Stitchers Versus Dead of Summer: Why Is Freeform Hesitating?


 EMMA ISHTA

Stitchers is in renewal limbo. The Freeform show, which had its season two finale back in May this year, has yet to hear if it will have a third time up or not. In other words, season three is stuck in The Twilight Zone.  Rumor has it that the network may be favoring Dead of Summer, a bargain basement summer filler that starred Tony Todd. It is Stitchers versus Dead of Summer apparently and neither show has come one step closer to renewal.

(A source told Mike’s Film Talk that it does seem to be down to these two shows. Whether it is a question of budget or just viewing figures at this point is unclear.)

The other summer “replacement” series, Guilt did not do well at all in terms of popularity.  Although not all the figures are in, at least not publicly, (as in the +7 figures which should be crucial in deciding what shows should get a season) the initial figures are out.

They have been for some time.

Numbers for each show vary. Guilt comes in at the bottom, for a first season finish of .331 of million views. Pretty abysmal by any standards.  Dead of Summer pulls into first place with .459. Having Pretty Little Liars as a lead-in obviously helped a lot.

Stitchers, which had a first season finish of .823 was a shoe in for renewal. However, having their time slot moved for season two and suffering from almost nonexistent marketing and publicity hurt the show second time around. They finished with .387 at the end of the season.

It seems though  that when ABC Family decided to change their name,  aiming  for an even younger demographic,  to Freeform, they also dropped any loyalty to Stitchers. A show with a unique storyline, great writers, an excellent cast and not one tired trope to be found

Let us look at each contender, Dead of Summer versus Stitchers. (Guilt surely cannot be a contender here at all, so that series will be treated as a “one-shot wonder.”)

Tony Todd
Dead of Summer, Tony Todd as Holyoke

 

Dead of Summer:

CAST:

Synopsis:

A group of late teen/20 something counselors fight off an evil entity haunting a local camping ground.  Deb Carpenter runs the summer camp for kids and has no idea the place is under an evil spell.

The Series:

The setting, a summer camp for city kids, was initially  evocative of cult classics like Sleepaway Camp, and the franchise that the 1983 film spawned, and countless slasher films, like Friday the 13th. It came as a surprise when the creators opted not to enter “homage” land (like the MTV Scream series) and deliver something boringly different.

While using the some of the same old familiar tropes from every “Camp Slasher” ever made, they disregarded many genre “rules.” As a result Dead of Summer  came across as neither fish nor fowl. Using a hodgepodge of horror cliches the series ambled with all the speed of a sloth towards its season finale.

The last episode had a lot going on, but it felt convoluted.  By the time the finale aired the best thing about the series had been “killed” off; Holyoke, aka Tony Todd. Although the horror icon had little to say for most of the season.

Elizabeth Mitchell was the other “name”  associated with the show, and like Todd, she also got very little screen time. Her death in the series was not earth shattering, Deb (Mitchell) was not around enough to get really attached to.

The FX were, in some cases, abysmal. That clearly fake head of Blotter’s  was so clearly not real that it was beyond laughable.  DoS was not a horrible series but not good enough to hold off any other shows on offer.

RITESH RAJAN, DAMON DAYOUB, EMMA ISHTA, KYLE HARRIS
The Stitchers team.

Stitchers:

Cast:

Synopsis:

A highly intelligent young lady with Temporal Dysplasia is able to be “stitched” into freshly dead people’s memories. She works for the NSA with a few other smart young men and women. The operation is spearheaded by Maggie, the mother figure of the group.

As they solve crimes and fine tune the program, the young lady searches for her father who may not be a very nice man. Along the way the team face many obstacles.  Not least of which, are the intrusions of the program into their private lives and vice versa.

The Series:

The second season followed Kirsten Clark (Ishta) as her “condition” appears to be cured and she intensifies the search for her missing father. All the characters from the first season have returned, with the exception of the shady head of the program Les Turner. (Turner was played brilliantly by Oded Fehr.)

Season two was darker and allowed the cast to grow. The events of season one  bonded the team and in some ways made them all see life differently. The character arcs were logical, even if some of them were surprising, and the second season flowed nicely.

The writing for this iteration of  Stitchers was still original, clever and chock full of pop culture references. (Something that was initiated in season one.)

As each mystery was uncovered many more questions were raised about who was really a friend and who was not. The theme of family intensified from season one and the romance between  Kirsten and Cameron seemed to be heading to some sort of conclusion.

There are no real special FX apart from the CG that makes up the “stitch” and these are convincing. Out of two seasons there has not been one dodgy effect.

Conclusion:

Clearly the budgets for both shows are pretty low. Stitchers has the advantage over DoS as they have an existing set. Although clearly the horror series did a lot of location shooting with some studio work for the interiors.

What seems to be happening here is that Freeform have, for whatever reason, started treating Stitchers like a “red-headed stepchild.” When they brought the show back for another season they changed their slot and turned their back on marketing the show.

The end result being a final set of ratings that hurt. The show is still popular, there a number of petitions from fans who desperately want to see more of the show.

To date well over 11,000 fans have signed two petitions asking that the show be brought back.

It could be that Freeform have sabotaged Stitchers in order to veer away from an original and clever series. They appear to favor the idea of a horror theme. Like American Horror Story, Scream, and Stranger Things although the first instance has an older fanbase.

Stitchers has so much to offer. Science fiction, romance, drama, mystery and a few thrills and spills along the way.  Dead of Summer was a plodding bit of horror that could have been so much better than it actually was. The show had a little gore, that was sometimes impressive, and it had the brilliant Tony Todd, whom they then killed off.

So what do you think? Which series do you think should return for another season. Personally, we here at Mike’s Film Talk vote all the way for Stitchers to return.

Let us know in the comments below which show you would prefer to see continue. Will it be Dead of Summer or Stitchers?  Show Freeform and the cast as well as the creators of each show who you want back for anther go.

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, http://MikesFilmTalk.com Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

8 thoughts on “Stitchers Versus Dead of Summer: Why Is Freeform Hesitating?”

  1. I like both shows, but if you could only choose one to bring back. Then it would have to be Stitchers all the way. This is truly one of the best shows of the past 10 years and beyond. I want both shows renewed but Stitchers is the one to keep if there has to be a choice.

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  2. i never watched stichers, but i did dead of summer. the whole satanist thing i thought was stupid, and how a demon could be trapped in a lake? if season 2 happens, they’ll go back to 1970 to when deb was a counselor and see what she knew about the satanist group back then which could be interesting.

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  3. Stitchers needs to be Renewed for Season 3 and more please will never live without this show going off TV please I LOVE THIS SHOW I LOVE THE CHARACTERS I LOVE THE SCI-FI I LOVE THE MYSTERY I EVEN LOVE THE MYSTERY’S!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  4. Stitchers! They need to save Stitchers! The show is fantastic and is one of my can’t miss shows. And it’s one of those rare shows where I like ALL of the main players. They all have such good dynamics with eachother and you can pair them off in scenes together and it always works. The show is fun, interesting, and I love that it still manages to feel light inspite the drama that goes on. The network is missing out on a great series if they don’t decide to renew it.

    I’ll never understand when networks give a show a crappy timeslot, then are suddenly confused why viewership went down. *Facepalm* They moved Stitchers to 10PM, during the school year mind you, with little promotion and no lead in after episode 3. Did they really expect for them to pull the same kind of numbers? I’ve had this crap happen to far too many shows. Stitchers needs a season 3!

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