There are just two weeks left until Cult premieres on The CW — and you're not prepared for how meta this show is going to be. As creator Rockne O'Bannon explained to us, "the audience watching Cult at home is watching a show about people watching a show called Cult." And Cult is a show about a cult following for a show about a mysterious cult leader, with the fictional show's creator also being a cult figure. So we can't help but wonder: Is Rockne O'Bannon the ultimate villain of his own show?
In Cult, a reporter named Jeff (Matt Davis from The Vampire Diaries) discovers that his brother is obsessed with a TV show called Cult, which is full of weird clues and hints and breadcrumbs and has generated a huge following. And it seems like the show Cult has emerged into the real world and is making people disappear — including Jeff's brother. As Jeff starts to investigate, he learns that nobody has ever met the creator of Cult, a mysterious figure named Stephen Rea. And creepy events seem to be following him around, and he can't be sure if anyone he meets is part of the conspiracy.
Rockne O'Bannon originally came up with the idea for Cult after his show Farscape generated a huge, passionate fanbase — and he became interested in how that sort of cult following can take over people's lives. Since he originally conceived the show in 2005, he told us, the explosion of social media and online fan groups has only become more intense.
We caught up with O'Bannon and the cast of Cult at San Diego Comic Con last summer, and here's what they told us about the show that premieres on Feb. 19.
O'Bannon tells us he hopes the audience will connect to all the strong emotion in Cult, but also have a "visceral" connection to the layers of mystery — in which there's a show within a show, and mysteries inside mysteries. The pilot, which we watched, is definitely full of spooky events and weird reality-bending moments, but O'Bannon refuses to say whether there's anything overtly supernatural or science-fictional going on in this show. Also, he seems to want to claim that Stephen Rea, the mysterious creator of the fictional show-within-a-show Cult is a real person, who actually wrote the bits of the show we see inside the actual show.