Channel24 SPECIAL FEATURE
Channel24's Bashiera Parker interviewed actor, Anand Desai-Barochia about fan-favourite show, The Outpost.
Cape Town – Our favourite alchemist and The Outpost's resident scientist and doctor is back as the SYFY fantasy-adventure drama returns for a second season on Universal TV this August.
The fan-favourite series, The Outpost focuses on a young woman's quest for vengeance after her entire village of Blackbloods is wiped out. Talon travels to a lawless fortress on the edge of the civilised world where she meets Janzo – the loyal, trustworthy, kind alchemist with one fatal flaw – his unconditional, undying love for the lone-surviving Blackblood.
Over his morning coffee, Anand Desai-Barochia told us all about The Outpost season 2 and what we can expect for Janzo; The Outpost fandom and the one fan he'll never forget; and almost touching down in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth.
Have you ever been to South Africa?
"I didn't manage to make it so far, but I really want to.
"It's so funny you ask that," he said. "My friend Hannah, it was her wedding, and she was having it in Port Elizabeth earlier in the year. I booked my flight, and I was meant to go to the wedding, however, I couldn't, I was busy shooting in Serbia. Things conflicted, but I was going to fly from Serbia to Cape Town to Port Elizabeth for four days to go to a wedding. But I had to work on The Outpost season 2 instead."
It may not be the Mother or the Windy City, but speaking of escaping, Anand described the show as one that gives you a similar feeling and opportunity.
"The show is about escapism, and when I say escapism I mean it's 40 minutes to an hour – it's just a moment to escape reality for a second and just enjoy and relax and have some fun and watch the crazy, wonderful, wacky characters all live together," Anand explained.
"When I mentioned escapism in interviews before, that's because people quite, how do I say, it's an escape from reality, basically. Fantasy, sci-fi and we have a mix of medieval in there as well that allows you to do that for that one hour."
So what about The Outpost sets it apart from other shows in the same genre?
"I think we're truly becoming our own genre these days," Anand comments. "We are an absolute mix. It's not just sci-fi, it's not just fantasy, and it's not just medieval either. It is truly all three of those things.
"We are our own world, our own little creation – and we're the little show that could.
"It's just such a unique story that keeps changing every time that you watch it."We are, you know, growing this fanbase globally and it's really beautiful to see. It's very exciting for us to see your [fan's] reactions as well on Twitter and Instagram."
Fan art and a timeline of live tweets week after week – The Outpost fandom, the honourary Blackbloods, don't mess around. Anand tells us about Erin specifically though – the one fan he'll absolutely never forget.
"The most memorable moment was last year when I was doing an interview in New York. And a girl came, her name was Erin, and she had come from, I think it was Pennsylvania to New York, to come and watch my interview on the show.
"She asked really incredible questions and when I left, I remember she was outside with her mother because she was in a wheelchair, and she gave me a mug with Janzo on it. It was so touching and warming to see.
"At that point, Bashiera, we'd only aired two episodes. For someone to travel that far when it's not easy for them to travel as well, and to also bring a gift, it was so touching.
"I don't think I'll ever forget that."
Fans love Janzo. He's super funny, super smart and just, unique and interesting. Is it at all challenging having to play such a complex character?
"No, because I believe, in real life, I'm also super funny, super smart and super complex," Anand joked.
"I absolutely love playing this character. I push the boundaries a lot, and that's because our creators allow me to. Janzo has so many depths. He's very insecure, he's very introverted, and at the same time, the way he speaks allows him, and the way the writing is, allows me, to play him in this comical way where he's very blunt with his words, however, he just somehow gets away with it. And I LOVE playing that. I love it, I love it, I love it."
What can fans expect for Janzo's character in season 2?
"Season 1 he was building up and really coming into his own in a sense. In season 2, he is fully his own person. He knows his place in the outpost, and I think a lot of things are about to happen..."
"I know you start airing on 31 August in South Africa, so it hasn't even started yet. But you guys are in for a big surprise. Every single episode something crazy, and wonderful, and new happens to Janzo. And also, we see a side of Janzo we've never seen before in a – shall I say this, sure, I'll put in a spoiler – in a romantic way as well. And it's really quite beautiful to see just how he deals with that."
On that point, we have to ask, is there anything for the Talon-Janzo shippers in season 2?
"And on that point I will have to tell you, keep watching."
"Season 2, what you can expect is, surprise after surprise after surprise," Anand said.
"Our writers and our showrunners... we've gone on an absolute rollercoaster journey with this story."
Double-bill episodes of The Outpost season two will premiere on Saturday 31 August at 20:00 on Universal TV (DStv 117).