Mind Games is a new show premiering on ABC tonight starring Christian Slater and Steve Zahn. This show is of particular interest to us here at MWTVG for a couple of reasons, first, it’s filmed here in Chicago. Friends of mine who work in the Chicago film and TV industry tell me that business has been booming in the last few years for Chicago film and TV production. We are happy to talk about any shows that are set and produced in our great city as Chicago is a great back drop for any show or movie that wants to be successful.
I’m also interested in this show because I actually got to visit the set during production. Being the big and famous and powerful TV writers that we are, the producers of Mind Games recognized the need to have influential support for their show. The Chicago Tribune? No. The Sun Times? Uh uh. Dean Richards on WGN? Psh. No, the producers did the right thing and made sure that the Midwest TV Guys were given access. As you’ll see from some of the very professional pictures I took on the set, I had access to just about anything that anyone else walking through the area had access to. That’s how powerful the Midwest TV Guys are.
In all seriousness, Mind Games does seem like an interesting show. I was a fan of Christian Slater’s last show, Breaking In, from back in 2011 that I felt was canceled too soon. The character he plays on Mind Games seems to be similar to the Breaking In character but I’m ok with that since a) it’s probably Slater’s acting style and, b) I liked the character so cool.
Mind Games is about two brothers, Ross (Christian Slater) and Clark Edwards (Steve Zahn) who start an unusual business. Their business is based on the belief that you can alter the decisions people make by making changes to their environment that they are not aware of. They manipulate people through their mental tricks to get the target to make decisions that the brother’s clients want them to make.
While this sounds like it could be put to evil uses, the commercials give this show more of a heartfelt feeling. It seems like they are going to use these powers for good rather than for evil but I wouldn’t count on that always being the case. Ross Edwards is a conman with a criminal record so I would bet that there are going to be story lines that head down some dark paths or else there is no point in having a character with that kind of a back story.
I was invited down to the set of Mind Games back in January to see a day of shooting. The cast and crew were shooting that day in Chicago’s historic Union Station which has been used in countless numbers of TV’s and movies over the years. They were shooting the season finale the day I was there and let me tell you something. If you have never been to a TV or movie set, you are not missing out on a single thing. It is incredibly boring. It takes hours to set up a single shot and then the scene needs to be reset and set up again for the next shot which can take hours. There is a lot of standing around watching a small group of people actually do work while everyone else waits for the director to say they are ready to go. It is not glamorous, trust me.
Pictures from the set of Mind Games
Another view of the great hall. This is a public area that wasn’t blocked off from commuters heading in and out of Union Station. Again, that’s how powerful the Midwest TV Guys are. We were allowed in to the same area the rest of the public was allowed in to.
I took a picture of that light because I was told it cost $30,000. It was blow up light that they use to create more natural lighting which was not nearly as interesting as finding out how much it cost.
This is one of those pictures that only a professional photographer could take. Notice how it’s dark so you can’t really tell what it is you are looking at? Brilliant right? Those are 10,000 balloons set up in a net that were going to be dropped in the final scene being shot. I’m told it’s some kind of gimmick that will be part of every show but we’ll have to see.
If it wasn’t so dark you also might be able to notice that the stairs would be familiar to any fans of The Untouchables.
Here is ABC’s official trailer for Mind Games
Mind Games premieres tonight on ABC at 9:00 and will air weekly in the same time slot.