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Showrunner Adam Barken Sets the Stage for Killjoys Season 4 [Exclusive]

Photo Credit: Ian Watson/Killjoys IV Productions Limited/SYFY

We’re just one week away from the Killjoys Season 4 premiere and it’s SO GOOD, Y’ALL. I visited the set in March to sit down with the cast and new showrunner, Adam Barken, and over the course of the season, I’ll be sharing those interviews with you. First up, I spoke with Barken about moving into the showrunner position this year and the creative team in place for the final two seasons. This is spoiler-free, so enjoy!

Barken has been involved with Killjoys all along, and beginning with Season 4, he moved into the showrunner seat, with series creator Michelle Lovretta staying on board to write for the show and work as part of an extended creative team. Barken was excited for the opportunity, and said yes because Lovretta stayed on as a writer.

“Michelle had been running it for three years, and I’d been number two from the second season on. We talked and she said, ‘I’m thinking of a change. I don’t want to give up on the show, but I don’t want to do the same things I’ve been doing and would you like to take over the day-to-day operations and allow me to write?’ And my position was, ‘I’ll only do it if you agree to do that,'” he recalls.

Photo Credit: Amanda Matlovich/Killjoys IV Productions Limited/SYFY

“I wouldn’t know how to or want to do that without her ongoing creative involvement. I said, ‘She’ll be the showrunner emeritus and I’ll be the guy on the ground.’ I really enjoy the churn of television production. It’s fun [but] it’s certainly hard to balance it with writing and meetings [and real life]. I’d been working on the show and in TV a while and it certainly felt like I was ready for it and this was a really good way to do it because I would have her support all the way through.”

“We also have the entire production creative team, like Karen Troubetzkoy, who’s the unknown co-shorwunner in some ways, and Stefan Pleszczynski, who’s been a director since Season 2 and in Season 3, stepped up as a producing director, and this season is now an Executive Producer as well. We are kind of a foursome, cohesive unit.”

“I also said, “If I’m going to do, it I want to bring back all the writers I had in Season 3 [Andrew DeAngelis, Julian Doucet, Vivian Lin, Julie Puckrin, Derek Robertson and Nikolijne Troubetzkoy plus new hires Nile Seguin for Season 4 and Anusree Roy for Season 5]. It was kind of a perfect mix. We had great writers right from the beginning, but Season 3 felt like the show understood what it was, everyone in the room understood what it was, and it felt like the right way to do it.”

Photo Credit: Ian Watson/Killjoys IV Productions Limited/SYFY

Heading into Season 4 knowing that a Season 5 was guaranteed allowed Barken and Lovretta to follow through on a wish list idea conceived as a bit of a lark before the renewal. “In making TV, it really is about building a bridge from both sides and hoping you meet in the middle and adjusting as you go. Before [we knew that we were coming back], Michelle and I talked about, ‘What is the end point? What is the feeling? How do we get there in a way that has peaks and valleys and doesn’t seem completely obvious?’ You try to earn that feeling of both inevitable and surprising,” he shares.

“One of the things we did talk about early on, before [the renewal], was, ‘Boy, if we had two seasons, we could end the fourth season in a bold dramatic way we’ve never done before and have Season 5 to pick it up and bring it home.’ And we thought [no way would we get that] and then as it turned out [two seasons] was the most creative and economically feasible [renewal] and then got everybody on board.”

Barken says that as the show has evolved, they’ve changed the way they break their seasons, and how they visualize the remainder of the story. “Season 1 was more episodic-based–warrant-of-the-week type of show. Gradually, for creative reasons, and looking at the way TV was going, we started to shift into a more serialized nature. Having worked on both types of shows, the great thing about serialized is you really can sit back and say, ‘I’m going to tell an ongoing story.’ The challenge is you can’t break them out of order,” he points out.

“Episodic, you can break an episode and [move it]. Serial you have to start at the beginning and [build] brick by brick. While you know certain things, if you get too far ahead, you don’t know how to get there. So, since we made those decisions, and we knew our endpoint and our midpoint [between Season 4 and 5], we started from the beginning, breaking one at a time.”

“In all past seasons, we never knew if we were coming back until after we had wrapped. So what has been nice and different is that we feel this time around like the stories we tell now have a different impact because we know they are heading towards a definable end that we have decided on.”

Killjoys returns to Syfy and Space Channel next Friday at 10 pm/9c. You can catch up on the previous seasons on the Space GO app in Canada, Amazon Prime, You Tube, Google Play, iTunes, and on Syfy here.

The show’s Instagram feed also has some countdown goodies! If you missed it, our first look at the premiere is here. I’ll be back next week with a formal preview, and more of my exclusive interviews. Until then, here’s the latest trailer.

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