22 Hours and counting…
“There’s the cut, and there’s the fucking cut.”
With “Aquarius,” NBC is doing two things never done before on broadcast TV: releasing an entire season of television simultaneously and making David Duchovny play a real cop. Much has been made about the Peacock’s decision to distribute the full first season of John McNamara’s period cop drama the day after its traditional broadcast debut, but some may be surprised to hear Duchovny doesn’t think of his past characters as cops. Yes, even that character.
“Aquarius” marks the actor’s first role on broadcast television since playing FBI Agent Fox Mulder on “The X-Files” — a role he’ll be reprising for a new season in 2016 — but he’s not straying far from cable. “Aquarius” is a hard-edged network drama, and Duchovny (as well as series creator John McNamara) said there’s more than what you’ll see on NBC. An “NC-17” cut has been created, even if it may not be available domestically.
[Editor’s Note: NBC executives did not respond to confirm or deny the release of an alternate version, though it’s not uncommon for a cable-esque edit to only be released overseas.]
Speaking to Indiewire at the end of April — the day news broke about the revolutionary distribution plan for “Aquarius” — Duchovny reflected on his past characters, from “The X-Files” to “Twin Peaks,” and how they all lead to Detective Hodiak. The former “Californication” star also discussed the transition from cable to broadcast, where his new show was intended to air, and why the ’60s are such a pivotal turning point for our country.
“I think for our show, maybe the pacing is a little different from your normal network fare.” – David Duchovny
How and when did you hear “Aquarius” Season 1 was going to be released all at once?
I heard it a few days ago. Because I’m of a different generation, I really don’t know what it means, but I’m told that it’s a good thing and an exciting thing, and it means that NBC is really supportive of the show. So that’s all good. I do know that my daughter, who’s 16, doesn’t watch television. She watches the computer. I still watch television. But I can see that this is the new way, and I think it’s probably a good idea.
It’s definitely exciting, and it’s nice to be able to choose when you get to watch it.
Well, also, I think for our show it’s actually a really smart idea, because we may not have the breakneck pace that people are used to in shows coming out. If you do a show and you’re expecting people to come back next week, you’ve really got to get a lot done in that first week. But if you do a show and you say, “Hey, you can watch all of them,” you don’t have to force as much to make people come back next week because they’ll find it themselves. They’ve got them all at their fingertips. I think for our show, maybe the pacing is a little different from your normal network fare, so I think it’s probably a good idea.
I’m a fan of “Californication,” and I was curious if there was any kind of difficulty in transition for you going from cable back to broadcast — whether it was the language that was used or shooting style or anything like that?
Well, the language is a loss. I like being able to have access to the full flower of the English language. Curses are really just a wonderful part of any language — in many ways the most vibrant part of a language; of any language. So it’s unfortunate that we can’t use words that we love on the network. When I was first approached to do the show it wasn’t attached to NBC, it was just a free-floating pilot and the idea was that if I was attached they would go set it up somewhere. We all assumed that we’d set it up at HBO or AMC or FX or something like that, and when NBC stepped forward and said they wanted to do it, that was a real surprise. We had to take a step back and think about are we going to be able to do the show that we want to do on a network, and the answer was really “yes.” There were very few concessions that we made to make the show that we wanted. One of them was language a little bit, sure, but “So what?” in the end.