The Hub Network is introducing a new life action series this fall called “Spooksville.” The show, inspired by the popular books by young readers author Christopher Pike, tells the story of Adam, Watch and Sally. Adam, a new kid, arrives into the town and soon realizes that he holds the key to a battle ground of good and evil that has been threatening the town’s citizens for centuries. The group is caught between exploring the town and saving it from the darkness that is threatening to occur.
The series stars Keean Johnson as Adam, Katie Douglas as Sally and Nick Purcha as Watch.
Daytime TV Examiner caught up with Johnson and series executive producer Jane Startz during the Hub Network’s Summer Press Tour for a preview of the show.
On all of the characters the show creates, Startz shares, “ We have a crab pirate, then there’s Ann( played by Morgan Taylor) and she may or may not be a witch. We just shot an episode called ‘Gnome Alone.’ Garden gnomes are terrorists. I live on the set. I'm sharing the house on the set where we shoot.”
“And of some of the creatures that we have on the set,” adds Johnson, “I'm reading the script and I'm thinking how are we going to make those.”
The show promises a mix of scary creatures and villains that rivals many horror movies and TV shows.
“We have a great makeup artist and our production designer,” notes Startz. “We can take on any feature film and I would say that some of our sets are better than anything I've ever worked on. So we're really proud about that. We have a zombie episode that sort of rivals “The Walking Dead” which is Keean’s favorite show. There's a whole range of stuff that we have. It’s fun thinking them up.”
In creating scary episodes all season long, does Startz feel any pressure to create a really good Halloween episode?
“We have a great Halloween episode,” Startz said. “It’s called “That Evil House.” It's the house that is across the street from me. In the episode, Adam is the only one who wants to go out on Halloween. The other two are like, ‘This is Spooksville. The body count triples on Halloween.’ …so [Adam] wants to do one more house. It’s an abandoned house. They see this kid, a little boy go into to it. So Adam’s character, he's very heroic…he sort of feels the need to help people and solve problems. They go in and find out the kid has captured all these people that are now adults. They were kids but now they've morphed into their Halloween costumes and they have to try to figure out how to remove them. It's really good.
The series is tentatively planned for two season with 11 episodes for the first season and another 11 for the second. Startz said they planned a complete story arc before production began but wouldn't really say if the audience would find out if the character Ann is a witch during the season arcs.
“You’ll see,” Startz teases. “It's ambiguous. She certainly from a family of witches and she's certainly is being taught sorcery.”
“If it helps at all,” Johnson adds, “I still don't know if Ann is a witch or not and I've filming for 5 months and there still twists and turns that keep you wondering if she actually is.”
“She's a really interesting character,” said Startz. “She's very likeable… she can be very generous, but she can also be very furious and mean. She hates Sally. She and Sally are arch rivals. We're having a lot of fun with that.”
When asked about if Adam’s mother will be missing like in the books, both Johnson and Startz didn’t want to give anything away. Johnson notes that she is talked about and Startz adds, “She may or may not make an appearance, and it may not be her.”
Based on Johnson’s singing and dancing abilities from his turn on Broadway in Billy Elliot, will the show take advantage of his talent and add some big music episodes with lots of dancing?
“I keep pushing it, but he hasn't responded,” jokes Startz. “But Keean’s been reluctant. All the kids play the guitar; all three of them are great musicians. Keean sings, he has an incredible voice.”
When asked why he wasn’t wanted to do it, the actor responds that he doesn’t know why.
“He has been doing his own stunts,” Startz adds. “He’s been insisting on doing those. I tell him that he can't but he manages to slip them in.”
For more on the series, visit the Hub Network's website for updates at Hubworld.com
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