The cultural winds at The CW are apparently blowing due spooky this pilot season, with horror and supernatural series dominating the network’s picks. So far, the network has scooped up a rebooted horror anthology, a remake of a Belgian drama about a deadly epidemic, and a series about a “semi-roguish” cab driver who can talk to ghosts in its effort to become America’s top-rated channel for goblins, ghouls, and very sick dead people.
The network’s first pick-up was Tales From The Darkside, from Sleepy Hollow producers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman and novelist Joe Hill, who will serve as the show’s creative director. A reboot of George Romero’s syndicated mid-’80s horror anthology, Darkside was previously described as a hybrid of an anthology show and a more narrative-driven series, with plot threads and recurring themes connecting episodes into a unified whole. Recent descriptions drop those more ambitious elements, however, painting the program as a pure anthology show in the vein of The Twilight Zone or Black Mirror.
The original Darkside was notable for including adaptations of works by famous horror and sci-fi authors including Harlan Ellison, Clive Barker, and Hill’s own father, Stephen King. Given the withering of the short fiction market in the intervening years, though, the new series will presumably have to look further afield before giving up and adapting some particularly bone-chilling tweets and a few of King’s old columns for Entertainment Weekly.
The CW also picked up Cordon, a remake of a Belgian series from creator Carl Joos. Developed for the States by Julie Plec, executive producer for the network’s popular The Vampire Diaries and its spin-off The Originals, the new series centers on an outbreak of disease in Atlanta, America’s number one destination spot for TV shows about virulent plagues. As survivors panic, the titular Cordon is quickly declared, tearing families apart, quarantining people in the city from their loved ones outside, and presumably providing fodder for heartwarming scenes of people touching hands from inside their Hazmat suits.
The final show to be announced so far is Dead People, from J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot and Californication creator Tom Kapinos. As with Kapinos’ previous series, the drama centers on a drunk-but-charming asshole who continually blunders into highly improbable situations, the difference being that in this case, our hero talks to ghosts instead of having sex with every woman in a tri-state radius. Specifically, he talks to the ghost of his late ex-wife, although other specters are also apparently involved. Given its creator’s pedigree and the concept’s storied tradition in filmmaking, one question seems paramount: Will our cab-driving protagonist try to get to third base with a ghost?