There was a time 10 years ago when I was a huge M. Night Shyamalan fan. I loved a lot of his earlier work – Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and Signs were all great movies and I even enjoyed The Village, which although had a bland plot twist and some cringe-worthy dialogue, still offered a nice premise and was entertaining. Since then though, he has being on a long downward spiral directing movies that were either bland or downright disappointing. His latest offering, The Visit, promised some return to form, but was still not near the heights of those earlier movies. To be fair, his direction was never the issue, but his writing has been letting him down, along with a reliance on plot twists that became all too predictable.
However, Shyamalan has also been spending some time in producing TV spots recently, starting with his Fox mystery series Wayward Pines, which was quite successful. And he’s staying in TV-land as he is now being pegged to pilot a reboot of Tales From the Crypt for US broadcasting network TNT, as reported in Variety.
I never watched the original series, which broadcast on HBO for seven seasons starting in 1989, but the premise was similar to The Twilight Zone and Outer Limits, two series which I loved once I was old enough to view them. The original Tales From the Crypt had each episode being introduced by a skeletal puppet known as the Crypt Keeper and was known for pushing the boundaries of violence and sexuality along with its storytelling.
The premise for the series is an interesting one with TNT president Kevin Really stating:
“We’re going to put a variety of different genre shows, some of which may have a weird sense of humor, some of which may be actually downright frightening, some of which may be a unique blend of genres, but all united under the ‘Tales From the Crypt’ brand. Night is definitely going to direct, most likely the first one, and we’ll see how that evolves.”
So expect several different genres to be encompassed in this bigger brand, with episodes running for around an hour each, though more series within the brand will be “unlocked” in the coming months. However, TNT is not looking to officially reboot the HBO version, but will rather be basing their stories on William Gaines’s original EC Comics of the same name, along with creating new stories in the franchise.
Shyamalan will be executive producing as well as likely writing and directing the pilot for the series and he is a talented enough director to make the pilot for this work. If they can build a good team of writers and directors to support him, it can be a huge success for TNT. In a statement showing his love for the series he said:
“…to be part of such a beloved brand like ‘Tales from the Crypt,’ something I grew up watching, and to also have the chance to push the boundaries of genre television as a whole, is an inspiring opportunity that I can’t wait to dive into.”
I don’t watch a lot of TV anymore (close to none outside of sports) and probably won’t get to see this, but I do hope it lives up to its potential. Expect some scares, some fun and probably a lot of plot twists. Don’t say you didn’t see them coming.
In addition to Shyamalan and his partner at Binding Edge Pictures, Ashwin Rajan, James D. Stern is executive-producing Tales from the Crypt with his company Endgame Entertainment, along with Aloris Entertainment’s John Santilli and Dan McKinnon. The new TNT horror block is due to premiere in the fall season of the US, so likely around Spring 2016 for us in South Africa.
Last Updated: January 8, 2016