On television, the horror genre has enjoyed an enduring run of success, from premium cable’s uncensored slate of blood, gore and sex (Dexter, True Blood) to basic cable’s only slightly more restrained offerings, such as American Horror Story. Network television’s approach to the horror show offers a wide array of programming, such as the high-art drama-based approach of NBC’s Hannibal to the YA-friendly The Vampire Diaries, to the wild and over-the-top fun of Sleepy Hollow.
One thing that television has been missing in the past couple of decades is the anthology series. In fact, Screen Rant’s own Jason Tabrys recently explored this very subject. Since the dawn of television itself, anthology shows have been tried and true ways to tell a variety of different kinds of stories, while providing a showcase for up-and-coming creative voices (like Steven Spielberg, for instance, whose directorial debut was the first episode of Night Gallery in 1969). American Horror Story has been a notable success in the genre, and now it looks like it might have company.
Deadline reports that hit-making writer-producers Alex Kurtzman and Robert Orci (Star Trek Into Darkness) are teaming with Horns novelist (and son of Stephen King) Joe Hill to bring a reboot of Tales of the Darkside to the CW.
The original series was created by Night of the Living Dead auteur George A. Romero in 1984 and ran for four seasons. The new show will evidently follow the original’s half-hour format, showcasing short tales of horror, fantasy and the supernatural. Joe Hill will be on board as a writer and will executive produce with Kurtzman and Orci.
The original series featured contributions by some of the biggest names of ’80s horror, including Stephen King, Romero himself, Tom Savini and Clive Barker. A slew of famous actors came and went as well, including Debbie “Blondie” Harry, Christian Slater, the late, great Jerry Orbach and Phyllis Diller. The series led to a spin-off feature film in 1990, Tales from the Darkside: The Movie, which was co-written by Romero and remains a schlocky cult favorite.
The ’80s were arguably the last heyday of the horror anthology series, seeing a revival of The Twilight Zone, Tales from the Darkside, and two bizarre but largely forgotten anthologies spun off from the Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th franchises (Freddy’s Nightmares and Friday the 13th: The Series). Perhaps the best-known and most beloved of these, Tales from the Crypt, began its run in 1989 on HBO.
If we’re going to see a new Tales from the Darkside series, Joe Hill’s voice will be the show’s secret weapon. Kurtzman and Orci have a list of hit TV shows to their credit (Alias, Fringe, Hawaii Five-O Sleepy Hollow), and previously worked with Hill on the the television adaptation of Hill’s Locke & Key comic book. Hill’s dad Stephen King saw many of his short stories adapted for the previous series alongside lesser-known writers; the platform was an engaging way to explore the different facets of horror for TV, and with these names behind an established brand, this project could (hopefully) be the first step in a new anthology trend on TV.
The reboot of Tales of the Darkside is currently in development and will air on the CW.