what the vibe is, you know what the tone is. The thing about this, is that it just does so much and I was like, 'Oh, wow, I don't have any real clue of how this is to be done' ... It's really great to be in something that's straddling a lot of styles and relies on a killer group of creators to hone it and keep it organic."
Is The Resort a true crime thriller? A portrait of a failing marriage? An exploration of young love? A rumination on the futility of nostalgia? Technically speaking, it's all of those things. Siara stated that the goal was to strike the proper tonal balance between "silly" and sincere." If he and the actors could find that sweet spot, "then we could throw whatever genres in there ... we take a lot of big swings in this. It's not all depressing marriage stuff, I promise."
Closer to the end of the panel, he described the show as "the beginning of one love story framed by the beginning of the end of another love story. Which is which between these two [timelines], that's for you to see when you watch it," he teased. "There's a little bit of a disaster movie in here, there's some conspiracy thriller goofball stuff in here. It's my Letterboxd top five-star movies or my Blu-Ray collection. [It's] my favorite movies from 1990 through 2022 thrown in a blender with some thoughts about the curse of nostalgia and the true crime industrial complex."
That's a lot to swallow, but when all is said and done, viewers will have definitive answers to all of their questions. "I wanted to make sure there was no mean cliffhanger at the end that says, 'You'll get a bigger answer in Season 2' ... Halfway through the season, we answer 95 percent of the questions and they just open the door to some bigger questions and we take a big left turn in the back half. By the very end, I think everything is answered."
The cast also includes: Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation), Luis Gerardo Méndez (Murder Mystery), Gabriela Cartel (Hernán), Ben Sinclair (he's also an EP and directed the first four episodes) Parvesh Cheena (Mythic Quest), Michael Hitchcock (Black Monday), Debby Ryan (Insatiable), Dylan Baker (Hunters), and Becky Ann Baker (Girls).
Allison Miller (Angelyne) serves as executive producer and co-showrunner. Mr. Robot and Homecoming veterans Sam Esmail and Chad Hamilton of Esmail Corp are also on board as executive producers under their Esmail Corp banner (via Anonymous Content). Sarah Matte (also of Esmail Corp) is a co-executive producer. UCP, a division of Universal Studio Group, co-produces.
The Resort checks into Peacock this coming Thursday — July 28.
Click here for SYFY WIRE’s full coverage of San Diego Comic-Con 2022.