The Friday the 13th franchise, likes its iconic hockey-masked, machete-wielding, killer Jason Voorhees, just won’t die; its film installments are cheap to produce, have a built-in fanbase, and have grossed near half a billion dollars in theaters worldwide after 12 films (assuming you count the crossover Freddy Vs. Jason). Another movie reboot from the studio behind the 2009 series reboot – Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes – is scheduled to arrive in 2015, potentially decked out with new
gimmicks accessories like a found-footage structure.
Meanwhile, as the task of locking down a director on the next installment continues, Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films and Crystal Lake Entertainment are moving ahead with an hourlong TV series, based on the characters and setting of the original Friday the 13th movie that was released back in 1980. That film was co-written and directed by Sean S. Cunningham, who is an executive producer on this show, which Cunningham promises will “build on this legacy with a provocative and compelling take that expands upon the storylines that have already thrilled millions worldwide.”
Deadline‘s report says the project will take place in the present-day and focus on the “eclectic characters” who reside near the (in)famous Crystal Lake, when the terrible Voorhees returns and “new secrets about his wacky family are revealed.” An overarching storyline that “re-imagines Jason in multiple time periods” will be included as part of the package, with longtime effects artist Bill Basso (Terminator 2, Jurassic Park) and character/conceptual designer Jordu Schnell (300, Avatar) assigned to scripting duties.
If that’s not enough head-scratching information for you; this show wouldn’t even be the first Friday the 13th TV series to exist (assuming it comes together). Starting back in the late 1980s, Paramount aired 72 episode of a TV show called, appropriately-enough, Friday the 13th: The Series; while the program avoided ever being directly tied to the movie franchise’s mythology, its creators described the show as being related in spirit. Additionally, back in the early aughts, Cunningham had talked about creating a Friday the 13th series that would be a coming of age drama (with Jason as a “background” character) – could this new project be his attempt to realize that vision at last?
As mentioned before, the Friday the 13th certainly has its longtime fans, most of whom probably recognize the movie franchise exactly for what it is: a collection of slasher movies that lives on by concocting new twisted and ingenious ways for its silent iconic screen killer to off clueless victims. In that sense, there’s not exactly a rich mythology here that would gain a whole lot from being further explored and mined for stories, as the long-form storytelling approach of the TV medium would allow for.
On the other hand, many people were quick to dismiss the idea that cinematic serial killers like Norman Bates and Hannibal Lecter could somehow be re-imagined in a way that the characters – as well as the worlds which they inhabit – might somehow give rise to compelling small screen artistry, and yet right now Bates Motel and Hannibal are both among the more highly-respected genre TV shows on the airwaves. If a Friday the 13th show is done exceptionally well, then who knows… right?
We’ll keep you posted on development of the Friday the 13th TV series. Meanwhile, the next movie installment opens in theaters on March 13th, 2015.