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Angela Henderson-Bentley: Intriguing characters will keep folks returning to Fisher’s latest sci-fi world

May 17, 2018 GMT

When Ironton native Mickey Fisher found himself with a little time off between projects, he bought himself a new toy - a Google Cardboard virtual reality viewer. Fisher had been reading a lot about VR and wanted to give it a try.

But when he was instantly transported into a virtual jungle, it was clear that Fisher’s time off was over as he began asking the questions that would eventually lead him to create the new NBC drama “Reverie.”

Fisher started thinking about what would happen if virtual reality became fully immersive. If people became trapped in the virtual world, what sort of person would be sent in to rescue them? And he also wondered about the consequences of VR applications. Would they eventually result in people losing empathy? All of that merged into “Reverie” and the creation of the show’s lead character, Mara Kint, a former hostage negotiator who goes into the Reverie VR program to bring people back from their virtual world and reunite them with their loved ones in the real world.

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“The center of the show is a character with the superpower of empathy,” Fisher said. “But what if the job is a threat to that? What if the more she goes into people’s virtual worlds the more it costs her in her real life?”

Fisher said that it’s easy to get caught up in the mythology with a show like this one, but it’s interesting characters like Mara that really make people watch - a lesson he learned from his first series “Extant.”

“I learned the importance of leading with character,” he said. “I’m guilty of losing sight of that sometimes. It’s something you have to remind yourself of.”

It helps that Fisher has a stellar cast, including Sarah Shahi and Dennis Haysbert. “We are so lucky,” he said. “All of these people are phenomenal separately, but they function as a really great ensemble too.”

The first season of “Reverie” is 10 episodes, with Fisher writing the pilot and the finale, but as an executive producer, he’s been involved in every part of the process. “It’s been my life for well over a year,” he said.

During the time between “Extant” and “Reverie,” Fisher has maybe become better known in the Tri-State for his philanthropy, providing movie tickets and other resources to schools throughout the area. “Doing these kinds of things is one of the best side benefits of my job,” he said. “I want to give a foundation to other kids who may have a dream to do what I’m doing.”

And while Fisher continues to support his community, he never stops appreciating the support it gives him. “I got so much great support for ‘Extant.’” he said. “I was so proud and so happy to see the support. And now, we’ve pulled it off again. I hope they will tune in. I thank everyone for all the support.”

“Reverie” premieres at 10 p.m. Wednesday, May 30, on NBC. Kyova 10 Theatre at the Kyova Mall in Cannonsburg, Kentucky, is hosting a “Reverie” premiere viewing party beginning at 9:30 p.m. Admission is free, and concessions will be available for purchase.

Angela Henderson-Bentley writes about television for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact her at ahenderson-bentley@hotmail.com.