Many months ago, I made a promise to Jason Isaacs on his Instagram account that I would do a lot of free PR work (I have no idea how to do PR work) to promote his new, upcoming show DIG to all my friends, readers, followers, etc and so forth on my many and varied social media accounts (I only have 4 but Pinterest doesn't count since it's just the place I put all the health nut recipes I'll never actually make...okay, fine, 5 if you count LinkedIn but I never go there, unless it's to see who's looked at my LinkedIn page because I keep hoping someone famous will look at my LinkedIn page).
Before I start doing free PR work for DIG's producers and Jason's employers, I feel like I need to explain why I'm doing it in the first place. Can I tell you the reason I made this promise?
First let me say: I don't want to get political, but to explain The Promise, I have to for a bit because it was sort of born out of politics (isn't everything nowadays?). ***
Second let me disclose upfront: I'm Team Israel. I don't agree with everything the Israeli government does, but I absolutely think Israel has a right to exist. You know what else I think? I think it's nice Israel is in the world, because they've been through enough, and downtrodden on throughout the ages, and so they deserve to be here, they've earned it. And screw you and your anti-semite ways if you think they should disappear (okay, that was extremely political) (but seriously: screw you).
Having said all that, I'll admit that I only partially understand the situation the people in Israel are dealing with. From what I can gather, everyone who's normal is really just trying to live their lives as best they can and would like to do it calmly. Then the political groups get involved and, lands y'all. To me it really looks like such a complicated mess. And in spite of reading as much as I can, I still think I'm only scratching the surface of understanding--this appears to be a multi-layered issue, with a lot of historical pain on both sides, and some very deep grudges. This will take a lot of very smart people being willing to do a lot of very smart listening and compromising to heal it. Personally, I think one way to bring about healing and understanding is via Story.
So DIG got to shoot the first episode to its story in Old Jerusalem, in parts of the city even people who've lived there their whole lives have never gotten to see. This became a hostile situation, because a vocal anti-Israel group demanded the show not film there, but then the show filmed there. (This is an area that's a matter of contention; it's in the part of Israel they're calling Palestine, but Israel says that belongs to them and Palestine says no it belongs to them...and this is where the pain and the grudges all come vomiting up and people start yelling and someone throws something and then things snowball [sandstorm?] from there.)
One day, back in June, the protest group decided to launch an attack of hate-words against the series, and they chose to focus on one of the stars of the series, Jason Isaacs, as a (dare I say) Machiavellian means to get him to...actually, I'm not sure what they wanted. For him to quit the show? Start painting protest signs with them? Launch some rockets? Write firmly worded letters to the editor? I don't know. What I do know is I watched many of them try to bully him on his Twitter account, and try to bully him on his Instagram account. I watched him try to dialogue with them, but they weren't very interested in doing that, just making accusations and being rude, and so he gave up and just started blocking them. Which he had a right to do, because that is NOT how you are supposed to be using Twitter, people. Look it up--it says so all over their Terms of Service.
Internet, if there is one thing I simply cannot and will not tolerate,it's bullies. Yes, I know--bullies bully because they were bullied. And yes, I know--Jason Isaacs is a big grown up boy who's worked for a long time in a cutthroat creative industry so his skin should be about 10 feet thick now. But when I see mean people in action, I'm sorry I don't care. Bullies who are derogatory and threatening are the pus in the pimple on the blighted, wrinkled ass of Humanity. Seriously, I don't even know what to do with you--the ice caps are melting, honey bees are mysteriously disappearing, 3 year olds are being sold into sex slavery in Thailand...and this is what you're choosing to do with your free time. You can't find something better to do than hang out being mean to strangers on the 'net?
So after I read yet another personal attack against this very nice human who seems to simply be trying to eek out a peaceful existence by telling stories, I decided I would (from my little, quiet corner of the WWW) do whatever I could to make sure his show DIG was a huge, ginormous success. At least amongst the people I personally know and whoever reads this blog (hi, Mom!).
And THAT'S why I promised Jason Isaacs I'd promote his tv show to all my people. Bullies made me do it. And also: Jason Isaacs has kind eyes. And he talks storytelling in ways that make him the bees knees (or, as they'd say in his land: the dog's bollocks). More than all that, he says things like "blimey" and "ace" and "bloody." And he spells swanky.
Okay, that's that, and let us move on, never speaking of these disgruntled, mean people and their angry, propaganda-based agendas again. Because you guys! Honestly, if you don't watch DIG (on USA!) starting March 5 at 10 PM Eastern Standard Time, you are going to be SO sad! I mean it--you are totally going to miss out. I really feel that this will turn out to be a compelling, breath-taking story that people will spend a lot of time trying to figure out and if you don't watch it, you aren't going to be invited into a bunch of really interesting, thoughtful conversations at work. I also sense it will have people freaking their freak about the darkness that exists in some people's souls, and wouldn't that be sad for you, if you couldn't freak your freak with everybody else. You'd just be sitting in your cubicle doing your work, or knitting some boring scarf, while everybody else will be figuring out how to save the planet from religious crazies. And they won't care, because it's your own fault--should've DVR'd DIG last week.
The story centers around an FBI agent named Peter Connelly who's come to Israel to investigate a murder. A terrible tragedy has happened to Peter--his daughter has died, and he's on the run, emotionally, from his demons. (Lord knows, I know lots about being on the lam from one's emotional demons. Peter Connelly and I could sit in dark bars and hide from our demons together over many drinks, I just feel it.)
At any rate, now he's in Israel trying to solve a murder. He does things like run around and get sweaty on top of ancient buildings, and when he's not doing that, he's sleeping with his boss (who he used to be the boss of, who is played by talented, lovely Anne Heche) because THAT doesn't make boardroom meetings awkward at all.
It appears he gets into work tussles and power-ego plays with his Israeli detective counterpart, Detective Golen (played by Ori Pfeffer, an Israeli actor who I don't know a lot about, but I YouTube'd him and from clips from movies on there, he looks amazingly talented). Musician/actress Alison Sudol (who's simply lovely--I cannot say enough nice things about this sweet human being. I'm a humongous fan of her beautiful songs, thanks to this show...see? Story = connections) plays the young, murdered archeologist, who reminds Peter of his daughter.
So as the story of DIG goes along, it looks like Peter will uncover a lot of strange, heebie jeebie, shit-in-a-Middle-Eastern-sandstorm kind of stuff. There will be confusion and espionage; just when you think you know someone, you'll find out: no you didn't, you didn't know them.
From the prequel, I think there will be something in the storyline about bank fraud that will make your head spin (or, for people like me, unless they dumb this down, this part will make my eyes glaze over, since that's what happens to me whenever people start talking money math and accounting). Mostly, it looks like there will be groups of religious people trying to bring about the destruction of Earth so their religion's mythologies can come true (this I'm excited about, because it will make my head spin, and that's because I'm all about studying and picking apart religious crazies. They. Are. Frightening. And yet I can't stop staring at them).
Jason (who plays troubled Peter Connelly) has said after he read the script, he got on the Internet and started researching the stuff that was in it. And dagnabit if it wasn't truly true! I don't know exactly what all Jason researched, but when the red heifer symbol came about in some of the previews, I got on the Internet too and googled "red heifer" and had my mind blown away. Y'all! We never, ever discussed this in Presbyterian Sunday school! I remember talking about doves and lambs and sheep and a donkey, but NO RED HEIFERS. I'm kind of annoyed at my Sunday school teachers now. This seems like dire, important information they needed to tell us. Seriously, Google it, you'll see what I mean.
I already like a lot of things about this show, and I haven't even seen it. I like that they filmed in Jerusalem and I'm sad they didn't get to do the whole thing there; I like that when they were there they got to go into some really historical locations because Israel is at the top of my bucket travel list: I would like to stand on ancient stones under the same sun and moon King Solomon made all his very judicious judge-y decisions under; I want to stand in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and ponder the last moments of a peaceful Jewish man from Nazareth, I want to visit Temple Mount and beg the Universe to save us from ourselves. I want to walk the Plain of Sharon and be a lily among thorns, a darling among maidens, even though I'm not anything close to a maiden now.
I also like that, when they couldn't film all of it in Jerusalem because of war, they went and filmed in Croatia and Albuquerque, New Mexico, because that's what is so very magic about TV/Film storytelling: you just fake it til you make it. I haven't been to Croatia, but I have been to Albuquerque, and I did time in nearby Arizona, and let me tell you: weird ju-ju stuff goes on out in the Sonoran Desert. I am certain it's a ley line area. So I don't know about Croatia, but the American desert just makes so much sense for a story of this nature.
I really like that they've brought in a lot of diverse and feminine energy--they've used female directors and writers. Hollywood still hasn't completely seemed to receive the message that people with vaginas and/or brown skin can do a lot of cool story stuff, too. It's nice to see the makers of this show don't seem to suffer from that.
And most especially I like that it will be told in a perfect story arc. You know how you'll start watching a television series, and at the end of the season they'll leave you hanging so you'll come back next year? With this show you'll have a Beginning, a Middle, and a satisfying End. A The End--you will not have to wait until next season to find out what happens next, though like a good book you may end up really forlorn and lost for awhile that it's reached the end.
I like that it will have an exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, denouement. Good stories have lots of rising action steps that rise and fall and rise and fall, aka cliff hangers within a story. Which I'm betting will be the endings of episodes 1-9, so you'll come back the next week (in novel format, this would be called: need to go to bed, but can't stop turning pages). Then I bet that Episode #10 will be The Answers/Denouement episode. That's nice, isn't it? Like a very long movie. A visual novel.
I like that NBC (which owns USA Network) seems to be one network that's attempting to keep up with the changing times of television viewing, and they are going all out to make DIG a success (I'm saying this as an outside observer--this is just what I've noticed, that if you're a TV network and you don't recognize that there are exactly 459874210965439360984 other options and ways for your viewers to get their TV stories, then you need to catch up): they had a prequel written on Wattpad.com. They're opening up some type of DIG Mystery Room/Escape Room thing you can do in select cities for this show (I actually did one of these yesterday with Miss M and her cousins...not the DIG one, just a Sherlock Holmes-themed room. Thank god for my gifted niece's brain--the adults just sat on the floor at one point and went, "We don't know?" while she figured out like 3 of the hardest clues. And then, after 45 minutes, we didn't know...and the Mystery Room shop guy had to tell us the solve and then we were all: OMG, we are soooo dumb! Honestly, how did we even dress ourselves? It was one of the simplest yet funnest things I've ever done...I want to go back and do it again, but this time with adults who've been drinking.)
Where was I? Right--DIG, sorry. So yes. Wattpad.com prequel, DIG your way out some Mystery/Escape rooms. Also there's a DIG decoder app--you download it and you can point at various things you see to help unlock mysteries. I think you may even luck out once in awhile and get a 3-D Jason Isaacs popping out at you, like Princess Leia in STAR WARS.I'll be participating because there's a possible trip to Israel (or Croatia) in it for me. I think there's one to Norway, too, but Norway seems very very cold right now.
Also this is all over social media, and I think this whole thing has forced poor Mr. Isaacs, who seems to have never really been a big fan of having public conversations in front of strangers he doesn't know, to get on Twitter and Instagram and have public conversations in front of strangers he doesn't know.
(Silver lining: it worked, Jason Isaacs! Because LOOK at you! You have like 30,000 Twitter devotees now, and about 28,000 of them frequently tweet sexual propositions to you. I only have about 380 Twitter devotees and 300 just proposition me to buy their newest products. Nobody has indicated they'd like to sleep with me at all, and frankly I'm all kinds of disappointed about this. What good is Twitter if no one's flirting with you? I mean, really.)
Also, all y'all need to know that poor Jason has been suffering for Story, for Art, and for you to watch this show. I will just come right out and say that, if you watch for nothing else, then please watch it to help him heal, because it sounds like he may have some lasting concussions and nasty bruises from filming this.
He claims he was hit in the face by a female coworker, and recently had to film in a haunted courtyard and, afterwards, then had to sit naked on the floor of a 65 million year old cave, risking hypothermia and stuff. Obviously, he's dedicated to his craft. Totally admirable. Getting smacked in the face for a story is hard work. I see now why there has to be so much swag at Sundance.
.....I'm sure Anne Heche and Alison Sudol also suffered flesh wounds and contusions and ripped ligaments while filming DIG, but they are women, and so they didn't whine about it. (I kid! I kid Jason Isaacs! Who has a marvelous sense of humor.) (But seriously--women don't complain about physical pain, just the emotional kind.)
So this is Part 1 of my blog promotion of the show, which I shall tweet and the retweet as the air date nears. There's a 30 minute preview you can watch by clicking HERE.
You can also go to YouTube and type in "Jason Isaacs DIG" or "Anne Heche DIG" or "DIG on USA" and you'll get all kinds of fabulous, exciting stuff to watch. And then the real deal starts on March 5, 2015 at 10 PM (East Coast) or 9 PM (Central). If you're in Europe or elsewhere in the world, I bet all this is probably giving you the sads because you guys have to wait to see it. But don't give up! I think they'll air it soon in your land, or at least put it on DVD or something so you can have it shipped to you. Which'll be nice because you won't have to sit through advertisements AND you'll get some extra features to enjoy. In the meantime, let's start a massive letter writing campaign to end this stupid embargo on television shows; if a show airs in one country, it ought to air in EVERY country, no wait period. Let's bring the planet together via boob tube. Want to? I think it could bring about world peace. (Have you SEEN Japanese game shows??)
If it goes well, and if everybody (except for some party poopers we are NOT going to talk about again) likes it, the story creators have hinted they can and will write some more edge-of-your-seat, perfect story arc thrillers set in other locations. Wouldn't that be nice? (I hope one is Atlanta, Georgia and that they will come find me and hire me to help write one whole episode. I will make sure Jason Isaacs gets smacked upside the head a few times in it; he appears to enjoy doing work that involves this.)
***This post was updated/edited on 2.18.15. Just the political part. Because I was given some historical information that opened my eyes to just HOW political the whole situation is in this area of the world. Mostly I learned some new things about the history of the area called Palestine, and......let me just say I slightly had to adjust what I wrote. Quite frankly, I'd really like to just delete ALL of that political stuff at the beginning, but I wrote it, it's out there now, and we're just going to move on.
....though I'd also like to say: damn it, Human Beings! Can you just let a TV show be a TV show?! For god's sake, some days it's just embarrassing to be a person.