First off, let’s get this clear right up front. As far as we know, Netflix has no plans to put out a Friday the 13th series. However, Sean Cunningham, the creator of the franchise (he directed the first film, and has held producer credits on each of the four latest installments), has apparently expressed interest.
FearNet posted a new interview with Cunningham today, which sees him talking about a new film, which is expected to go into production next year, and the development of a series called Crystal Lake Chronicles.
Cunningham is quoted as saying, “I think there will also be Friday the 13th: Crystal Lake Chronicles, which is sort of a Smallville. We’ve been on-again off-again with that for years and there are a bunch of great stories to be told, but I think the way that it’s finally going to get delivered is not through a conventional television network, but through the Internet. I can’t tell you who the delivery people will be, but it won’t be the traditional route. There’s also the possibility of webisodes, and I think we even have an idea for a terrific Friday the 13th video game.”
FearNet interviewer Scott Neumyer suggested that the series “sounds like something tailor-made for someone like Netflix.”
Cunningham’s response to that was, “Yeah, it does. It’s also more than just me saying, ‘You know, Friday the 13th would be a great series!’ We’ve got a couple of really good writers that have been working and writing. It can’t be just Jason killing someone new every week. That’s not going to make it.”
First of all, I don’t know. That concept doesn’t sound too bad. These films usually go south once they try too hard to implement a bigger story. The classic formula from the early entries in the film series work. They don’t try to be anything they’re not.
As far as the prospect of this series coming to Netflix goes, it doesn’t seem like something that would be outside of the realm of possibility.
For one, Netflix’s chief content officer just said that the company intends to double its budget for original content, and it’s hard to imagine a Friday the 13th series taking too big a chunk out of that. Such a series would also fit nicely within the strategy Netflix has laid out so far. Not only does it already have a Horror-themed series in Hemlock Grove, but Netflix takes shots on things that have built-in audiences (Arrested Development, Mako Mermaids). If anything has a built-in audience, it’s the Friday the 13th franchise. Netflix doesn’t need every one of its shows to have critical acclaim. It just needs them to have audiences.
Until recently, you could stream a number of the Friday the 13th films on Netflix, so it could also use the viewer data from that to factor into such a decision. I’m not sure what the fact that they’re not on there anymore says about popularity, but on the other hand, we’re just getting to the real time of year when they should be peaking in user interest.
Crystal Lake Chronicles wouldn’t be the first series to come with the Friday the 13th name, but it would presumably be the first one that is directly related to Crystal Lake and iconic slasher Jason Voorhees.
Come on, Netflix. You know you want in on some of that action. Just don’t pull a Freddy’s Nightmares.