Dead of Summer and Guilt Get the Freeform Axe

ZELDA WILLIAMS, MARK INDELICATO, PAULINA SINGER, ELIZABETH LAIL, RONEN RUBINSTEIN, ELI GOREE, ELIZABETH MITCHELL

According to SFGate, Freeform have given Dead of Summer and Guilt the axe after one season.  While ABC, according to Variety have cut down their order for Conviction and Notorious.

Rather interestingly, Freeform waited well beyond the normal time frame to make up their minds about three series up for renewal. Stitchers was kept hanging on the fence for ages while the network dithered about. It seemed they had their hopes set on Dead of Summer being their answer to MTV’s Scream.

Guilt, the Amanda Knox styled thriller set in England never really took off for a number of reasons. While Dead of Summer took too long to catch fire. The latter series crept along and never really made the most of the two “names” attached to it. Horror icon Tony Todd and Elizabeth Mitchell were little more than add-ons in the juvenile heavy cast.

ABC, after deciding to axe Hayley Atwell’s Agent Carter have shown little enthusiasm for the English actress’s next project, Conviction. Variety reports that the initial 13 episode run has been cut down to 10 with no chance of a back nine being ordered.

That networks other starter, Notorious has not had any more episodes ordered and the series numbers seem to indicate that Piper Perabo may face a similar fate to Atwell.

ABC are said to be “keeping their options open,” but the reduction of episodes for the Atwell vehicle is a clear sign that the network have lost faith in the show.

Conviction starred Atwell as a former “first daughter” who breaks as many laws as she upholds. She is blackmailed into working cases that may have resulted in miscarriages of justice.  While Hayley’s American accent was passable, the storylines were a tad humdrum.

Notorious is based on the real life relationship between criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos and the award-winning cable newsproducer Wendy Walker.

Neither of these shows caught the eye of the audience and while ABC have not officially announced the show’s cancelations it is good bet they are both going to go.

Freeform’s reluctance to renew Stitchers (A show where a group of 20 something specialists help Kirsten Clark “stitch” into the minds of the recently deceased.) seems to indicate a reluctance to stick with original shows.

The other two contenders for renewal were either influenced by real life events, Guilt, or were an attempt to jump on the small screen slasher train, although Dead of Summer used the trappings of a slasher flick and morphed the whole thing into a “ghost story.”

Freeform also cancelled Recovery Road. The network is putting all their new ratings eggs in one basket with  Pretty Little Liars producer I. Marlene King’s new series Famous in Love,  starring Bella Thorne.

The newly renamed network, Freeform was ABCFamily previously, have made a few miscalculations on what their youthful demographic will actually like.

There will be plenty of slots left to fill after these cancellations as well as a chance to fill the Switched at Birth time slot once the last season finishes in 2017.

 

Guilt: Freeform Murder Amanda Knox Style – Preview

Daisy Head

Freeform distributes some pretty excellent television ‘Stitchers’ and ‘Shadowhunters’ to name but two. Now they are bringing out a murder mystery, titled ‘Guilt,’ in the style of real life murder suspect Amanda Knox. Knox was the American student caught up in a turgid sex tinged murder case in Italy back in 2007.

Knox, who was convicted twice and whose convictions were overturned twice, had a good friend murdered and Amanda and her Italian boyfriend were the main suspects.  The case made headline news as recently as 2015.

‘Guilt’ is set in London rather than Italy and the American student’s boyfriend is French rather than Italian.  Anthony Head plays Grace Atwood’s  stepfather James (Grace is portrayed by  Head’s  real-life daughter Daisy).   He is a ruthless business man who travels the globe for his business and prefers his lovers to be the same age as his student stepchild.

Emily Tremaine plays big sister Natalie who is an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney who hates   James. Billy Zane  is the ex-pat lawyer who James hires to keep Daisy out of prison. New Scotland Yard are investigating and Daisy is her own worst enemy in terms of publicity.  

Zane is egotistical, eccentric and fun as the flamboyant lawyer who costs big bucks to hire and his character is destined to be disliked by Natalie on sight.

‘Guilt’ looks interesting. (How can it not with the obvious Amanda Knox influence?) The only issue with the series thus far is that it is an Americanized “watered-down” version of England.  For example, in one scene, the police officer  “on-scene”  tells the DSI that one of the suspects is a foreigner (French) and the other is American. This would not be the case. In reality both would be classed as foreign and Head’s character referred to as a “Yank.”

Unlike the Netflix series ‘River‘ which was English as afternoon tea and scones, ‘Guilt’ is set in an England that  the rest of the world sees. There is a royal family connection, a prince with a made up name,  a sex club and  prostitution.  Like many other productions set in the country made by foreigners, there are far too many red phone boxes.  (They were discontinued/retired with only a few left in “historical” areas for the tourists.)

This show is not doing anything different from other shows based in England (‘Guilt’ is shot in the UK actually) it seems that producers fear that  without the iconic phone boxes the viewer will never really believe that the show is set in England.

Being set overseas  the mystery of who killed Molly will be dealing with a “foreign” legal system (One that does not have the death penalty for a start.) with procedures and rules that are slightly different from the US. (And in some ways wildly different, check out their version of Miranda rights.)

There are a number of familiar English actors in the show: Anthony Head and Daisy Head, Robbie Gee, Naomi Ryan, Cristian Solimeno and Irish actor Kevin Ryan. The American contingent consists of Zane and Tremaine. The acting is top notch.

The clubbing scene in London  is presented quite well and the set design is pretty impressive as well. At the start each wall in the shared flat has wallpaper on it.  The slang is also pretty spot on: Tossers and bugger all, being just two examples that represent how real people talk in England.

There is a “50 Shades” thing going on with a BDSM club for those with a full bank account, or the fictional prince, or even James the stepdad.  The action is  centered in London and features some events that are clearly fictionalized (the public speaking ceremony at the memorial of Molly rings rather false).

Watching the two episodes on offer at the moment, the story grabs you and keeps the interest up.  Something to look forward to in June when it airs on Freeform, ‘Guilt’ may not be as down and dirty as ‘River’ but it does promise to deliver in terms of entertainment and mystery.

Worth a look, or two (that second episode cliff-hanger ending is to die for) so mark it on the calendar, June 13 on Freeform.