LOS ANGELES — The new DirecTV series "Full Circle" suggests that while the world might seem big, in some ways, all or our lives are intertwined.
Premiering Wednesday, the first episode starts with two people having a conversation at a restaurant. One of those diners will move to the next episode for another conversation, and then one diner will appear in the next episode. The pattern continues through 10 episodes. Two episodes of the half-hour drama will air each week on DirecTV.
The series opens with a married woman (Minka Kelly) sharing a last meal with her lover (Tom Felton) before he returns to school in England. The result of that meeting continues in the second episode, where the woman asks her lawyer husband (Julian McMahon) for a divorce.
Both the fluid nature of how all of these stories are connected and having to act while seated at a table posed some interesting acting exercises for the actors.
In the case of McMahon and David Boreanaz, the conversation is between the lawyer and his client, a comic (Boreanaz) whose mean-spirited humor is blamed for a teen's death.
One test was dealing with the script by Neil LaBute.
"His dialogue is not easy because he puts in a lot of ums and ahs and buts and ands where you don't normally have them. But, if you took them out you find that the rhythm would be off. So, all of those little bits were important. It came down to just knowing your dialogue and then being comfortable enough to be able to express yourself in a very contained environment," McMahon says.
McMahon, best known for his work on "Nip/Tuck" and "Charmed," initially was intimidated by the idea of being confined to a table. But once the work started, he found it enjoyable.
The confined working space was a huge change for Boreanaz, who is used to starring on huge action shows like "Bones" and "Angel." He found the inability to move helped him get his character across.
"We're not running around and away from things. We're not doing walk and talks," Boreanaz says. "We are in the environment with just the words and we are making them affect us. I really found that interesting."
The series was shot on a very tight schedule — another reason for the single set — where actors would work one day on each of their two episodes.
McMahon's other episode, where Minka Kelly plays his unhappy wife, took him in a completely different acting direction.
"That was a hard episode to shoot because this guy was so mean," McMahon says. "He was intense and I really wanted to portray as many emotions as I could. When you have a breakup with a partner for a long time, there's so many things you go through. The devastation. The anger. The disappointment. The sadness."
"Full Circle" is the latest foray into original programming for cable provider DirecTV. But unlike the cost-sharing deal DirecTV made with NBC to air original episodes of "Friday Night Lights" before they were shown on the network, "Full Circle" is being produced exclusively for DirecTV.
Along with Boreanaz, McMahon, Felton and Kelly, the cast includes Keke Palmer, Devon Gearhart, Billy Campbell, Kate Walsh, Cheyenne Jackson, Noah Silver and Ally Sheedy.
"Full Circle," 9 and 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 9, DirecTV
TV and movie critic Rick Bentley can be reached at (559) 441-6355, firstname.lastname@example.org or @RickBentley1 on Twitter. Read his blog at fresnobeehive.com.