It’s been 18 years since the original From Dusk Till Dawn hit, but tonight (at the time of this writing) on El Rey Network we’ll get the chance to reunite with the Gecko brothers and set off on another trip to the Titty Twister. In the pilot, we meet D.J. Cotrona and Zane Holtz’s versions of Seth and Richie Gecko while they’re busy trying to evade the Texas Rangers and make their way to Mexico.

While promoting From Dusk Till Dawn’s Tuesday, March 11th debut, show writer, director and executive producer Robert Rodriguez sat down to explain what it was that inspired him to bring the beloved 1996 film to TV:

“Really early on, I just thought this would be a really great show to do. Ever since we finished the movie, there’s a last shot that I put in that wasn’t in the script where the camera pulls back and you see that the bar was on top of an Aztec temple. People always loved that tease, thinking, ‘Is there a sequel that’s gonna follow this up,’ and we never did. And I’ve had that matte painting on my wall for 18 years and I always thought, I wanna do something with that. I didn’t know what. I didn’t know it’d be TV until I got this network.”

In hopes of keeping in line with the original, Rodriguez committed to taking a Walking Dead-like approach to the show and going all out with the graphic nature of the material. But, of course, an R-rated movie and a network-appropriate show are two different things. Rodriguez does have content guidelines for El Rey, but if the story calls for it, he’s going all out.

“It’s just a lot different today, I mean like what you can do. Even Walking Dead I think is more intense than even the films that were able to come out that, back in the day, got NC-17 ratings or X ratings or non-ratings, so I think you can really push the envelope on television today, especially if the story dictates it. I don’t think we just go to try to outdo anybody, but when the story kicks into that gear, it kicks into that gear.”

Regardless of the quality of the characters, narrative, and gore, one of the elements of the original film that’s going to be a challenge to emulate is that feeling you got the first time you saw the movie switch gears and go from crime thriller to supernatural horror in an instant. Even though we won’t get a defined switch like the original, Rodriguez is confident the show will offer a similar sensation and even goes as far to say that he prefers this take over the film’s.

“The series is a crime saga with supernatural elements so you have to feel that from the very beginning, but it works much better because it’s the novel version so there are ties. Everyone’s supposed to get to that bar. Everyone’s destined to get there, and when they get there, because they don’t even get there until like halfway through the season, it’s so emotional when you get there, and you know what’s gonna happen and you know that everyone’s tied to it and it’s their destiny. Even the girl who comes out with the snake means so much now because you’ve gotten glimpses of her already. It’s really powerful and I really like this version more than the film.”

You can decide for yourself whether or not this new TV series has the potential to trump the classic by embarking on the first leg of the trip to the Titty Twister tonight at 9pm on El Rey.

From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series premieres tonight on the El Rey Network.

Follow Perri on Twitter @PNemiroff.