BYUtv’s Granite Flats Now on Netflix

Contributed By Ryan Morgenegg, Church News staff writer

  • 2 June 2015

The series is filmed entirely on location in Utah, spread over 40 square miles, in towns and buildings that retain the ambiance of the show’s era and have seemingly remained impervious to the passage of time.  Photo courtesy BYUtv.

Article Highlights

  • BYUtv’s popular Cold War drama series Granite Flats will now be available on Netflix.
  • The program recently started its third season and will debut eight new one-hour episodes.
  • Parker Posey and George Newbern will be joining the show.

“Netflix recognized a global appetite and audience for shows that families can enjoy together, with Granite Flats being one of them, and they are excited to provide this great show and content to their more than 60 million [global users].” —Scott Swofford, executive producer and director of Granite Flats

PROVO, UTAH

BYUtv’s popular Cold War drama series Granite Flats is now available to more viewers through streaming on Netflix. The program, now in its third season, includes eight new one-hour episodes.

Scott Swofford, the show’s executive producer and director, told the Church News, “Netflix is constantly adding new titles and genres to meet the tastes of its diverse subscriber base, from families with young kids to working adults and everything in between. Netflix recognized a global appetite and audience for shows that families can enjoy together, with Granite Flats being one of them, and they are excited to provide this great show and content to their more than 60 million [global users].”

“Now in its third season, Granite Flats continues to captivate viewers through riveting scenarios and intriguing characters that are inspired by actual historic events,” said Derek Marquis, co-executive producer of the show and managing director of BYUtv. “We are pleased to announce the addition of two distinguished actors, Parker Posey and George Newbern, to our iconic ensemble cast, while continuing our investments in original, family-appropriate programming that fills a void in primetime.”

The two new faces on the series this season are industry professionals. First is Parker Posey, an actress and musician known for roles in the films You’ve Got Mail and Superman Returns. George Newbern is known for film and television work, including Chicago Hope, Father of the Bride, and Adventures in Babysitting.

Reed Smoot is the cinematographer for Granite Flats. His credits include dozens of feature films for television and theatrical release such as Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Walt Disney Pictures’ classic Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey. Photo courtesy BYUtv.

Christopher Lloyd is a three-time Emmy Award–winning actor. Photo courtesy BYUtv.

Three-time Emmy Award–winning actor Christopher Lloyd plays Professor Hargraves, an eccentric junior high English teacher with a smart, teasing sense of humor. Photo courtesy BYUtv.

George Newbern plays the role of Scottie Andrews, a New York City civil liberties attorney. Photo courtesy BYUtv.

Golden Globe and Independent Spirit Award nominee Parker Posey plays Alice White, the aunt of 14-year-old main character Arthur Milligan. Photo courtesy BYUtv.

Ezekiel Scott plays FBI agent Tom Wright, left, and Richard Gunn plays Chief of Police John Sanders. Photo courtesy BYUtv.

Speaking about her involvement in the series in a promotional video, Ms. Posey said, “It has a message of righteousness and goodness that feels like The Waltons. There are all these different styles and it’s like nothing else I’ve ever done and I’m having a ball. It’s been great.”

In the same video, Mr. Newbern spoke about his involvement in the show, saying, “You know, it’s always more fun for actors to get to play someone that’s not completely black and white because in reality there’s a gray area in everyone’s life. You try to do the right thing all the time and you know most of us shoot about 70 to 80 percent. It’s the 20 percent that gets most interesting to watch.”

“Season three takes the drama and intrigue to a whole new level of intensity,” said Brother Swofford. “Adding Parker Posey and George Newbern to the cast with other great actors like Christopher Lloyd gave us an opportunity to explore whole new plotlines and characters.”

Ms. Posey plays Alice White, the eccentric aunt of 14-year-old Arthur Milligan. Her background and special challenges make her an agent of change around which many of the plotlines during season three revolve. She is a former prison inmate who spent 10 years behind bars for murder. She is known to have futuristic visions that often come true.

Mr. Newbern will play Scottie Andrews, the uncle of teenager Madeline Andrews. He is a glib and personable civil-liberties attorney from New York City who has been divorced three times. Scottie is also a recovering alcoholic with a boisterous and outgoing personality. He hasn’t seen his brother in six years, but he is very fond of his niece Madeline. However, as season three unfolds, viewers will begin to see that Scottie has his own agendas.

Granite Flats started as part of an experiment to see if BYUtv could create scripted drama at a network level that would not only entertain, but engage and enlighten viewers interested in watching as a family,” said Brother Swofford. “We searched for concepts and eventually settled on Granite Flats.

Granite Flats has garnered unprecedented media attention, with major reviews and articles praising it as sophisticated and watchable family fare,” said Brother Swofford. “It has topped the ratings for us on many occasions and has a devoted national following. We’re creating scripted drama at a small fraction of what Hollywood spends. We think it has succeeded in putting BYUtv on the map with both the industry and viewers.”

Even though the series is produced by BYUtv, the actors and actresses appearing on the show are not all members of the Church. “Charged with creating content which resonates with good people of all faiths, not just Latter-day Saints, Granite Flats has drawn on the talents of writers, actors, and directors from many faiths,” said Brother Swofford. “The key ingredient in selecting these key team members is that they understand what we are trying to accomplish and want to contribute to that effort.”

Being a home-grown television series in Utah, exterior film locations have included the Olmstead Complex at the mouth of Provo Canyon, Main Street in Magna, Utah, and several areas in Copperton, Utah, as well as sites in Salt Lake City, including several houses in the Avenues, Granite High School, and the Masonic Temple.

“1964 was an interesting transformational period in the history of the nation, and that is all reflected in the people and places of Granite Flats,” said Brother Swofford. “It is a mystery, several love stories, and, above all, an opportunity for redemption for many of its characters.”