The successful movie franchise looks to expand the stories, the mythology, and the context of Purge night.
If you are a fan of alternative history, unsettlingly kitschy patriotic imagery, or prolonged siren noises, then you’ll be extremely jazzed to hear that the small-screen continuation of The Purge is on its way. Deadline reports that the TV series is set to be simulcast on the USA and Syfy networks in September.
Overseen by the producing team behind the four Purge movies, including Jason Blum and film series creator James DeMonaco, the show will take place in the same fictional universe, a dystopian America where one night a year all crime (but most notably murder) is legal. Over the course of the series, viewers will follow 12 strangers whose lives intertwine when they are united on Purge night by a mysterious savior.
The trailer for the Purge TV series features all of the American flags, masked gunmen, and craziness that fans have grown to know and love. Watch it below.
Even avid Purge fans might worry that the story of The Purge has already been too exhausted to be reworked as a successful TV series. Over the course of the first movie, its two sequels, and a prequel, The Purge creators have already guided us through four different purge nights. Will viewers be willing to purge again? Can one viewing public be asked to purge this much? Maybe so, if the creators do with the TV show what they did with the movie installments: broaden out the premise.
The original Purge movie is not the hyper-political bullet-fest that subsequent installments are. Although its political themes are present from the beginning, The Purge is primarily a conventional horror story that explores the ethical dilemmas a single family faces during the course of a home invasion. The reason The Purge sequels were able to strengthen the first movie’s original idea, rather than strain it, is because they expand on this premise. Over the course of the next three films, The Purge series transitions from a horror story that explores personal moral questions to a horror-action story that explores the dilemmas of communities, cities, and the entire nation. As the explosions and onscreen gun use become more and more explicit, so do the themes of race and class warfare and government-sponsored anarchy.
Although the world of The Purge has greatly expanded over the course of four films, one area has always remained unexplored. What happens during the other 364 days of the year? How do citizens function in their day to day lives when a deadly holiday is always creeping up on the calendar? DeMonaco hinted at some answers during this year’s Syfy Comic-Con panel. He revealed that The Purge TV series, which takes place chronologically between the first and second films, will have some of its story set apart from the titular Purge night. He said:
“Time is the biggest factor on a very practical level. We had 10 hours to explore things we couldn’t even attempt to do in the movie… That gives us the real estate to get into characters more and use a flashback structure to go off Purge. Here we go back five years before the Purge, three months before the Purge, two days before the Purge. So we’ll see how this society exists within the Purge landscape.”
A successful Purge series will be one that takes the time to further explore the political themes of the films and use them as a groundwork to tell a bigger story. Setting some of the action outside of Purge night is a promising start. Blessed be The Purge writers room.