The hockey mask-wearing, machete-wielding Jason Voorhees slashed his way to horror icon status thanks to the enduring popularity of the Friday the 13th series. First launched in 1980, the slasher franchise spanned nearly three decades - the last iteration premiered in theaters in 2009 - and included 12 films, one of which featured a crossover with fellow '80s horror series A Nightmare on Elm Street. Last we heard about the progress of Paramount Pictures' film franchise, a planned reboot was receiving a new script from Nick Antosca (Teen Wolf).
However, early in 2014 a report stated Sean S. Cunningham, co-writer and director of the original Friday the 13th, was executive producing an hour-long TV drama based on "eclectic characters" surrounding Crystal Lake. Now, while the movie side of the horror franchise is waiting for a fresh script, The CW is moving forward with the aforementioned television series.
Deadline is reporting CW president Mark Pedowitz confirmed the network is developing a TV adaptation of Friday the 13th, written by Steve Mitchell and Craig Van Sickle (The Pretender, Tin Man). The writing duo is replacing Bill Basso (Terminator) and Jordu Schell (Avatar) as writers, who were developing a storyline with Jason in multiple time periods.
Instead, The CW's series is described as "a sophisticated horror/crime thriller" with "a stronger feel of grounded reality." Additionally, the show will follow "the ongoing quest of a detective’s search for his missing brother that is somehow tied to Jason Voorhees, a long thought dead serial killer who has now returned to wreak havoc in the new Crystal Lake."
This planned CW Friday the 13th series joins fellow in-development adaptations of already established material, like The Notebook and Little Women. Additionally, the network acquired a drama series based on Archie Comics, titled Riverdale, which was first in the works at FOX. As Pedowitz said during The CW's panel at the Television Critics Association presentation, “I’m a big believer in titles and franchises. It makes them break out of the pack in some ways.”
The CW's Friday the 13th series sounds, at first, very similar to MTV's adaptation of the '90s slasher flick Scream, which has seen enough success that the network granted it a second season. However, while Scream is undeniably aimed at a younger generation, almost to the point of excluding original fans, Friday the 13th will likely open up its reach to appeal to a wider audience (read: those old enough to have seen the series as it was released in theaters) given the network's push to move away from its teen-centric reputation.
That doesn't necessarily mean The CW's Friday the 13th series will satisfy fans of the original slasher flicks. But, it does indicate viewers should expect something different to Scream in terms of the show's target audience - and certainly an out-of-high school main cast since a police detective and an established version of Jason will be the focus of the series.
As for what we know of the storyline, it could lend itself to a procedural type of drama in the same vein as iZombie, with the overarching conflict of Jason Voorhees acting as a season throughline. However, we'll need to know more of the details before we can get a sense of what to fully expect from this new iteration of the hockey-masked slasher.
What do you think of Friday the 13th coming to The CW? Will you watch the series or wait for the next film installment? Let us know in the comments!
Stay tuned to Screen Rant for additional information about The CW's Friday the 13th series as it becomes available.
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