We’re only a few days into 2016, but the trend of rebooting old television shows continues. This time it’s HBO’s beloved horror anthology series, Tales from the Crypt, that’s returning from the dead. Per Variety, TNT is bringing the show back this fall as part of a two-hour block of genre programming, and it’s being overseen by M. Night Shyamalan.
There are four other unidentified shows currently at various stages of inclusion, but the new Crypt will be based on the original EC Comics’ while also featuring some newly-written stories. “It will not be based on the long-running HBO series,” says Variety’s piece, but that seems fairly obvious right? It does raise questions though as to what the new show will look like.
The new episodes will run an hour each, but it’s not entirely clear if they’ll follow the expected anthology format with each episode being a standalone. That will most likely be the case, but there’s also the possibility of a more serialized structure with a story that carries beyond a single episode. More on that possibility below.
The other big question is will they also feature intros and outros from the Crypt Keeper? TNT’s not saying just yet, but I’d argue he’s iconic enough to be a mandatory element of the series. The character was part of the original comics and is just as necessary to the show as the blackly-comic tone and third-act comeuppances. But am I the only one who can take or leave more of John Kassir’s vocal stylings as the Crypt Keeper?
There’s nothing official on the matter yet, but Bloody Disgusting is quoting an anonymous insider who says the puppet won’t be returning. Instead, says the source, TNT is going with a human character as HBO retains the rights to the Kassir-voiced hand ghoul. “The new show will be highlighted by an old man with a cane, wearing a hood, and keeping warm by a fireplace.” So, if true, that can go either way.
Their source goes on to suggest that the original idea – and possibly the current idea – was to tell one story across the entire season. Worse, it would be an original tale from the writers of Hemlock Grove and focused on voodoo in New Orleans. We’ll know soon enough, but I’m not buying any of this. Hollywood isn’t above dumb ideas, but there’s nothing in this that sounds remotely like Tales from the Crypt. Maybe this was tossed around as a possible film idea and then abandoned?
HBO’s series ran for seven seasons, and Shyamalan is stepping into some big shoes. The previous incarnation was produced and shepherded by the likes of Richard Donner, Walter Hill, Joel Silver, Robert Zemeckis, and more, and big genre names sat in the director’s chair as well including Tom Holland, Stephen Hopkins, Kevin Yagher, Mary Lambert,Fred Dekker, Jack Sholder, William Friedkin, John Frankenheimer, Mick Garris, Donner, Hill, and Zemeckis. A handful of no-names directed episodes too including Tom Hanks, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Michael J. Fox.
Shyamalan will reportedly be directing the first episode of the new series, but his hands-on involvement after that is unknown. This will be his second foray into television – he produced last year’s Wayward Pines on Fox where he also directed the first episode.
Genre TV is big business now with shows like The Walking Dead and American Horror Story attracting large audiences, but it’s but a while since an anthology series was able to claim the same. Two other past anthology hits have toyed with reboots recently – the CW produced a Tales from the Darkside pilot before dropping it, and NBC is moving forward on an Amazing Stories revival with Hannibal’s Bryan Fuller. TNT seems serious about creating this two-hour genre block though, and we’re cautiously optimistic that we might soon have something new to fill up our DVRs.