The second season of “The Mysterious Benedict Society” is coming to Disney+ later this month, and I recently got the chance to speak with the showrunners/executive producers of the show, Darren Swimmer and Todd Slavkin.
What were the differences in creating the first season, and the second season of “The Mysterious Benedict Society”?
There were quite a few differences in season one. We stayed closer to the book while we added many different things. It was, it was a fairly faithful adaptation. I think in season two, we broaden it quite a bit. It’s similar to the book, but season two, we take different avenues in different paths. And also, season two was shot in Los Angeles, Season one was shot in Canada, so we have an entirely different crew in season two. And that made it exciting. It’s a little bit of a different look to the show. Those are kind of the big, the big differences.
How did you come up with the overall look of the series?
Phil Hay and Mattman Freddy got together with James Bobbin, they’re the creators of the show, and James Bobbin directed the pilot, and then the two of us came on board, and we were talking about influences and visions, the kind of looks that we really enjoyed, started pulling photographs, sketches and things like that from all over the place. And James Bevin, the director, put it all together and kind of set the look for the show, which we just set out to do something very striking and visual and presentational and not like a lot of the stuff you see on tv.
And I would just add, Wes Anderson is a huge influence, and that dates back also to Orson Wells and shooting it in this classical style, which if you notice, it’s very much 90-degree angles. And so we never see a shoulder of someone. There’s all these various rules that we follow to give it this unique look. The camera really only moves when it’s tracking actors, things like that, that you’re not really aware of when you watch the show. But as filmmakers behind the scenes, we follow those rules pretty diligently to give it that special look.
You can’t seem to place exactly when this series is set, was that something you took into consideration to find the show more longevity?
Yeah, well that’s from the books, right? The book series. It’s this timeless, it’s almost like Willy Wonka in a weird way where Willy won the chocolate factory where you don’t really know where you are, but it feels familiar. And are you in the future? Are you in the past? We have electric vehicles, but there’s no computers, so playing with these different things and borrowing music from the seventies, it gives you that retro vibe, but yet, like I said, there’s electrical trains and things like that so that.
Electric cars, like all the cars, not all of them, but probably 90% of the vehicles you see are electric. So it’s almost like an alternate present where we didn’t, you know, we didn’t adopt these things that are annoying on tv, like cell phones.
What was the biggest challenge to making the second season?
Well, the biggest challenge is shooting, it’s in Europe, and we’re in Los Angeles, so that takes quite a bit of visual effects in terms of building a world. And we didn’t, this isn’t a documentary and this our own world. Stoned Down is a unique looking place, but we’re going to France, we’re going to Italy, we’re going to Portugal. So it needs to have that feel even though we were in America when we shot it, and, you know, bless our crew and the great production designer and cinematographer and the visual effects to create that illusion. And thanks to Universal Studios and Warner Brothers on those back lots where we’re shooting it to be like Europe. I think it came out great. And I think people all over the world are gonna feel that they’re in a different place, but a European vibe for sure.
This season, Reynie, Sticky, Kate and Constance, the four gifted orphans who were recruited by the eccentric Mr. Benedict, embark on another mission to save the world from the nefarious plans of his twin brother Dr. L.D. Curtain. When the kids discover that Mr. Benedict and Number Two have been kidnapped, they must piece together the riddles and clues within a perilous scavenger hunt set by Mr. Benedict to foil Curtain’s latest scheme. Relying on only their wits, intellect, and empathy, the charming group of misfits embark on a globe-trotting adventure by air, land, sea and pie truck, calling upon their special skills to solve the mysteries and rescue their lost comrades. Along the way, the kids experience the growing pains that come along with being part of their new “found family,” while remaining true to their unique selves. In the process, they discover what true happiness really means.
The first two episodes of The MysteriousBenedictSociety S2 launch on October 26th, with episodes streaming weekly on Wednesdays after that.
Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom.