Joel Gretsch on V's 'Wow Moments,' His Sci-Fi Resume and Revisiting the United States of Tara


Back in November, ABC premiered its re-imagining of the 1983 miniseries V after an expensive sky-writing campaign that advertised the show over 26 U.S. landmarks. The show premiered to strong ratings and favorable reviews but was yanked by the network after only four episodes for a four-month long hiatus. Network executive Steve McPherson explained that the break would make the series more of a "television event" but fans mourned the show and begged cast members to bring it back as soon as possible.

Last week, Movieline caught up with one of V's besieged stars, Joel Gretsch, who revealed that he is just as eager for his latest sci-fi venture to return before discussing his pivotal role on the United States of Tara and whether or not his father-in-law, William Shatner, has plans to guest-star on his ABC series.

So were you in Vancouver shooting during the Olympics?

I was. It was insane but it was great. What an energy to be around. Have you ever been to the Olympics?

Not yet. Did you see any events?

I did -- I went to the final USA/Canada match. It was extraordinary. Hockey is one of my favorite sports, but gosh the energy in that place was just rocking. Actually, it was probably better for my own safety that Canada won. [Laughs] Everyone was rooting for Canada, actually.

I am glad you survived. So onto V, what is the feeling among the cast and crew after the four-month hiatus? I know you guys had great ratings the first four episodes, but is anyone worried that the audience might drop off?

Yes, among the cast and crew. I don't know what the producers and network and studio are thinking -- it might be different but it's a very competitive world out there. I think we are pretty optimistic. I think we are putting out really good shows. The scripts have been fantastic. The cast has been very excited about the story lines. We are optimistic. At least I am.

ABC has been pretty outspoken about their decision to schedule V in "pods" so that the show feels more like event television than a weekly series. Does that meant that the last nine episodes will be broken up?

You know, I have no idea. I don't know. I just know that -- I can't even answer that. I just know that for the fans and even for myself, it's nice to continue through but I guess ABC has their reason for the pods. A fan came up to me at the airport and said, "God, I can't wait for the show to come back on. Don't wait for so long to do it again." And I understand that. It's a compliment because they love our show, but I have no idea what the strategy is with the network's scheduling.

You also got a new executive producer after the first four episodes. How much did that affect the rhythm of the show for the actors?

Well, it didn't really. Before I came to Vancouver this summer, Scott Rosenbaum talked to me about where he wanted to take the show and it was exciting. I think the first four episodes really established a lot. A lot of information about why the V was showing up was conveyed and we were able to introduce these characters. Now that we are back, there is going to be a new pace, a fast rhythm and higher stakes. The characters are there for a reason and we have established a small group of resistance. So I think Scott Rosenbaum has done a beautiful job of doing both -- really establishing the characters and getting an understanding of where they come from, where they have been and also where they are going. But the clock is ticking, and there will be a huge reveal at the end of each episode going forward -- kind of a "wow" moment -- that the fans are going to love.

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