The event of “The Event” is … well, we’ve got no clue. But by the end of the “Lost”-meets-“24” premiere, audiences will at least be able to assume that the mysterious happening somehow involves an earnest U.S. president who is the target of a dramatic assassination attempt, genius-level scientists exiled on a military base on some frozen tundra, and an affable, adorable guy who’s not the everyman he appears to be. Of all the political and scientific intrigue wrapped up in the show’s first 60 minutes, we’re most interested in that last puzzle piece, namely because the seemingly average Joe is played by Jason Ritter, who tells us that despite his TV star pedigree — the late John Ritter is his father — the whole leading man thing isn’t an inherited trait (though considering the young Ritter’s performance, we’d have to disagree).
There are a lot of very different storylines introduced in the pilot. Is this an action series? Crime show? Romance?
There are a lot of different aspects to the show. ... Like any ensemble show, any given audience member will latch onto characters — “Well, those are my favorites, that’s the storyline I want to see.” [In addition to the mystery] I have this love story. … One of the nice things is that my character is motivated by his love for his girlfriend, as opposed to [him being] motivated by hate or revenge, some of the other things that action stars are motivated by. A lot of people say, “I would do anything for you,” but he’s actually put to that test and finds that he will go to almost any length for her.
You are an action star in this show. How are you handling the role of leading man?
It’s really exciting. The thing is, it’s one of the only leading men characters I felt like I could play when I was reading scripts, in that he is a leading man, but he is unsure of himself. He’s not Mr. Confidence — he’s freaked out by what’s happening, but he’s trying to do something about it. I always find trying to pretend that nothing scares me is false. So I like the fact that he does a lot of running and not a lot of staying and fighting [laughs].
Will you be running from aliens or monsters? It seems the Event may involve some supernatural elements.
It’s science fiction in the truest sense of the word, which covers a lot of bases. There are things in science that are theoretical, things that no one has been able to do in real life but people say are possible, we just don’t have the technology. So who knows if there are things that will always remain elusive to human understanding, or if it’s something like flying to space, which we once thought was impossible, too.