Creators Edward Kitsis, Adam Horowitz, and Ian Goldberg previewed their upcoming Dead of Summer TV show, at the ATX Television Festival in Austin. The first season of this haunted summer camp drama consists of 10 one-hour episodes.
The Dead of Summer TV series cast includes Elizabeth Mitchell, Elizabeth Lail, Zelda Williams, Mark Indelicato, Alberto Frezza, Eli Goree, Ronen Rubinstein, Amber Coney, Paulina Singer, and Zachary Gordon. Dead of Summer premieres June 28 at 9:00pm ET/PT, on Freeform.
During the panel, talk turned to what works inspired Dead of Summer. From EW:
In terms of specific influences, Horowitz cites The Shining, Halloween, River’s Edge, Heathers, and Pretty in Pink. “We’ve always worn our references on our sleeve,” he says. Goldberg adds, “It would be hard to not be inspired by Friday the 13th in terms of summer camp horror. We’re doing something different from that, but that was definitely an inspiration.”
But the creators were clear that Dead of Summer isn’t a TV rehash of the bloody classic, despite any surface similarities, and a lot of that has to do with the show’s structure: Each episode features flashbacks to one character’s backstory. “It’s not a slasher show,” says Kitsis. “It’s supernatural, so you’re going to see that the themes from their past, the things that haunt them, their demons, will literally manifest themselves on the island.”
Is it just us, or does that sound a little bit like Lost? Kitsis and Horowitz wrote Lost and rose through the ranks from producers all the way up to executive producers before the controversial series finale. The writing partners went on to create the Once Upon a Time and Once Upon a Time in Wonderland TV series for ABC, and now Dead of Summer for Disney/ABC’s Freeform.
Where Dead of Summer does not at all resemble Lost is that Kitsis said it will be similar to an anthology series. EW reports:
“Every year’s going to be a different year, so season 2 might be 1970, season 3 might be 2004. If we did 1970, that might be the year of Deb [Mitchell’s character]. In 2004, it might be someone’s child. They’ll be linked through the history of the show, but every year will be different. Mark [Indelicato] is Blair, but next year, he could be a completely different character in 1970. He could be Blair’s dad.”
The trio also explained that not everyone will be dying left and right, as with certain other shows in the horror anthology genre. Kitsis elaborates: “If you just start killing everybody in every episode, you will actually find yourself detached, because who wants to befriend somebody that’s only going to leave them? My favorite TV shows are the ones that, when somebody dies, it really… evokes some emotion, and that’s what the John Hughes side of the characters is for. You really get to know these characters and fall in love with them so that if they get axe-murdered, you’re going to cry.”
Horowitz adds: “We want you to fall in love with the characters before we kill them.”
— Natalie Abrams (@NatalieAbrams) June 11, 2016
What do you think? How do you like the sound of the new Dead of Summer TV series? Do you plan to check out the series premiere on Freeform?