The Hitchhiker

Oct 28, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Standard TV was hierarchical at this time. It would have been almost impossible for a young producer like me to gain access to mainstream TV. But the leadership at HBO wanted to create differentiated programming so they reached out to new suppliers.
The TV at that period was significantly more superficial than the TV of today. HBO was trying to sell itself as a premium service. HBO wanted the audience to understand that they were getting something of value for their subscription. Because cable gives more license and with HBO’s encouragement, we were free to pursue graphic and cinema styles as well as dramatic and psychological styles that just didn’t exist at the time in standard TV.
“The Hitchhiker” for HBO was the first Canada-U.S. co-production. We brought a lot of European talent to “The Hitchhiker” out of necessity and out of my own specific interest in that sensibility.
Because of the fusion of American energy and European density, I think “The Hitchhiker” allowed us to revive something that had gone away in American cinema. And I think that is why the audience responded. They liked the stories; this was an anthology series. We did a new story each week. We didn’t have continuing characters, so we weren’t as focused on accessible personalities, which was what mainstream TV did. We could create suspense because we didn’t have to sustain characters. We could kill them off. So we had stories that had surprise-something that has become absent in American mass media.