Thanks to the success of American Horror Story and the appeal of working on a 13-episode cable series, anthologies are all the rage right now -- the latest, Zero Hour, premieres tonight on ABC and stars Anthony Edwards, Jacinda Barrett and Scott Michael Foster.
Foster -- who first rose to prominence as Cappie, ultimate college slacker on ABC Family's amazing Greek -- plays Arron, an employee who works at Modern Skeptic Magazine, is forced to put all his conspiracy theories to the test when his boss' wife is kidnapped.
What follows is a dizzying descent into small screen madness that includes Nazi paraphernalia, sunken submarines, countless countries and a clear endgame, that promises to resolve Zero Hour's mystery in just 13 episodes. ETonline caught up with Foster to talk about the appeal of this accelerated storytelling and what audiences can expect as the Hours tick off.
ETonline: What made you want to be a part of Zero Hour?
Scott Michael Foster: I really liked this script because the writer had an end-game in mind and kind of worked backwards from that. At the end of the pilot, you're at the beginning of a story and over the next 13 weeks, you get pieces to that puzzle. That's what really sucked me in. It's like Lost; at the end of every episode, you can't wait for the next one, and I wanted to be on a show like that.
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ETonline: How much did you know about the overall plan for the show coming in?
Foster: We weren't exactly kept in the loop. We had a broad general season overview, but even that information was hard to get out of the executive producers. Although, that was kind of smart because it added a level of suspense for the actors, which is what we need to bring to the show, so it worked out in a really great way.
ETonline: As an actor, do you enjoy that?
Foster: I mean, if it was a big thing -- like, my character was born without toes -- I'd like to know so I can walk differently [laughs]. But for my character, I didn't learn anything that would have changed the way I played the character. Which is good because I like to be surprised week-to-week. It's like life. I don't know what tomorrow holds for me, so it's cool not to know for my character too.
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ETonline: Your character works for Modern Skeptic Magazine. Are you a believer?
Foster: Yeah. In the show, my character is the most into the conspiracy from a believer standpoint. Everyone else is very analytic and skeptical of the mystery, but I'm like, "This is true! This is awesome!" And I'm kind of like that in real life because that's imagination in its purest form. It's so much more fun to be a believer than a skeptic.
ETonline: Zero Hour is the latest anthology to hit screens -- why does that kind of storytelling appeal to you?
Foster: It accelerates everything. The 13 episodes are this one big adventure that takes place in a short amount of time. We don't drag anything out. It's not monotonous, everything is constantly changing and you're never left wondering when the payoff is coming because it's paid off in the next episode. By the finale, we've pretty much solved every mystery and then we move on to another one. We'll have a new season two arc, and I think that's more exciting than having this giant mystery we only solve when the show gets canceled.
Zero Hour premieres tonight at 8 p.m. on ABC.