Don't you just love it when well-loved genre actors have new shows created for them? Two fan favorites are coming back to TV in new genre shows that should showcase what they do best with a new spin. Jamie Lee Curtis, arguably the quintessential scream queen, will be leading a new show for ABC Family tentatively called The Final Girls. It's an original horror series where Curtis will play a mentor to young women who have gone through horrific acts of violence. She trains them to make a positive change in the world after the evil they endured.
Curtis' character is described as mysterious, meaning the character probably hides what, exactly, transformed her. The Halloween series forces you to remember at every turn that Laurie is THE Laurie and almost defines her by her adversity. Having the know-how but not the baggage will be an interesting spin on the character type.
ABC Family is totally hit or miss with its TV shows. This could be horror on the same quality as Bunheads, the fantastic but all too short-lived dance dramedy starring Tony Award mainstay Sutton Foster, or it could be totally incomprehensible dreck like The Secret Life of the American Teenager.
I think the pitch shows a bit more promise than that. It's a meta-horror TV show focusing on horror movie cliches and tropes. That's a tricky genre to pull off. When it's right, it's right. In recent years, Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil, Stoker, and Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon balanced horror commentary with excellent storytelling. The Cabin in the Woods, for me, actually shifted so much focus to the meta-horror aspects that it lost track of a strong plot. I'd still take a TV show at that level (or shoot, even on Scream 4's level) and be happy to watch it.
Billie Piper is being pushed a little further than Jamie Lee Curtis with her show. The first companion in the new run of Doctor Who is jumping from sci-fi to horror with a historical Victorian-era horror series called Penny Dreadful.
The show's pitch is even wilder than The Final Girls. Basically, all the major Gothic monsters and baddies--Dr. Frankenstein, Dracula, Dorian Gray, etc.--wind up in London at the same time. They interact with regular people and, presumably, wreak havoc.
Piper will be playing an Irish immigrant running away from a dark past. Rose on Doctor Who was not trying to escape anything and chose to go on her wild journey voluntarily. There were no real secrets. She told everyone she knew about the Doctor and insisted on keeping contact with the people she loved. That makes this new role radically different for Piper.
The role is also further confirmation that Showtime wants Penny Dreadful to be a darker, sexier version of Once Upon a Time. A whole bunch of well-known literary characters, some of whom might not even realize that they are ripped from the pages of books, are all trapped in the same city at the same time with no understanding of why they're all there. I'm in.
What do you think? Excited for either show? Share your thoughts below.