Are you missing your creepy ’80s horror genre thanks to Season 1 of Stranger Things being over already? Well, SyFy is set to help fill that void with their latest offering, Channel Zero.
Channel Zero is set in 1988 and the creep factor is brought to the audience not via the Upside Down or messages in Christmas lights, but by a children’s television program. This program, Candle Cove, is the topic of the very first episode and the official synopsis for Channel Zero can be found below.
“Candle Cove centers on one man’s obsessive recollections of a mysterious children’s television program from the 1980’s, and his ever-growing suspicions about the role it might have played in a series of nightmarish and deadly events from his childhood.”
Season 1 of Channel Zero is an anthology. The reemergence of anthologies in TV series is thanks to successful shows such as FX’s American Horror Story franchise and Channel Four’s Black Mirror (which is now commissioned for Netflix). Aside from being an anthology, it also falls into the “creepypasta” genre as HitFX points out. Creepypasta is a term coined to describe those digital urban legends that abound on the internet. If you have ever heard of Slenderman, you have witnessed creepypasta firsthand.
Candle Cove is a creepypasta story that was developed by webcartoonist Kris Straub via a message board forum post referencing this fictional TV series. The premise is that Candle Cove is a kid’s TV show that was only ever seen by a small group of children and linked to the murders of several of them. Channel Zero will return to this original story as the sinister pirate puppet show within Candle Cove starts reappearing on television sets. Vulture explains that Season 1 of Channel Zero links back to the older murders via “Mike Painter (Paul Schneider), a child psychologist who returns home to Iron Hill for the first time in years and becomes consumed by memories of his twin brother, Eddie, who went missing during those odd events in ’88.”
You can view the official teaser video for Channel Zero below.
As yet, the official reviews for Channel Zero have been mixed. i09 loved the slow burn and indie film-like quality to Channel Zero.
“It’s gorgeously shot, slower-paced, and has an unsettling quiet to it, punctuated when needed by a delicately chilling soundscape,” i09 explained in their review. “It’s also got a deeply creepy quality; you’re never quite sure if Mike’s frequent flashbacks, or even what he’s seeing in the present day, are entirely in line with reality.”
However, A.V. Club calls it a “handsome disappointment” in their review of Channel Zero. Even though they found it disappointing, they were still impressed with the visual impact of the show, just like i09 were. However, after a few episodes of the show, they decided there was “too much static in this story to sustain its tension.”
Television viewers, however, will be able to make their minds up soon enough with the six-part first season airing tonight on SyFy. And, according to Channel Zero‘s showrunner, Nick Antosca, the writer of the original Candle Cove creepypasta, Kris Straub, is happy with Syfy’s development of his short story into the full-length series.
“I wrote the pilot and sent it to him, and before we moved forward, he gave it a thumbs up, and then we just stayed in touch with him throughout the writer’s room process, and I’ve never met him in person,” Antosca told HitFX. “To me he’s this sort of mysterious figure who communicates with me by text and e-mail and Facebook. There’s a slight question to whether it’s really Kris or some kind of … mysterious figure.”
SyFy has already announced Channel Zero will return for a second season. Channel Zero stars Paul Schneider, Fiona Shaw, and Shaun Benson. It is directed by Craig William Macneill. Showrunner, Nick Antosca, wrote the pilot and acts as executive producer alongside Max Landis.
Are you looking forward to Channel Zero? What is your favorite creepypasta story? Let us know by commenting below.
Channel Zero premieres on Syfy on Tuesday, October 11, at 9 p.m. ET.
[Featured Image by SyFy]