ARCADIA VALLEY – There’s something very strange going on in the city of Arcadia, Mo. Well, at least that’s what promos for ABC’s new Arcadia-centered show, “Resurrection,” are saying.
As the TV series’ March 9 premiere rapidly approaches, Arcadia Valley residents are looking for ways to take advantage of the attention drummed up by the series to help resurrect Iron County’s tri-city community from years spent in the financial doldrums.
First, here’s a little bit about the show courtesy of the ABC TV Network:
“The people of Arcadia, Mo., are forever changed when their deceased loved ones suddenly start to reappear. An 8-year-old American boy wakes up alone in a rice paddy in a rural Chinese province with no idea how he got there. Details start to emerge when the boy, who calls himself Jacob, recalls that his hometown is Arcadia, and an immigration agent, J. Martin Bellamy, takes him there. The home he claims as his own is occupied by a 60-year-old couple, Henry and Lucille Langston, who lost their son, Jacob, more than 30 years ago.
“While they look different, young Jacob recognizes them as his parents. Lucille is overjoyed at the seeming miracle of her son's reappearance. Henry is reluctant to accept that Jacob is back. Those closest to the family want answers, including Sheriff Fred Langston, whose wife Barbara drowned 30 years ago while trying to save Jacob, and Fred's daughter, Maggie, a local doctor. Pastor Tom Hale seeks a spiritual reason for what's happening in his community. When things take an even more shocking turn, Maggie's life-long friend, Elaine Richards, finds herself drawn into Arcadia's growing mystery.
“Bellamy, an outsider in the town, joins forces with Maggie to figure out why the unexplainable is happening in Arcadia. As their investigation plays out, Maggie learns some unsettling truths about her own past. Will they be able to solve the mystery of Arcadia before the rest of the world catches on to events there? And will they be able to protect Jacob from forces beyond their control?”
That sounds like pretty creepy stuff — particularly for a sleepy little town like Arcadia, population 608— whose main street most fittingly resembles a ghost town. Area residents might be disappointed to learn, however, that “Resurrection” isn’t being filmed anywhere remotely close to Missouri.
The TV show’s exterior shots are being shot in the state of Georgia.
That just doesn’t seem right to local author Melissa Miles McCarter who has spent much of her time and effort over the past nine months trying to draw the attention of ABC to include Arcadia Valley someway, somehow in the show that is supposed to take place there. She's also made contact with several people associated with the show.
“I’ve been in contact with Jason Mott, the author of “The Returned” on which the show is based,” said McCarter. “He told me he was raised in a small town like Arcadia and has been very supportive of holding a premiere of the show here.”
“I have been talking to Jason Mott's publicist and she's been talking to ABC about doing some things locally,” said McCarter. “I was sent an advanced copy of the book to do a review. We got on this early enough when none of their marketing plans are finalized.”
McCarter has also enlisted the help of her husband, Matt, president of the local River Valley Region Association. Last spring the organization snagged the Internet domain ‘resurrectionarcadia.com’ to direct people who might be searching for information about the show to a site where they can find out more about the “real” Arcadia.
There’s also a Facebook page, “Resurrection Arcadia,” with 963 “likes” and an unofficial, locally produced video promo for the show that seeks to connect the fictional Arcadia with the real one.
Several weeks ago McCarter invited members of the community to the Academy — a former Catholic school turned into a bed and breakfast/restaurant — for an informal meeting with St. Louis Post-Dispatch TV critic Gail Pennington.
Pennington, who told the 15 or so attendees that she had only been vaguely aware of the Arcadia Valley before learning of the show, said she intends to write a story about the real town the show is set in.
“I want to connect the idea of the show’s title, ‘Resurrection,’ with the hope that it will offer a real opportunity for the resurrection of this area,” she said.
Prior to the community meeting, Pennington was given a tour of the Valley and offered her take on the town of Arcadia as it appears in the series.
“I was given an advanced screening of the show by ABC and I think the town looks a lot like Ironton with the county courthouse and all,” she said. “ABC is really pushing this show. They’ve been looking for another ‘Lost’ since it went off the air and they’re hoping this may be it.”
Among local residents attending the meeting, there was a palpable sense of excitement about a resurrection of their downtrodden community through the attention it will undoubtedly receive from the TV show.
Academy owner Darwin Rouse told the group that since taking over the business he’s been pleasantly surprised at the positive reaction he receives from out-of-town visitors who stay at his bed and breakfast.
“When they leave they always tell me what a beautiful area this is and that they’re going to come back soon,” he said. “They also tell me they’re going to tell their friends and family about it.”
Arcadia Valley Jamboree owner Bobby Powell told Pennington there are many people who visited the area who eventually returned to make it their permanent home.
“You wouldn’t believe how many there are around who’ve done that,” he said.
Kathleen Powell said she'd heard the young actor who plays “Jacob” in the series wants to visit the town with his parents.
“Wouldn’t it be great if they did?” she asked.
Since the meeting, McCarter has kept up her hard work and late this week planned another community meeting at the Academy for this coming Wednesday. She’s remaining mute about everything, but promises some exciting news may soon be revealed.
“I can’t talk about the details now in case it doesn’t pan out, but it is going to involve planning and executing that I will need help with,” she wrote to the previous attendees on Facebook.
McCarter may have started with little help on the project, but in recent months she’s grabbed the community’s attention and there are others who've joined with her to make the Arcadia Valley’s resurrection a reality.