Continuing the recent trend of anthology television series (each season being a self-contained story with different characters) popularised by programs like American Horror Story, True Detective, American Crime, Secrets and Lies, Scream Queens and Fargo, ABC Family (to be rebranded as Freeform starting in 2016) and Syfy have both given series orders to new anthology horror series.
ABC Family has given a series order to Dead of Summer, a summer camp slasher series from three-time Primetime Emmy Award nominee Adam Horowitz (Once Upon A Time, Lost), three-time Primetime Emmy Award nominee Edward Kitsis (Tron: Legacy, Once Upon A Time In Wonderland) and Ian Goldberg (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior). According to a press release announcing the pick up, Dead of Summer is “set in the late 1980s, school is out for the summer, and a sun-drenched season of firsts beckons the counselors at Camp Clearwater, a seemingly idyllic Midwestern summer camp, including first loves, first kisses – and first kills. Clearwater’s dark, ancient mythology awakens, and what was supposed to be a summer of fun soon turns into one of unforgettable scares and evil at every turn. Part coming-of-age story, part supernatural horror story, Dead of Summer is a bold, new series that mixes genres as it examines the light and dark of a summer like no other.”
“Dead of Summer is about what happens when summer camp goes wrong – really, really wrong. The horror genre is new for us and I’m thrilled to have Adam, Eddy and Ian bring their immeasurable talent to our network and usher us into this new space,” said ABC Family Executive Vice President for Programming and Development Karey Burke.
The number of episodes for the debut season has yet to be revealed, but Dead of Summer will premiere sometime in 2016, as will Syfy’s pick-up Channel Zero, which has received an order for two seasons straight off the bat, set to air around Halloween in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
Both comprising six episodes, Channel Zero‘s seasons come from Nick Antosca (Hannibal, Last Resort) and Max Landis (Chronicle, American Ultra). While the second season’s plot has yet to be discussed (it is a fair ways off), the first season will be subtitled Candle Cove, based on the popular “creepypasta” by Kris Straub. Creepypasta is basically a mix of urban legend and short story, or horror stories passed around internet forums.
Candle Cove focuses “on one man’s obsessive recollections of a mysterious children’s television program from the 1980s – and his ever-growing suspicions about the role it might have played in a series of nightmarish and deadly events from his childhood,” according to a press release.
“As Syfy’s first ever Halloween original scripted series, Channel Zero will transport viewers into the deepest recesses of their darkest imagination, with frightening tales from two of the genre’s most accomplished storytellers, Max Landis and Nick Antosca,” said Dave Howe, the President of Syfy.
“We’re thrilled to partner with Max Landis and Nick Antosca to bring these brilliantly macabre stories to life,” added Jeff Wachtel, the Chief Content Officer of NBC Universal Cable Entertainment, which will produce the series. “Fans are in for a haunting, spine-tingling ride.”
Antosca and Landis also weighed in, saying: “As lifelong fans of experimental horror and science fiction, from The Twilight Zone to Tales from the Crypt, we are overjoyed to have the opportunity to offer exposure to a new generation of creators. Channel Zero is a great opportunity to explore new frontiers in the genre, in a way that allows us to really dig in and get weird.”
Dead of Summer and Channel Zero join other upcoming anthology series like American Crime Story, Slasher and The Girlfriend Experience.
Personally, I love a good horror story and the proliferation of self-contained seasons of television, so these projects are right up my alley.