It used to be that summer was a time when school was out, movie theaters were quiet as people went on vacation or headed down the shore, and TV was full of repeats and rejected pilots. Now it seems, more students take summer classes, movie theaters see a new blockbuster released each week, and a brand new television season starts anew filling the small screen with exciting shows, many in the horror genre. This summer is no exception, as there are a number of freshman series, along with returning favorites. So, here’s a look at what’s out there, in case they’ve slipped through your viewing cracks.
We’ll start with Sunday, since that is a big viewing night for the networks, including basic and pay cable, and where you’ll find thoughout the year such hits as The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones.
FX’s The Strain began its second season July 12. From Guillermo Del Toro and Carlton Cuse, The Strain concerns the arrival of an ancient vampire and the spreading of his contagion that will turn humans into the living dead, throughout New York and, ultimately, the world. It features a Van Helsing-type vampire hunter, CDC experts and an exterminator all fighting this terrifying evil and his growing army. It is dark and gruesome, and absolutely terrific.
On TNT, and entering its 5th and final season, is the alien invasion drama, Falling Skies. It stars Noah Wyle and Moon Bloodgood among a band of survivors fighting back against aliens bent on taking over the planet. There is the more advanced alien race, and their warriors, know as ‘skitters’, as well as a group of aliens who are against the invasion and who fight on the side of the human race. And there are also humans who have been taken over by the aliens, to varying degrees. It all comes to an exciting conclusion in the next few weeks. Let’s hope we win!
A new show you may not have heard of, but one you should definitely check out, is the Fox animated horror comedy, Golan the Insatiable. It actually aired on Fox in 2013-14, before its current reboot with a new voice cast. The show is about a young goth girl who is into all things dark and demented, who accidentally conjures up a demon darklord from an alternate universe, and together, they wreak havoc on their boring little town. Aubrey Plaza is deviously delightful as Dylan, and Rob Riggle rules as Golan. It’s very twisted and bloody and hilarious as well, just the way the Gore 4 likes it.
On ABC, there’s an eerie new series called The Whispers. Starring Lily Rabe (American Horror Story), it is about a seemingly evil, unseen force named ‘Drill’, that communicates with children and gets them to do certain things for it, not all of them pleasant. Who or what is Drill, and what is its ultimate agenda are some of the mysteries on hand. There’s also a strange man who pops up with no recollection of his past, though he does have ties to some of the other characters. It will be interesting to see where this is all headed.
MTV, formerly known for music, is currently airing the 5th season of Teen Wolf. A totally revamped version of the Michael J. Fox comedy, MTV’s lupine drama is played straight, with werewolves, banshees, kitsunes, werecoyotes and werewolf hunters all fighting a variety of evil characters, which vary from season to season. It features an attractive and talented young cast, and, again, is nothing like the comedy it was based on. If you haven’t checked it out yet, now might be a good time to start.
MTV continues its foray into horror with the new television adaptation of the hit theatrical movie series, Scream. Featuring an all-new young cast playing all-new characters, the TV version also deals with an unknown masked serial killer (as opposed to a mass murderer, as a character points out), who taunts his victims before dispatching them. And as with the movies, the characters are aware of the horror clichés, and knowingly poke fun at the very idea of a slasher TV show, and whether it would actually work as a series, where characters must die week to week. It’s clever and fun, and scary and horrific too.
Over on CBS, the human race may have finally met its match, and the danger isn’t coming from outer space or some supernatural threat, but from the furry, feathery and scaly creatures we already share the planet with. In Zoo, animals throughout the world suddenly start attacking humans. Is it due to some harmful chemical created by a Monsanto/Dow-like company, or are animals finally realizing they can fight back and stave off extinction at the hands of mankind. Think the 1977 classic, Day of the Animals, starring Christopher George and Leslie Nielsen, but on a global scale (and without those actors.)
Now in its 6th season, on ABC Family, is the teen mystery, Pretty Little Liars. The basic premise is that of four high school friends who are harassed and sometimes attacked by the relentless and elusive “A”, after their friend, the bully, Allison, disappears.. Who is “A”?, is central to the show and evolves from season to season. What makes PLL horror are all the scares, enigmas wrapped within conundrums, and the bodies which continually pile up. And you certainly couldn’t ask for a more attractive cast to get caught up in their plight.
Also on ABC Family, is the new sci-fi show, Stitchers. Here, a secret government organization has developed a technology which allows one to enter the minds of freshly deceased individuals with the hopes of solving their murders, if that is indeed the case. Of course, with a secret government organization, the reasons for this technology may not be as altruistic as this group of tech experts are led to believe. The show stars the very appealing Emma Ishta as the one with the special ability to ‘stitch’, along with two SyFy alumni, Salli Richardson-Whitfield (Eureka) and the always delightful Allison Scagliotti (Warehouse 13).
New to TNT the past few weeks is a show that delves into the horror genre, entitled, Proof. It’s basic premise is that of a brilliant surgeon (played by Jennifer Beals of Flashdance fame), hired by a dying billionaire (Matthew Modine) to find proof of life after death. The show deals with hauntings, near-death experiences and reincarnation. Co-starring the always reliable Joe Morton, it’s refreshing to see a purely adult drama with leads who are in their 50s. It is especially nice to see the ageless Beals headlining a major series.
Continuing the trend of casting a mature female in the leading role, is the 2nd season of the sci-fi/horror hybrid, Extant. Starring Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry, as an astronaut who returned to Earth carrying something very unearthlike, the show takes place in the future, where the creation of very humanlike androids is progressing, a prototype of whom has been adopted by Halle Berry’s character. Added to the cast this season is Jeffrey Dean Morgan as a cop, and of special interest to Gore 4 fans, The Walking Dead’s Governor, David Morrissey, as the head of a Global Security Commission.
NBC, home of Grimm and the recently cancelled Constantine, leaves their former Thursday comedy lineup behind, with the procedural, Aquarius. Starring David Duchovny, fresh off a seven season run on Showtime’s Californication, Aquarius takes place in 1967 Los Angeles, and deals with the investigation of future mass-murderer, Charles Manson. Also in the cast is the lovely Claire Holt, last seen as one of The Originals on the CW. Duchovny, of course, will reprise his role as FBI agent Fox Mulder in the limited series return of the classic sci-fi/horror The X-Files in January.
Pairing up nicely with Aquarius, NBC follows with the 3rd, and apparently, final, season of Hannibal. Chronicling the exploits of serial killer/cannibal, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, and his adversarial friendship with FBI profiler, Will Graham, the show is as dark and grisly as they come, especially so for a major network. Mads Mikkelsen plays the enigmatic Lecter, Hugh Dancy, dogged profiler Will Graham, Laurence Fishburne, Will’s boss, and, in an interesting coinicidence, Gillian Anderson plays a psychotherapist who’s involved with Lecter. Gillian will also return to her character, Dana Scully, when The X-Files returns in January.
Currently in the midst of its 3rd season is CBS’ Under the Dome, based on the novel by Stephen King. Here, the residents of Chester’s Mill struggle to survive with limited resources within the confines of a mysterious dome which has cut them off from the rest of the world. While coming up against a variety of strange and dangerous threats, the townspeople often find that the greatest threats come from within their own limited population.
The SyFy network, whose more straight-forward horror shows, like Bitten, Z Nation and Haven, are in between seasons, has a 2nd season of the post-apocalyptic Dominion, airing on Thursdays. Based on the 2010 film, Legion, and taking place in the not-too-distant future, Dominion centers on the archangels Gabriel and Michael, one fighting against mankind, the other fighting for humanity, along with the help of the prophesized savior, Alex. It is one of the more adult-oriented genre shows, with ample amounts of blood, beheadings and nudity. And filming in South Africa gives the show a unique look.
Over on Fox, comes the unusual and mysterious Wayward Pines. Sort of a cross between The Prisoner and Twin Peaks, with some Lost thrown in for good measure, Matt Dillon, Shannyn Sossamon and Carla Gugino find themselves stuck in a strange town that’s near-impossible to leave once you suffer the misfortune of entering, ala Hotel California. M. Night Shyamalan directed the pilot episode, and serves as an executive producer, along with Chad Hodge. The show is very intriguing, and it will be cool to see where it goes.
For the summer, SyFy completely takes over Friday nights. And while these are more science-fiction oriented shows, there are elements of horror in all three. Defiance is now in its 3rd season, and is another post-apocalyptic show, this time where humans and various alien races struggle to live together. It has a terrific cast in Grant Bowler, Julie Benz, Stephanie Leonidas, Tony Curran and Jaime Murray. And while the setting is a futuristic Earth, it is one where advanced weaponry coincides with a technologically-regressed society.
Following Defiance is the newest SyFy offering, Killjoys, which follows a trio of bounty hunters who travel the galaxy in search of various targets. It’s reminiscent to some extent of the beloved Firefly, and features a kick-ass lead in Hannah John-Kamen, along with Luke Macfarlane and Aaron Ashmore (one half of the genre favorite twin brothers). As is often the case on SyFy, it can get pretty bloody at times, as the last episode where an escaping bounty gets electrocuted into a pile of blood and guts.
Closing the night is another new space drama from SyFy, Dark Matter. Here, a group of six individuals wake up from hypersleep on a spaceship with no recollection of who they are. They soon discover they each have certain talents, which apparently weren’t necessarily used for good in their previous lives. Forced to work together, and as fugitives, they scour the galaxy in search of ‘jobs’, while trying to unravel the mysteries of their pasts. For those who lamented SyFy’s lack of sci-fi, these newest shows should come as welcome relief.
That pretty much covers the slew of genre offerings currently invading television screens this summer. Still to come, and which the Gore 4 will preview in more detail, are SyFy’s superb make-up effects series, Face/Off, which recently won the Critics’ Choice Award for best reality competition show, and which begins its 9th season on Tuesday, July 28, the incredibly wild and weird animated delight, Rick and Morty, the second season of which starts July 26 on the Cartoon Network, the 2nd season of the Netflix series based on the movie, From Dusk till Dawn, beginning Aug. 25, and The Walking Dead companion show, Fear The Walking Dead, which premieres Aug. 23 on AMC. And with Starz’ upcoming Ash vs Evil Dead and Fox’ Scream Queens in the fall, and the return of The X-Files next January, horror fans have plenty to look forward to for a long time to come. Television has never been better for Gore4natics and we’re excited to cover every bloody drop of it!