When a TV show gets canceled after only one season, it’s either because the show is great but got poor ratings… or the show is bad but got poor ratings. Both are disappointing, since it’s hard not to wish for more interesting storylines and characters who are more well-written. But even when a show’s first season is fairly mediocre but there’s still a good enough premise, the promise of a season 2 can make viewers want to keep watching and see if it gets better.
In the case of Freeform’s creepy camp series Dead of Summer, the show only aired for one 10 episode season, but there’s a lot to love about the show. Even though it isn’t talked about as one of the best teen TV shows, or one of the best scary shows, it’s ultimately an entertaining experience and should get more attention. Dead of Summer is definitely worth watching.
Ian Goldberg, Edward Kitsis, and Adam Horowitz created Dead of Summer, which aired for one season on Freeform from June to August 2016. The show can be considered one of the best teen TV horror shows, although it’s definitely underrated. Horowitz and Kitsis created Once Upon A Time. The show follows Deb Carpenter (Elizabeth Mitchell), who runs Camp Stillwater, and Amy Hughes (Elizabeth Lail), a new counselor who discovers that something strange is going on at this camp. Each episode follows Amy getting more and more involved with the mystery of this place, along with flashbacks sharing backstory on the rest of the characters. There’s a huge secret about Amy that makes the whole season worth watching.
The other cast members include Zelda Williams (playing Drew Reeves), Paulina Singer (playing Jessie Tyler), Ronen Rubinstein (playing Alex Powell), Alberto Frezza (Deputy Garrett Sykes), Mark Indelicato (playing Blair Ramos), Eli Goree (playing Joel Goodson), and Amber Comey (playing Carolina Diaz).
Both Amy and Deb have dark secrets, which makes them both compelling characters to watch, like some of the best horror movie main characters. Amy experienced a tragedy when her best friend Margot fell and died, which still haunts Amy, something that she carries with her to the camp. Deb also lost someone: the love of her life. Episode 6, “The Dharma Burns,” is a stand-out, as it seems like Deb has seen her ex-boyfriend Keith (Dylan Neal) again. The two reconnect, sharing memories of when they met at Camp Stillwater many years earlier. But then viewers learn that Keith is a ghost and that he died, which was the most heartbreaking thing to happen to Deb. Watching Deb and Keith is like a great horror movie love story as it’s clear that they really cared about each other and were meant to be together.
Some might watch Dead of Summer and say that it’s too corny and that it’s not as good as some other series about teenagers. But the show’s campy nature (no pun intended) is what makes it such a fun ride. The show is set in 1989, which instantly reminds viewers of ’90s teen shows. The camp setting also works immediately, as the group of counselors are going to be living with each other for a few months. This means that they’ll get to know each other, all of the good and all of the bad.
The show’s first and only season has 10 episodes and the structure of the entire season is well-done. The pilot episode includes a death, which sets up Camp Stillwater as a creepy place, suggesting that there’s a killer among the counselors. While there are many plot twists that don’t make any sense, the ending of Dead of Summer works, with the evils of Camp Stillwater becoming apparent.
Elizabeth Lail is best known for starring in season 1 of you as Beck, and while season 3 of you is great, there was something particularly special about the first season. Watching Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) fall for Beck is definitely a creepy, toxic, and memorable experience. Lail also played the main character Quinn Harris in countdown, a 2019 horror movie about a killer app. Lail gives a haunting performance in Dead of Summeras Amy seems sweet and innocent but ends up being much darker than she seems.
sorry, Dead of Summer didn’t get much love in the summer of 2016. The “Critics Consensus” on Rotten Tomatoes says that it’s not a scary show and many critics said that it’s cliched and not original. In November 2016, Freeform canceled the series. according to The Hollywood Reporterthe pilot had 630,000 viewers and the final had 410,000 viewers.
while Dead of Summer might not have the best reviews, the 10-episode series is still an enjoyable look at a creepy summer camp and will make horror and thriller fans happy.
NEXT: 5 Underrated Teen Horror Movies