The noir-flavored Femme Fatales returns with sci-fi, horror and comic book themes.
The sexy crime anthology series Femme Fatales has returned to Cinemax for 13 more episodes — and this makes us at Geek pretty happy for magazine editor Dave Williams and co-founder Mark Altman, as they are part of the creative team behind the show. Like The Twilight Zone, each episode features a stand-alone story with a twist, but unlike that classic show, Femme Fatales also offers an interweaving mythology (a la Lost) in which characters recur and often return in unexpected encores. (Think Pulp Fiction.) The series, which is the brainchild of executive producers Altman (Castle, Necessary Roughness) and Steven Kriozere (NCIS, V.I.P.), premiered last spring and gained solid ratings. In its second year, Femme Fatales expands its scope beyond film noir tropes to re-imagine other genres, including comic books, horror and science fiction. “We got cocky,” laughs executive producer and co-creator Kriozere. “The first year was so much fun that we decided to push the envelope of what we could do, so our season finale will be a superhero episode, based on a story by Bob Layton, called ‘Libra.’”
Layton — a comic book veteran who has worked on such classic Marvel titles as “The Incredible Hulk,” “Captain America” and “Iron Man” — crafted an episode that trails a mentally unbalanced woman (Betsy Rue of My Bloody Valentine 3-D) who takes the identity of a masked vigilante named Libra, resulting in an outrageous mashup of comic book conceits. “It’s a hoot,” Kriozere says. “I’ve known Bob for years and he’s a big fan of the show and wanted to come play with us. He came up with a great character and did the art, and shooting it was some of the most fun we’ve ever had on the show.”
Among the episode’s guest stars are Jeff Fahey (Machete, Lost) and Steve Railsback (Lifeforce, The Stunt Man), who reprises his role as a demented asylum administrator from the episode “Crazy Mary,” which stars Nick Principe (ChromeSkull) as a madman stalking a woman who may be insane.
Another second-season episode that took Femme Fatales in a new direction is “Bad Science,” an homage to the classic Star Trek episode “Mirror, Mirror” starring Ashley Noel as Matilda, a driven scientist experimenting in teleportation who finds herself transported to an alternate dimension where she meets her identical double: a battle-hardened terminatrix. The episode got an assist in casting with the appearance of Star Trek: Voyager veteran Robert Picardo in a pivotal role. “This was a complicated episode to do because of the visual effects,” Kriozere says. “We had spaceships, doubling, teleportation — it was crazy to even attempt it on our budget, but we pulled it off.”