Created by Pat Patterson
In the fall of 2016 we created the short film The Mustard Seed. In it unexpected visitors arrive weekly at Kenna Mason’s garden, delivered by God, who reveals himself as The Man in the Hat. Kenna is healing from the tragic loss of her family through the unexpected companionship of The Man in the Hat a/k/a God, Howard-a suspender-wearing hipster, cake-loving angel, and Bacon-a Down Syndrome youth who answers only to Dr. Maddox. Together they guide Kenna into a renewed faith and purpose. It was a great film that screened at several prestigous Film Festivals. It became our springboard for a scripted television development entitled Hereafter Here.
It is estimated that 5% of the population have had a near-death experience. In this “clinically dead” state, they experience otherworldly sights and sounds. Although there are many similarities to each near-death experience, one stands out: a panoramic, all-encompassing “life review.” Most report it occurs in the presence of a loving being. They relive every act they have ever done to other people and come away feeling that love is the single most important thing in life. When they return to the living and attempt to quantify their journey, they all agree that words are inadequate.
In the television show Hereafter Here, we explore such near-death experiences: not in heaven, but in the garden home of our heroine, Kenna Mason. Kenna’s whole life was caring for others: loving wife to Greg, mother to son Cully, his wife Liz, grandmother to Ellie and hospice nurse with a special comforting touch. A woman confident what the rest of her days would bring– until she wasn’t. When her husband dies and her son and his family are killed in a tragic accident, Kenna becomes a recluse without a purpose. That’s the woman we meet: the Grandma turned Grinch. But God has other plans for Kenna. Presenting Himself as The Man in the Hat, a stylishly intriguing character full of irony, humor and kindness , He sends his A-team to set Kenna straight. Meet Howard, a perpetually charming hipster who thinks he’s an angel with a big sweet tooth and Bacon, a Down’s Syndrome youth with a healing heart who calls himself Dr. Maddox. Kenna reluctantly takes them into her home and they help heal her from her past to prepare her for God’s new plan for her life: helping those caught between Earth and the afterlife.
The Man in the Hat has taken Kenna’s garden and created a space where time is suspended, where He’ll deliver people He has plucked from death. Her new job is to help them navigate their life review, using her insight to see and understand events in their lives that will assist in the next step of their journey. Howard and Bacon, her assistants in this new position know what He expects of them, she doesn’t. This on the job training tests the limits of her skills and sanity as she desperately tries to understand the big stuff. And what should she tell the neighbors?!?!
Kenna struggles with reality, questioning her judgment, as she navigates the here and the hereafter. While the weekly guests will exit through the garden gate to either the world or Eternity, Kenna remains to plan what’s next, even though she knows– if you God to laugh– make plans and send in Howard.
The pilot episode, Now-Then, opens on a family full of love and faith reveling in this beautiful garden created by Kenna’s husband, Greg. This is a family with secrets, like so many others. Suddenly they find themselves torn apart by illness, a tragic accident and death to all but Kenna, who is left devastated, angry and alone. She turns her back on the world, losing her faith and believing that God is not there.