- General Questions about Tremors
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Note about Tremors 5 and Tremors 6 questions:
Stampede did not work on Tremors 5 in any way so we have NO information about it or Universal’s plans for future Tremors movies. All questions about those topics should be sent to Universal Studios.
Tremors The Series
Shawn Christian was not able to return to Perfection for the Tremors Series because he was already committed to star in another series shooting at the same time.
Tremors The Series was filmed in Rosarito Mexico. The town of Perfection was built in a remote location outside of town and the soundstage we used in town was built for the film Titanic and actually had some of the old sets still in place. We had to tear them down to build our own sets.
Burt has all new, or rather different, guns for the series. Unfortunately for him, the destruction of his beloved bunker home (in Tremors 3) also destroyed most of his substantial stores of silver bars. He’s not been able to replace his entire gun collection; and is having to make do with some older semi-autos, one Mauser style bolt action, a Desert Eagle handgun, and one shotgun. Poor Burt! However, he was able to replace the destroyed Grizzly Big Boar single shot .50 cal with something even more impressive.
Our fans in the UK have been burning up our E-mail server with this question. Here’s what the SciFi reps have told us so far. The network is not yet international, but they are negotiating in various territories and hope to expand out of the USA soon. For the sake of our mail system we hope it’s sooner than later!
A number of fans have wondered why Burt, of all people, has always driven ordinary SUV type 4-wheel drives. Well, the real reason is born of low budget film making. When we work on these movies we have to do everything to save money, and one way is to “promo” the vehicles. That is, we make deals with car companies to loan us vehicles for free. It’s a logical trade because it essentially gives them free advertising. Bur for Burt, it means he ends up driving whatever late model SUV they’ll let us have. HOWEVER, when we started producing the series in Mexico, we found American car companies didn’t want to send promo cars there. We had to buy all our vehicles. So S.S. Wilson got to pick almost any truck he wanted for Burt. Check Burt’s “new” truck when the series premiers! BTW, we also got the Desert Jack Tour Jeeps back (sold after completion of Tremors 3). They were still painted the same color with the sign still on the doors.
I was not in Mexico when the trucks (two identical ones) were purchased and outfitted by the transportation team. I do not know the tire sizes, roll cage specs, engine type, etc. Unfortunately, with the series now canceled, the trucks have been sold. We don’t have any decent pictures of it at Stampede to our knowledge. But there is a partial shot of it on the SciFi Tremors site (for as long as the keep the site published)
Yes, of course Burt should have a snorkel. (For our non-off-road vehicle fans, that’s a device that, along with other adaptations, allows the truck to ford deep water.) But the truth is, we’re lucky Burt has a decent truck at all. Shooting in Mexico, we found out American car companies won’t make their normal movie/TV deals to provide vehicles, so we had to buy all vehicles for the show. I fought to get him a vintage Dodge Powerwagon (or military M-37 version of same). But these were just too old for our transportation department to try to keep in repair. So we ended up with a pretty gnarly Chevy K-5 Blazer, and gnarlied it up some more. But someday I’d still love to do a scene where Burt suddenly fords a stream that’s about six feet deep and pretends like he doesn’t even notice.
To our knowledge, there are no plans to release it. But this is something to bug SciFi network about. We have no control over what they do with the series.
In Tremors 1, why didn’t the store shake as hard as it does in the series [when El Blanco passes beneath]?
Honest answer: Sorry to report it’s just because we couldn’t get our series directors to understand how subtle the shaking effect should be. And since we were rarely able to be on the set in Mexico, we couldn’t over-see shots like that. The result was the directors had the camera operators shake the cameras really violently, resulting in the comical, unrealistic effect seen in the series.
New answer provided by a helpful fan (thanks!): The Graboids in T-1 were moving slowly because they were listening for prey in the store. By the time of the series, the townsfolk have sensors which warn of El Blanco’s presence, so they remain still when he’s around. Since El Blanco never senses prey as he passes near the store, he continues moving at top speed, hence causing a greater amount of shake. We buy it!
What I picked originally in pre-production was a Dan Wesson .44 mag (I’ve forgotten the model number). But there were many many problems getting guns, even fake guns, imported into Mexico, so I’m not sure what we ended up with and wasn’t there when the scene was shot.
Twitchell and his family live in Bixby, in a “ranchette” style home built by developer Melvin Plug. Twitchell works out of an office in Las Vegas. Yes, he is level GS 13 in the U.S. government, and would normally have a staff, but the position of monitoring Perfection valley, the world’s only designated Graboid habitat, is so unusual, and the people in the valley so few, the powers that be placed him in charge alone.
It, like his fuel and water storage tanks, is underground adjacent to his basement abode. We do not believe it is placed in his former shooting range.
No, Mixmaster does not alter an animal that ingests it; only the DNA of that animal’s progeny.
We had plans for Larry to work in the store. Writing, shooting, and editing got so rushed late in the season that I don’t know if it’s clear that’s what was happening.
No, guys like Melvin always find a way to recover. Trust us, we know; there’s a lot of them in the film business.
If the Melvin in the first movie and in the series is the same character then why wasn’t he played by same actor?
Huh?! I think I need our other fans to chime in on this one. He IS the same actor! His screen name when we made Tremors 1 was Bobby Jacoby. As an adult he decided to change his name to Robert Jayne, but he’s the same actor. We were very lucky and happy that Robert/Bobby agreed to play Melvin in Tremors 1, Tremors 3, and in the series.
Believe it or not, TV production is so frenetic, you don’t remember what you did. You just write as fast as you can and respond to the daily emergencies. But the show’s script coordinator Suzanne Levine has reconstructed it for us. So, here are the scripts for the series in the order they were written. This was also the order in which we intended them to be aired, but as you all now know, SciFi channel thought you’d enjoy the show more if it made less sense, and aired them out of order.
Episode 1 – Feeding Frenzy
Episode 2 – Shriek and Destroy
Episode 3 – Blast from the Past
Episode 4 – Hit and Run
Episode 5 – Project 4-12
Episode 6 – Ghost Dance
Episode 7 – Night of the Shriekers
Episode 8 – A Little Paranoia Among Friends
Episode 9 – Flora or Fauna
Episode 10 – Graboid Rights
Episode 11 – Water Hazard
Episode 12 – The Sounds of Silence
Episode 13 – The Key
Of course this is the BIG question. Many many MANY of you have written to lament the cancellation of the series. We thank you and we understand your frustration. The answer of course is that the show didn’t quite get the ratings SciFi wanted (it was very close!) As always, we encourage you to fire off those same emails to SciFi network and Universal. They need to hear how much you loved the show. You’re the reason it was made in the first place!
Older answer. It’s a mistake. We provided all the original sound effects to the sound department on the series, but the editors there didn’t know which sounds went with which creatures. Production was moving so fast, some of the early shows got the wrong sounds put in, like the sick Graboid sound from T-2 being applied to El Blnaco.
Newer answer. This is a clever one we got from a fan who is trying to expand the rules of the Tremors universe: El Blanco has lived MUCH longer than any previously known Graboid due to his inability to metamorphose into Shriekers. Even so, as he ages, he might logically begin making some of the Graboid sounds that lead up to metamorphosis, even though the doesn’t actually change. It’s like an old age sort of thing.
I noticed that Tyler’s Dodge Charger in the first episode was a 1969 model year. That was the same year model for the “General Lee” in “Dukes of Hazard”. So I was wondering if Tyler’s Charger was a repainted “General Lee” leftover?
In “Shriek and Destroy” agent Twitchell seems to disappear during the final musket sequence. One minute he’s there, one he’s not. Did he run away?
The editing for that sequence was pretty difficult. Most of the muskets did not really fire. There was not much time to get a lot of footage, etc. I haven’t analyzed it, but it’s entirely possible that Twitchell gets left out of the action. The intention was that he dropped back behind the group after firing his one ineffective shot.
“Shriek and Destroy” was much shorter than most other episodes. Can you tell us fans what was cut out?
As I may have explained elsewhere, the Tremors creators (Wilson, Maddock and Roberts) were barred from the editing rooms at the end of series production. SciFi and USA for some reason thought “Shriek and Destroy” was a terrible episode and almost unusable. That’s why they aired it last instead of second. We saw some later edited versions and sent in suggestions for changes, but these generally were not taken.
Burt’s biggest rifle is a Barrett 82A1 .50 cal BMG (which stands for “Browning Machine Gun”, the gun for which the cartridge was originally designed). It is way more powerful than the biggest elephant gun. The device on the end of the barrel is not a silencer; it’s a muzzle brake. When a shot is fired, it deflects the explosive gasses slightly to the rear, which helps soften the recoil (“kick”) of this monster gun.
Politics. If Universal Home Video had been willing to delay the start of Tremors 4 two weeks, or if SciFi had been willing to wait until the end of T-4’s 25 day shoot to start the series production, Michael Gross could have been in all 13 episodes. Both sides absolutely refused to compromise, even though they’re both owned by the same parent company. After all that, Universal Home Video then delayed the release of the finished T-4 several months. Go figure.
With Mixmaster on the loose in the valley, wouldn’t the government quarantine Rosalita’s cattle, probably bankrupting her?
Great idea for an episode. Wish we were still on the air.
Okay, the series is canceled. We accept it (sort of). Will there ever be a movie starring the TV cast?
Well, gang, not likely. We just didn’t quite hit those Star Trek numbers.
Well, we had a cool idea for an episode to explain that. We were going have Mindy’s ex-rocker dad show up, much to Nancy’s dismay. We’d find out Nancy was something of a groupie back in the day.
Not likely. SciFi does not consider the show a success. We doubt that they will promote it or support it in any way. You will note that they have now removed it from their web site.
In “Shriek and Destroy” agent Twitchell seems to just disappear during the final Shrieker assault. What happened?
The idea was that he ran back into the house after firing his own musket into the ground. The sequence was shot and cut so roughly it may be hard to see what was supposed to happen.
In “A Little Paranoia Among Friends” Tyler is seen wearing dogtags in the motel room. How come? Was he in the service? Were you planning to reveal he was some kind of government plant secretly sent to monitor the valley.
No, Tyler was not in the Armed Services, nor was he a spy for the government. Our idea was that he had a strict military father. But we didn’t get a chance to flesh out that background.
One thing we wanted to do was reveal that Rosalita was in fact an imposter, that she wasn’t really related to the Tony Genaro character, Miguel, (Tremors 1 and Tremors 3). She got in trouble with gangsters in Vegas, heard about Miguel’s land, and impersonated a relative to get control of it, so she could hide out from the mob. That’s why we had all the jokes about her not liking her cows and not knowing how to run the ranch very well.
We were going to have Burt get into an online romance, only to find out it was with Nancy.
We were going to find undestroyed areas of the Proudfoot labs and reveal more of their experiment in altering DNA.
Ah, the future that never was.
Charlotte had done a big commercial in which she had an exclusive deal. That means she was not allowed to play other characters while the commercial was on the air. Unfortunately the deal covered the time when we had to shoot the series and we couldn’t get her out of the contract. Both she and we were disappointed. But we did get to meet and work with Marcia Strassman.
Since we now officially know that Burt was originally intended to be in the final three episodes (11, 12, and 13) can you tell us what changes had to be made to accomodate his not being available?
The later episode ideas hadn’t been worked out by the time we knew Michael Gross would not be in them, so there were no scripts done in which Burt had action which then had to be changed. There was no version in which he fought the chicada bugs, for example. The exception was “Water Hazard.” Burt was originally part of the end action of that show, but had to be written out so Michael could leave in time to get to pre-production on Tremors 4.
Can we get more info on what might have been? How many episodes did we fans get screwed out of by Bonnie and her alien abductee network?
Actually, we had not come up with too much beyond the thirteen episodes. It was all we could do to get them written and into production. One idea which was floated, however, was mysterious MixMaster modified bugs which eat all the rubber (synthetic and otherwise) in town. All the faucets leaked, cars’ fanbelts broke, etc. SciFi thought it was too goofy.
We did not build the whole creature full scale — only his head with its horn. However, S.S. Wilson estimates he was about six feet long and about three feet tall at the shoulder.
In “Feeding Frenzy” at the very end where Tyler’s giving the tour through Chang’s Market it looks like on the back wall for a split second we see an AB head. Is it?
It wouldn’t have been an actual head, but it might have been one of the piñatas Jodi was selling. I think some were ABs.
Well, sadly the director and 2nd unit crew on that episode chose to shoot it that way. KNB Effects actually did build the whole creature and it looked really cool. In editing the show we went through all the footage, looking for shots where you could see it more clearly. But there just weren’t any. By then the show was wrapped and there was no way to shoot any additional footage.
It was supposed to be one of those that shoots a single column of water really high in the center of the pond.
Running character of Larry: Why does his behavior change so drastically from the episode “Flora or Fauna,” to the episodes “The Sounds or Silence” and “The Key,”?
This is the result of having to write episodes so quickly. We liked the actor playing Larry and realized he had potential as a recurring character. So we were trying to flesh him out and make him a more realistic character. The result, of course, is some inconsistency from show to show.
The correct answer is c). It is a compound which allows intact, functioning DNA to move readily among plants and animals.
Yes. We had arguments internally about whether to use the invisibat idea or not. But with the pressures of production, we decided to go with it.
At the end of “Night of the Shriekers,” Nancy shows Burt an article to try and convince him to decorate his bunker. In the article there’s a picture of a man’s eyes which look familiar. Who was used for the photograph?
Well, on this one we have no idea. Best guess is that props or art department threw something together from existing graphics they had on hand.
It is the military body style of the Jeep Gladiator from the late 1960s.
W.D. Twitchell. Was it ever envisioned that we would be given more details about his past and if so, what were they?
Yes. We touched on it briefly in “Night of the Shriekers” when we revealed he plays the guitar, etc. We hadn’t officially developed too much background for Twitchell by the time the series shut down, but we were definitely going to do more with the character. We wanted to see more sides of him, find out that he takes being a family man very seriously, and that he doesn’t always like being the “bad guy” of Perfection. We hoped to explain the tortuous government employee route that landed him in that obscure corner of the desert, but never had time to work it all out.
Why do Graboids in Tremors the Series have spikes going around their whole body instead of just on their sides like in the movies?
Well, we’re a little confused on this one. Though the series Graboids were built by KNB Effects, they were cast from the original molds made by Amalgamated Dynamics for Tremors 1. So everything should be the same. The writer/producers weren’t on the set much in Mexico, so differences might have crept in we never noticed. One possibility is that the spikes are easier to see on El Blanco than they are on the darker normal Graboids, so they just stand out more. Frankly we didn’t have time for spike spotting. You fans amaze us.
And now May 2010, it is “yes.” Don’t we look foolish? But Universal (despite emails we sent asking them about it) never told us of the plan to release it on DVD. We found out about it from you fans.
One more time: Will the series EVER be put on DVD? Once in the FAQs you said, “Probably.” But another time you said, “No.” Which is it?
[July, 2019 update. Obviously this did finally happen, but it took a long time.] Old answer is below.
It’s no (as of Oct.2009). We were relaying information as we got it from the studio. Before they canceled the series, they were telling us it would probably go the “normal” TV show route to DVD. Why they later chose not to do that is a mystery to us. We have asked several times, but they’ve never explained. We can only guess that they feel the market is not big enough to bother with.
Jodi has a bedroom and full bath in the back of her store. Tyler uses one of those outdoor plastic bag solar showers behind his Quonset hut quarters. In colder weather he begs to use either Nancy’s or Jodi’s facilities.
What were the plans for Larry? Would he have evolved and been able to help Burt and Tyler fight off various Mixmaster creatures, or would he still be just a nuisance?
Larry definitely would have become a more effective member of the Perfection team. But he never would outgrow his enthusiasm and excitement over facing the unknown. He’d always be a wild card in any tense situation. As Burt would complain: “You never know when Larry’s going to start staring when he should start shooting!”
In the episode “Blast From The Past,” when Nancy is walking from her house to Jody’s market carrying her “Desert Icicles,” we hear a dog bark in the background. Whose dog is it?
Well, I could try to come up with one of my quippy answers, but this is one of those things that happens in production. The sound people look at a scene and they add all sorts of sounds so that the director and producers have a lot of choices when they do the final “mix.” Series production is so rapid there was probably nobody paying close enough attention the day that show was mixed to ask the question this fan wisely asks. So now it’s a mystery dog. Or maybe a coyote with an unnaturally deep voice.
Burt’s Monster Hunter video is often being shown in Chang’s store. Was it actually playing when you guys were filming or was it added in later?
I’m not sure about the video specifically. Most of the time images (like the seismometer readings on the store monitors) were added later. Sometimes we were able to shoot them on set at the same time.
When cast members looked at their wrist seismometers, what were they actually supposed to be seeing? I know all they saw during filming was a blank screen.
They were supposed to see images similar to the seismograph images seen on the Chang store video monitors in some episodes. The idea was that the seismos provided an easy-to-read graphical representation of El Blanco’s location and direction of travel.
TV moves so fast there’s a very narrow window of time to Scheduling actors. I don’t know the specific reason but most likely she just wasn’t available on the exact days we had to shoot that show.
You used Avocet watches as the “wrist-seismos,” townsfolk wear in the series. Did you use the real sound of the watches’ alarms, or a different sound?
None of us at Stampede has an Avocet, and we didn’t get to play with them on the set. My best guess is that the sound editors picked something from their vast audio libraries that they thought sounded right for the show, (and probably not the actual Avocet alarm sound). That’d be the normal approach.
Was the show filmed in the 16:9 [widescreen and HiDef] aspect ratio and cropped for SciFi? It looked ‘crowded’ and ‘cropped’ on TV.
No, for reasons never clear to us, SciFi insisted that the show be shot in the old TV “square” aspect ratio (4:3). We argued that this was crazy since everyone in Hollywood knew that in a few years all TV in the U.S. would go to the HD 16:9 aspect ratio. But they wouldn’t budge. As for it looked “crowded,” that was how the director of photography liked it.
Update: 2016, another fan has pointed out that when Hulu ran the series, it was presented it wide-screen and was NOT cropped top and bottom (as would normally happen if you pulled a 16.9 image out of a 4:3 shaped frame. He even included screenshots proving his point. We don’t have an answer for how this was done. We only know what we were told during production.
As far we know they are not legit. Hard as it is for fans to believe, Universal will not answer our questions about plans for releasing the series on DVD.
In T1 the Graboid Val and Earl dig up looks long and skinny. But in the series episode “The Key,” the Graboid on the truck looks a lot shorter and wider.
Partly this is because in Tremors 1 you’re not really seeing all of the Graboid. Val and Earl have only uncovered the top portion of it. But also, not all Graboids are exactly alike. There are fat ones and thin ones, longer ones and shorter ones, just as with animals and people.
We had one idea for an octopus-like thing that lives in trees. It snatches people up and cocoons them in pods hidden in the branches. Our Perfection heroes are totally stumped for a while, since they assume the victims are being pulled into the ground.
Sorry, we don’t know. That was all handled at SciFi Network.
Given the extreme nature and wide variety of the adventures befalling beleaguered Perfection, we feel it’s at least a year.
Like many of Perfection Valley’s biological anomalies, Twitchell made sure it was packed up and sent off to a government lab for study. Unfortunately, since the government was being secretive about what was actually going on with mixmaster in the previous experiments, the remains of Artimia were later “lost.” The government now claims it never existed.
That’s a reference to United States government employee salary scales. It means he’s got a medium-high ranking.
Desert rat that he is, he often stays where they originally found him. But there are hints that he spends time at Nancy’s place, too.
He was in a bad car crash and decided to get out of racing.
Umm, we never indicated an exact amount. It was “enough.”
In Ghost Dance, is the mine seen in the first few moments of the show the same mine seen in tremors 4?
No, the Ghost Dance mine was a quick construction down in Mexico. The Tremors 4 mine was Bronson Cave, within sight of the Hollywood Sign in Los Angeles. Bronson Cave has been used in many many movies over the years, including several of the great SciFi B movies that inspired Tremors (like It Conquered the World). SS Wilson was excited to get to shoot there. However, we needed a very low ceiling and narrow tunnels for our mine, so we ended up having to build a mine within a mine, since Bronson cave is huge inside. We also dressed up its smaller entrance to look more mine-like instead of cave-like.
Shriekers are all about consuming food fast. They don’t have time to be crunching bones for the marrow.
Honestly, we never figured that out. Probably something like $12.00 a person.
In “Ghost Dance” (Episode 6), the hydrophilic bacteria is referred to as a bacteria aerophoba. Aerophoba are yellow tube sponges, which contain high levels of bacteria. When the men in black spray the bacteria cloud with a chemical, it bears the formula C9H9Br2NO3, which it turns out is the formula for Aeroplysinin-1, “an antibacterial bromo-compound from the sponge Verongia aerophoba” (which is apparently used in cancer research). Would it do any good to spray a creature derived from the sea sponge with a chemical also sprayed from the sea sponge?
This may set the record as the most complex faq question to date, and in truth isn’t really frequently asked. That said, wow, I’m really surprised to learn that the formula on the chemical is real. I assumed it was a number made up by the production design team. That said, many compounds produced by living things become toxic to those same living things when used in concentrations heavier than found in nature, or when “tweaked” chemically to behave differently than in the natural environment. That’s what the government hoped to achieve with their compound, but the mutated bacteria were no longer susceptible.
There were a couple of things which drove the creation of the Ghost Dance “creature.” One, due to time/budget limitations, we needed to come up with ideas which did not require the design, construction, and puppeteering of full-fledged monsters. Two, we liked the idea of something that appears to be one thing (ghost) but actually has a scientific (or at least semi-scientific) explanation. Working backward from those end-points, we came up with the glowing cloud idea.
In “Ghost Dance,” every vehicle in the episode has a unique license plate, instead of having plates pixelated out or replaced with fake plates. Were these rental cars or fake plates?
Okay, first of all, how do you notice these things??? Anyway, while I can’t say for sure what happened on this particular episode, for legal reasons movies and TV shows nearly always use fake license plates, fake phone numbers, fake addresses, etc. In this case, they are probably fake Nevada plates.
While mixmaster isn’t supposed to affect humans, wouldn’t it affect some of the many bacteria in our bodies? On our skin? Or the viruses which infect us? Was this considered for any future episode ideas?
No, it was not. But it’s a really cool idea. The SciFi network really liked “Ghost Dance” because it was a unique twist on the monster-of-the-week formula we were working with. An idea like this would have been fun to run with had we made it to another season.
A three day course is about $800.00, depending on specifics. If firearms training is involved, there is an additional charge for ammunition, which varies with the caliber.
In “Ghost Dance” it looks like there are stairs on what should be the north side of Chang’s market, leading to the roof. Why then, in Episode 3 (”Blast from the Past”), does Jodi have fold-down stairs inside the store?
As noted elsewhere, the Chang’s market in the series is physically different from the one in the movies. However, the reason Jodi maintains fold-down stairs in the store is that she never wants to be in the situation Val, Earl and Rhonda were in – with a Graboid coming through the floor and no easy way up. She wouldn’t want to be trying to run to the outside stairs.
The website for the show mentioned a niece for Jodi (Natalie) and a brother for Rosalita (Roberto). What were the plans for those characters? I thought Rosalita was going to be revealed NOT to be related to Miguel?
Yes, we intended to increase the Tremors TV family by adding those characters. Also, there was a plan to reveal that Rosalita had run a sort of scam pretending to be a relative of Miquel’s, mentioned in another FAQ answer on this page. But of course we didn’t have enough episodes to get to these ideas.
It’s partly a function of the rush to get the special effects done (i.e., there isn’t always time to fine-tune the color of the FX shots). It can also be exacerbated by colors displaying differently on different TVs.
I’m sorry to admit I don’t know. If he had a first and middle name, it’s already escaped me.
As a rock, unfortunately.
Uh — no. They are two separate things. Tremors 5 is a finished screenplay for a stand-alone Tremors movie set in Australia. Unfortunately, Universal has no plans to make it.
It has been 10 years since Tremors The Series, Where do you see the town now in 2013? Have there been any big changes? Any new residents? Have any of them moved out?
It’s been ten years! OMG. That said, we don’t feel the town has changed a great deal. It is so remote that mainstream tourism has never caught on. Also, it’s a little scary going to Perfection, like going to see grizzly bears up close. Not that many people really want to do it. So, the locals make decent money, but a lot of times life is pretty quiet. Of course, once in a while some strange critter appears created by MixMaster, but they’ve gotten pretty good at dealing with that. Burt, Jodi, and Nancy would stay for sure. Melvin probably got tired of trying to cash in and moved to more urban settings. Tyler and Rosalita, we think, might eventually get tired of the limited setting and move on, too. But then, there’s some mystery about Rosalita’s past, so she might not have the freedom she’d like.
Why was the TV series so much bloodier and gorier than the movies? I would think there would be more restrictions on a TV series than films.
It seems strange, I suppose, but we didn’t set out for it to be that way. We wanted it to have the same tone as the movies. But on a series you have input from the network (SYFY) and you have different directors doing every episode. As newcomers to TV we didn’t have a lot of control over how things were shot and edited.
I’m in the UK and don’t have the Sci-fi/SyFy channel. Are the series episodes available for download/purchase anywhere? How many TV episodes were made please?
There were thirteen episodes of Tremors: The Series. They are currently available (Feb. 2013) for instant viewing online via Amazon Instant Video. I don’t think there is a PAL format DVD version available, but I’ve been wrong before, as fans often point out.
It probably would have been 13, a typical season. But if Sy-Fy had wanted to reduce their risk, they might have ordered fewer. (Back in the day, by the way, a TV season was 26 episodes or more.)
The idea of 22 episodes being a “full” season has kind of gone away. The TV business has changed a lot with the advent of cable and the internet. Back in the day, by the way, a full season could be 30 episodes or more! When we did the series, a 13 episode order was considered a major commitment from the network, and we were happy to get a “full” 13.
We know that there were a lot of ideas in mind for continuing the Mixmaster storyline and some of the character storylines, but what about the main creatures themselves? Were there any plans to pit Burt and Co. against a new wave of recently hatched Graboids and Shriekers? What about more Ass-Blasters, which we’ve only seen twice? What new adventures involving the main monsters were being cooked up?
When you do television you are desperately looking for any idea. So yes, we were hoping to come up with more stories featuring the original creature triumvirate, and we did do “Night of the Shriekers” and “A Little Paranoia Among Friends,” for example. But we were open to other ideas. One I like was the idea of being trapped with an AB in a cave in winter, in the snowy mountains above Perfection. It’s freezing cold, so, without getting killed, you have to provoke the AB into firing its gasses to keep the place warm. Ah the many untold stories.
If Sci-Fi hadn’t cancelled Tremors, how many seasons did the producers hope to complete? Or how many seasons were there meant to be?
To be honest, we didn’t have much planned beyond the second season (and not all of that!) These days, more producers think about plotting the whole life of a series ahead of time, but in most cases, you’re just happy to get on the air and praying you’ll get picked up one more time.
[May 2013] Why has G4 been doing Tremors series marathons on weekends? They have aired all the episodes a couple of times over the last few months. Could they possibly be interested in resurrecting the show and buying the Tremors Series rights from SyFy (or whoever owns the rights to the series). Would it be possible to get them on board for a Tremors 5 also?
Well, I know you feel we should know something just because we created, wrote and produced the show. But the fact is Universal, SyFy, G4 and whoever else never tell us what they’re doing or what they’re thinking. Believe it or not, I usually hear about stuff from fans, like now! My guess is somebody did some math and thought they’d make some extra advertising dollars doing a Tremors marathon. As for Tremors 5, they probably don’t even know the script exists. But again, I don’t know nothin’.
Over the last 10 years we have seen a huge change in technology, especially with things like social media, iPhones and iPads. Do you think Perfection finally decided to bring cell phones technology into the valley? Maybe even use things like apps to track El Blanco? I would assume Jodi uses social media to promote Chang’s Market and the Graboid tours.
Absolutely! Jodi is all over that stuff, as is Burt, in his own paranoid way. I have no doubt he has put up his own repeater towers in the valley to boost weak cell signals and that Jodi is marketing an app that lets you search for El Blanco on your iPhone.
Since the series (in 2003) do you think Perfection has gained any new residents or has it been pretty much the same?
We’d love to get the chance to explore that. Our feeling is that while there are people who think they’d like to live there, once they realize how isolated, hot, and desolate it really is, they quickly move away again. That said, I think the sheer notoriety of El Blanco and the increased tourist traffic would ensure that there are at least a few new residents
I am embarrassed to say I never noticed he did not have the plate in the series. All I can say is a lot of things were happening very fast as we did the series and Tremors 4 back-to-back. Maybe we just forgot?
In the episode, “Water Hazard,” a song is playing on the radio while Rosalita is driving her car to Melvin’s development, The Oasis. The predominant lyrics seem to be “What have you got to lose”. Was this a real (full) song and, if so, what was the title and who was the artist?
Fans, I need your help on this one. I didn’t with the editors and music-cutters on the series, so I have no idea. Does anyone recognize this song?
How come graboids dont just reach up onto rocks with their tentacles even on rocks where they could easily reach i understand some rocks are to tall but some in the series could easily been reached?
Ah, but rocks are like icebergs. You don’t know how far under the ground they go. Is it not possible that the rock extends out and down underground, preventing the Graboid from reaching all the way up?
How come shriekers and ass blasters are treated as more dangerous then graboids, given that graboids are protected by the conservationists. Is it because graboids are less dangerous or shreikers and ass blasters aren’t needed for study?
Good question! Here’s a sort of partial answer. It takes the government a long time to pass laws about anything. Since Graboids were the first creatures discovered, they were the first to be protected. Shriekers and ABs will probably be protected at some point, when public outcry becomes loud enough, but at the time we did the series, that hadn’t happened yet.
Any chance of a Tremors the series revival on say netflix or hulu. Particularly if Tremors 5 does well.
Universal Studios has total control over what happens with Tremors, not us. This sort of question should really go to them.
In “Night of the Shriekers” why didn’t the chick from Night of the Living Dead 3 choose to use the Ass blasters instead of shriekers since Ass blasters have a more advanced heat detector?
Well — I guess the honest answer is that she was a victim of us writer/producers. But here’s a writer/producer after-the-fact answer: Shriekers are easier to mass-produce than Ass Blasters, because they are hermaphroditic. She needed a life form she could just feed to get additional bodies, rather than one that would require her to wait for it to transform into an AB.
Are you guys involved with the new TV series with Kevin Bacon? We’ve heard the script is being written.
No. The company doing it as said they do not want to work with us. They did not say why. So we only know what appears in entertainment news.
I am assuming that Stampede has no involvement in the new Tremors series,but do you think that by contacting Blumhouse Productions (one of the Tremors series producers), you can influence them in your favor?
We already tried that. They refused to meet with us.
In “Night of the Shriekers,” why did Dr. Megan Flint have her people keep the shriekers from turning into ABs? Did they not know that ABs have more advanced heat seeking sensors than shriekers? Wouldn’t those sensors be more beneficial in finding those “earthquake victims?”
Technically, yes. But a couple of things work against the idea. One, ABs are more aggressive, powerful and difficult to control. Two, her funding was for for work with Shriekers; she’d have had to do a lot of writing and petitioning to get the government to okay such a significant change in her program.
Fans, I need help on this one! I didn’t write most of the episodes, and didn’t even see the last two because I left to work on Tremors 4. I’m SURE there are fans out there who know this answer without even having to think about it.
When Sci-Fi Network cancelled the Tremors TV show, was their decision made before or after production had wrapped on the first season?
Before. We were still shooting the last couple of episodes.
Was there any sort of press release from the network or studio regarding the decision to end the show?
Probably not. They tend not to want to talk about these things publicly. But we certainly did not see all the press or online stuff Sci-Fi (SyFy) was doing.
Probably the show runner, David Israel. He was most in direct contact with the studio.
They were sad! We were all sad. We felt like we were just getting things running smoothly, and had a lot of ideas we wanted to put into new episodes.
Had the series continued you mentioned that Rosalita would been revealed to be an imposter. What would that have meant for her future in perfection? Would she remained in town or been sent away or maybe even killed off?
We didn’t have the details worked out, but our feeling was that she’d find a way to redeem herself in the eyes of the other townsfolk. It’s not likely we’d have killed off such a popular character!
We had seven days to shoot a 1 hour episode. A lot of 1 hour shows get nine days, but Sci-Fi held us to a really low budget.
How long did production take for the entire first season overall? Did the cast and crew take any sort of break halfway through the season?
I think we were in actual production for about 4 months, not counting building the town in Mexico, etc. But I was gone for the last two episodes, so I could be off. We took only one break, a week or so at Christmas. Otherwise we went pretty much non-stop. That’s TV.
If Universal owns the Tremors franchise, and Sci-Fi owned the series, when the series was canceled, did the rights go back to Universal because Universal owns Sci-Fi?
It does not matter whether or not Universal owns Sci-Fi. Studios sell (or really rent) the rights to their material only for specific lengths of times or specific projects. They almost ALWAYS retain all underlying rights forever.
Did you guys ever think of having Burt or the scientists reproduce the project 4-12 creature’s skunk-like substance; then sell it as a spray so that if a character were swallowed alive by El Blanco, he could spray it and cause El Blanco to spit him back up?
No. We did not ever think of that. Kind of wish we had, though.
It was a difficult episode to shoot, using full-scale Shrieker puppet, etc. I don’t remember all the details, but in part they felt the director didn’t get the action right and that it didn’t edit together well. It was shot early in the season. Directors and crew were still struggling to learn the best ways to get the shows done on the extremely tight budgets and short shooting schedules.
In the Tremors episode “Hit and Run,” why did Max draw his automatic as El Blanco approaches? Didn’t he know (or care) that El Blanco was endangered?
This is a very good question, since Max is the one who believes in and knows about Graboids. One made-up answer is that he’s a gangster and just naturally goes for his gun when excited. But another could be that the director forgot the “rules” of the show when directing the scene and just thought it would be cool to have Max do that. We weren’t on location when the episodes were shot down in Mexico, so things sometimes got done in ways we didn’t agree with.
Near the end of the series, Burt was on the hunt for the secret government lab where Mixmaster was created. We were left with Burt finding the road to the lab that Cletus had mentioned. Were there any plans to show Burt finding the lab or to go into more detail about it?
Yes! Though we didn’t have it all worked out yet, we wanted to tell more about the history of the lab, have more fun with what Mixmaster might do, maybe find skeletons of failed Mixmaster experiments, maybe find vials of still-viable versions of it. Lots of ideas. Didn’t get to do them.
Wait, what?! Did El Blanco die?? No. No, he didn’t die, at least not in the Tremors episodes we at Stampede have worked on.
Our memory is that when we got the go ahead to do the series, Shawn Christian was working on another show or movie and wasn’t available. We don’t like to have different actors playing the same character, so we created the new character of Tyler. That said, because Nancy and Jodie were such established parts from Tremors1 and Tremors 3 — and we couldn’t get Charlotte Stewart or Susan Chuang back to play them — we did have to go with new actors for those parts: Marcia Strassman and Lela Lee.
Will their be chance for El Blanco to be seen in the next film or series? He would be over 15yrs old, but perhaps the Graboid lifespan could reach over 30 or 40 years?
Yes, we feel that Graboids probably have a very long lifespan and that El Blanco could easily be around for future installments of Tremors.
Considering that Tremors has been changed since 5. Do you think you could tell us what your version of the future of Perfection would have looked like? Would Tyler’s tour still be running? Would El Blanco still be around?
To be honest, since being barred by Universal from working on Tremors, we’ve moved on. There’s nothing to be gained for us by thinking about it. The Stampede team has separated and is off doing other things. Of course we had lots of loose ideas for ways to go. Yes, we think Tyler’s tour would keep running (tourists would still like taking it, even without fake Graboid scares). And yes, El Blanco would definitely still be around! Most likely, we’d have continued to explore the ideas in the TV series, like the secret lab and the Mixmaster DNA tool. Beyond that, can’t say! Don’t know! Haven’t thought any more about it!
Sure! We’d have been looking at all those possibilities and trying to come up with the most entertaining surprises.
Was there any chance that Burt and company in the modern day (either in future episodes of Tremors: The Series had it not been cancelled, or in your version of Tremors 5) would have ever encountered the baby Graboids that Hiram and company dealt with in 1889 in Tremors 4?
This is a great idea. I wish we’d have had time and opportunity to think of it! But, yes, hopefully it would have occurred to us, if the series had continued, to have the townsfolk of Perfection meet baby Graboids! It would have been a great surprise for Burt, especially.
Is their another graboid form you were going to create, perhaps as a super weapon made by the military? Would the next and final form have had arms with sharp claws, but still be able to fly and climb?
Uh, wow — I think you’re a little ahead of us on this one. Certainly we did hint that the government was doing research on graboid life forms, but we hadn’t gotten to the point of giving them arms! Honestly we probably wouldn’t have gone in that direction, since we loved getting together with the creature designers and trying to brainstorming the wildest stuff we all could.
More on that Ghost Dance mine: Even though they are not the same mine in reality, are they supposed to be the same mine in the Tremors universe, or at least part of the same mine network (i.e., both originally owned by Hiram)?
I’m embarrassed to say we did not think of that! We were shooting and writing the TV series at the same time we were shooting Tremors 4, so things were pretty crazy. Excuses aside, we now adopt this idea officially! Yes! The Ghost Dance mine is at least part of Hiram’s original silver mine!
In the episode “Night of the Shriekers,” the power goes out for everyone but Burt, who has a backup generator. When the attacking shriekers blow that generator, Burts “backup-backup generator” kicks in. Being the paranoid person that Burt is, do you think he would have had ANOTHER backup generator, or do you think 2 was his limit?
We think two was his limit. He’s is extreme, but not that extreme. However, AFTER the experience of actually needing his back-up-back-up, Burt might have decided a third one was a good idea!
Did you name “Night of the Shriekers” in reference to “The Night of the Living Dead” because Melinda Clarke (who was in “Return of the Living Dead III,”) guest stars in the episode?
That’s a great potential connection. But actually the episode was written and titled before it was cast, so Melinda’s other role was just a coincidence. And no, we weren’t consciously referencing “Night of the Living Dead.” There are a zillion “Night of” movies, after all.
We’re not sure what this means, but we’re making a guess that it may be a reference to the episode “Night of the Shriekers.” There are several times in that episode where shriekers and other things are affecting the power in Burt’s bunker, so lights are flashing. Also, for dramatic effect, the editor put in a negative close-up shot of the scientist Megan (Melinda Clarke), right before the shriekers get her. It’s sort of an odd shot, but presumably the director okayed it.
Do you guys agree with me that Susan Chuang [who played Jodi in Tremors 3] was a better Jodi than Lela Lee?
No! We love them both! We were sad that Susan did not want to come back to play Jodi in the series, and it was tough finding someone to replace her. We knew Lela would put a different “spin” on the character, but we loved the more business-like Jodi she did. BTW, Lela went on to create and run the comic series Angry Little Girls, complete with a clothing and accessories line:
Uh — we don’t think so. Jack (Shawn Christian) was a restless entrepreneurial type and he probably just moved on. But it is a fun idea to consider. If we’d been able to continue the series, maybe we’d have written a “Jack Returns” episode and learned what happened. And he and Tyler Reed (Victor Browne) could have argued about how to run the Graboid Tours.
Rosalita being braless was a huge success for the series (Gladise Jimenez – in “Blast from the Past”). They just didn’t use her physical attributes as much as they could have to help the ratings! If they would have allowed her to continue to reveal more I am convinced the series numbers would have spiked and then there would have been no reason to cancel it.
Well, we had internal arguments at Stampede about how far to go with exploiting Gladise’s exotic beauty. Most of us felt the infamous water trough escape scene went too far, so yes, we did dial it back in later episodes. Maybe we were wrong. And hopefully Gladise will appreciate the opinion that she could have single-handedly saved the show!
In the episode “Graboid Rights” we find out that Ray had trashed Burt’s fences. Did he actually get inside Burt’s bunker and trash the inside too or was it just the fences?
Just the fences. Burt’s place is way too well defended for a loser like Ray to break in. Alarms would go off. Burt would get auto-radio alerts, etc. Burt was probably angry that he didn’t have such anti-intruder hardware defending his fences, though. And probably added some.
Agent W.D. Twitchell is a government employee, so has pretty good job security. Even though being the official protector of El Blanco was stressful, we think he’d have stuck with the job as long as possible. And if he moved on, or up in the system, we kind of hope he did well, since he was basically a nice guy underneath his bluster.
Why didn’t you guys put reinforced steel or something to prevent El Blanco from busting through the floor like he did in Feeding Frenzy?
If by “you guys” you mean the people of Perfection, our logic is that such retrofitting of buildings is very expensive, Jodi has a limited budged, and not everyone is as paranoid as Burt. Also, El Blanco hadn’t been causing much trouble up to that point, so they didn’t expect the attack.
Did the shriekers in Shriek and Destroy manage to eat anyone once they got to the carnival through the pipe?
This is one of those times where what we wrote and what was shot and edited is a bit conflicted. Our intention was that Tyler manages to lead the shriekers away before anyone is actually attacked. And technically, you don't see anyone actually attacked in the sequence. But we have to admit there are a lot of shots that make it look like shriekers could pretty easily have gotten somebody. Admission aside, the "official" answer is: No, they didn't.
In Night of the Shriekers, why didn’t you guys show Dr. Megan Flint’s bones after the shriekers ate her up?
Well, we don’t feel we have an obligation to always show everyone’s eaten bones. We felt it was very clear what happened to her. Also, of course, there are budget issues. Sometimes we don’t want to pay the extra money to have the FX folks make eaten bones.
You see Tyler using a winch that is pulling a cable; that’s what’s pulling El Blanco up the ramp into the truck. We just didn’t show how the cable was attached to El Blanco’s tail. Tyler would have used tow straps. He knows all about that of stuff.
I’ve gotta ask: how awesome was it to have a legend like Christopher Lloyd on the series? Knowing him from such movies like Back to the Future, the Addams Family and the like, I’m sure some of you guys had to be star struck at the time. And what did he think about the graboids? (Assuming someone knows the answer to that last part).
It was totally awesome getting Christopher Lloyd! We were fans, too, and blown away when he agreed to come aboard. Sorry we can’t answer the last part of your question. We actually didn’t get to see him much in person, since we were writing the episodes in LA while the crew was shooting the shows down in Mexico.
About the Episode: Feeding Frenzy. There was a scene in which Burt says El Blanco tried to get over his wall but couldn’t. Given his/her already strange behavior, is it possible Graboids could actually climb over his wall, crawl above ground like an inch worm (hence their nickname: Worms) and still cause him problems? Or is there something to Graboids that actually prevents that from happening?
To our knowledge, no one has documented a graboid climbing a wall like Burt’s. The consensus is they are more like whales than worms, and would have great difficulty lifting their whole mass high enough to get over.
Considering both have worked for the government, did Twitchell ever work with Agent Frank and the rest of the agents from T3?
Great question. I like to think we’d have thought of this if we’d been able to continue with the series and expand on Twitchell’s background. For now we’ll say it’s likely since they were all covering the Nevada area.
In Feeding Frenzy, Burt says El Blanco tried to get over his wall but couldn’t. Given his/her already strange behavior, is it possible Graboids could actually climb over his wall, crawl above ground like an inch worm (hence their nickname: Worms) and still cause him problems? Or is there something about Graboids that actually prevents that from happening?
In Tremors 1 Rhonda points out that Graboids move by pushing with the dozens of spikes on their sides. Though a Graboid is somewhat flexible, the more spikes that get above ground, the less able it is to move well. We don’t feel they can “inch worm” along. If they could, Burt would’ve have built is wall differently!
I miss the old Jodi (Susan Chuang). She was so sexy! Did you guys think about bringing her back in the series?
We begged Susan to keep playing Jodi for us! But with other things going on in her life, she didn’t want to relocate to Mexico (where we shot the series) for who-knows-how-long. So we had to re-cast the part — and felt really lucky to find Lela Lee.
Did you ever think about using Mixmaster to blend the DNA of Shriekers and Graboids, effectively giving them the ability to both “see” and hear?
I like to THINK that we’d have thought of that if we’d been able to continue the series. But we didn’t. And it’s a great idea.
About the so called ‘Proudfoot’ Labs, mentioned in ‘Project 4-12’: Although it is said that the government came and basically took everything down, do you suppose today’s ground penetrating radar technology could show us if anything was left behind?
Absolutely. We’d have loved to do an episode where that was explored. Secret rooms that the demolition contractors weren’t told about or didn’t discover! Or that they did discover but were too afraid to enter to destroy them!
Had the series continued past the thirteen episodes we got, did you have plans to merge the mixmaster concept with the Graboid lifecycle? Perhaps having mixmaster impact a newly-hatched Graboid, or newly-born Shriekers, for example, and merge their DNA with some other animal’s?
More than one fan has postulated unique uses of Mixmaster if the series had continued. We like to think that we’d have gotten around to inventive ideas like this, but can’t say that we did. As we were planning possible episodes for the next season, we were actually more concerned about where we would go with each of our characters. For example, as we’ve said elsewhere, we were going to reveal that Rosalita wasn’t who she said she was. New monster ideas were kind of on the back burner.
Would you or the other show writers be interested in writing a book about the “Further Adventures Of Perfection?” Basically, a Season 2 in book form? I don’t know how rights would be, but maybe it could be called “unofficial” even though we all know being from you guys it is official as it gets. Or maybe produce an audio drama version? We all want YOUR version of the story!
As always, we appreciate the support and desire to learn more of what we might have done. But you hit on a key stumbling block: Unversal owns all rights to Tremors. While it’s one thing for fans to do unofficial fan fiction, it’s a bit more dicey for us Hollywood types to write something based on rights held by the studio. Plus, having been kicked off the Tremors franchise, we’ve moved on and are working on many new ideas.
Shriek and Destroy was a troubled episode. Many things went wrong during its production, which is why it ended up short and being shown late in the season. Unfortunately, we no longer have any of the scripts for the TV series; so we can’t tell you what was written vs what was ultimately shot and edited. Sorry! We just don’t remember everything!
In Ghost Dance, Burt lists a set of coordinates where he believes the lab is. Out of curiosity I looked them up and found they were smack dab in the middle of real life Moapa Valley, Nevada! It seems to match all the in-series descriptions of the valley. Was Perfection modeled after Moapa from the beginning?
Brent Maddock and I wrote that episode, but I have to be honest and say I don’t remember discussing what coordinates. The shows were written under intense time pressure and I can only say what MIGHT have happened. We might have asked someone on our staff to give us coordinates for central Nevada and then just wrote them in. As to part 2 of the question, no, we didn’t model our location on a specific area, as we knew there probably wasn’t any place that actually fit all our needed parameters (Burt: ” We got the cliffs to the north! Mountains to the East and West!”
First off, sincere thanks for the years of fun entertainment and joy the franchise brought! Secondly I was curious about El Blanco’s intelligence. Graboids are smart and get smarter with time, and the big white would be the oldest by far. Any stock in the notion Tyler said where El Blanco seems to have a soft spot for the townsfolk? Not saying it’s friendly, but progressing to not seeing them as active prey.
We love that, after all these years, fans are still expanding on and adding to our ideas. We hadn’t thought of El Blanco in that way, but it is quite logical. Animals living around humans adapt in surprising ways. It could have led to a fun moment in the series, wherein El Blanco makes an unexpected choice to help someone like Nancy or Tyler!
Simple question. Simple answer. We were close, but by the end of the first season we didn’t have the viewership ratings Sci Fi network wanted for the show. Not enough viewers: no show.