By Kellie Freeze And Ryan A. Berenz
In What Just Happened??! With Fred Savage (Sundays at 9:30pm ET/PT beginning June 30), Fred Savage returns to FOX (home to his hilarious but short-lived 2015 comedy The Grinder) as host of an aftershow for the new hot sci-fi drama The Flare.
In the ruse, Savage presents himself as a longtime fan of fictional author T.J. Whitford’s book series The Moon Is the Sun at Night, which follows the residents of the small, blue-collar town of Milford, Ill., after a massive solar flare hits the Earth and wipes out the power grid and leaves the residents battling for survival in the resulting postapocalyptic world. It’s the absurdity of television at its finest.
A show about a show that doesn't exist⁉️
— What Just Happened (@WJHonFOX) June 6, 2019
Savage doesn’t break character when we ask him about why aftershows are so ripe for spoofing. “We’re not spoofing anything,” Savage says. “FOX is doing a show called The Flare, which is they’re doing this series based on a series of books by T.J. Whitford called The Moon Is the Sun at Night — which were books that I read when I was a kid, that I loved — and so we’re on after that. We’re not spoofing anything. We’re completely embracing this idea of fandom and the celebration of those things in pop culture that we love so much.”
In reality, The Flare doesn’t exist, and Savage’s new series is a playful parody of aftershows like Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live and AMC’s Talking Dead, where stars, producers and mega-fans gather to discuss each episode and share tidbits about upcoming episodes. Each week, Savage sits down to explore the fandom of the fake series with celebrity interviews, visits to the set of a TV series that doesn’t actually exist, interviews with the concocted cast, superfans and more.
“We’re kind of dipping our toes in the aftershow world, and then also there’s some DNA of Talking Dead and also Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, like a late-night talk show,” Savage says. “We’re going to have guests on from TV, from movies, from pop culture to not only talk about The Flare, but talk about their own projects and what they’re up to.” Guests include Kevin Smith, Vince Gilligan, Ken Jeong, Rob Lowe
Since life imitates art so often, is there any possibility of The Flare actually becoming a real show some day? “That’s the hope,” Savage says. “People are already talking about it. They’re very excited!”