Not all book-to-TV adaptations have the luxury of half a dozen volumes of source material to draw upon (thank you, George R.R. Martin!). So when Netflix’s horror thriller about a small town overrun by monsters burned through Brian McGreevy’s 2012 book in a single season, exec producer Eli Roth took a novel approach to injecting new life into the series: He blew it up. Here’s how.
1. Hire A New Showrunner
Charles H. ”Chic” Eglee, whose producing credits include The Walking Dead and The Shield, was brought in to pick up where the old team left off — spearheading a rebirth of sorts. ”We needed someone to come in with fresh blood, so to speak, and have a really interesting take from the outside of where we could take the show,” Roth explains. ”We just loved his ideas.”
2. Assemble A Writers’ Room
Eglee’s first task was to enlist a new group of storytellers. (Season 1 was written almost entirely by the exec producers.) ”This was a show that was already up and running, and the pickup was very late, so we had to sort of envision and dream the season together in very short order,” says Eglee, who recruited from the ranks of Nurse Jackie and House.
3. Keep What Works
”Everybody did a really nice job setting the table with the characters. There were some wonderful actors there,” Eglee says of season 1. So despite the seemingly dire events of the finale, familiar faces such as Famke Janssen’s Olivia and Madeleine Martin’s Shelley will return for encores. But don’t fret about continuity: ”We’re meticulous about mythology and rules,” Roth promises of the resurrections.
4. Up The Effects Ante
”The whole idea of season 2 is that you have to top season 1,” Roth says. With the effects team earning an Emmy nomination last year for Peter’s (Landon Liboiron) blood-drenched transformation from man into beast, watch for an even hairier sequence to kick off season 2.
5. Welcome New Neighbors
Of course, some deaths (such as Penelope Mitchell’s Letha) will stick, so new residents will move in to populate the not-so-sleepy hamlet. Enter Orange Is the New Black actress Madeline Brewer, who plays the enigmatic Miranda. ”The circumstances of her arrival are kind of suspect,” says Eglee. ”She just finds herself stranded in this place.” Adds Roth, “We wanted to have a love interest for the boys to fight over.”
6. Make The Big Bad Even Badder
”[This season] the killer is faceless. It’s something that kills in such a strange, different way,” Roth says. ”There are multiple monsters within the town and evil forces at work — intertwining and colliding — that you can’t see coming.”