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Having just released its fourth film into theaters on the Fourth of July, the Purge franchise is far more alive and well than many of the films' villains are by the time the credits roll. It'll soon expand to television for USA's The Purge series, which will introduce a brand new group of characters and troublesome situations. When CinemaBlend visited the set earlier this year, showrunner Tom Kelly talked about diving into the horror genre for the first time, and how the TV show will differentiate itself from the movies.
Tom Kelly hit the nail right on the head there. As fun as the Purge flicks can be on a conceptual level, character development is probably the element that could use the most work overall. But that's not the easiest thing to do for a film that only focuses on specific intervals within a 12-hour time frame, as well as when there are lots of genre-based stunts to showcase. For USA's The Purge, however, the creative team had five or six movies' worth of screentime to play around with, and a lot more main characters to focus on. And Kelly also confirmed that each episode will focus on a different character's flashback away from Purge Night festivities.
These characters won't just be scream queens and action heroes, either. We have Amanda Warren's Jane, a businesswoman who feels the need to purge for the first time in order to advance her stagnant career. For Colin Woodell's mostly moral Rick, becoming pro-Purge could finally be his ticket up the social ladder with the local elite, which causes issues with his anti-Purge wife Jenna (Hannah Emily Anderson). Gabriel Chavarria's Miguel is a U.S. Marine who returns home to find his imperiled sister Penelope, played by Jessica Garza. The point here is that these and the TV show's other characters are facing mostly relatable situations and problems that fall somewhere outside traditional horror genre set-ups, and the show will make good use of the flashbacks to build up these stories appropriately.
To that end, showrunner Tom Kelly spoke a bit about how the show will mix its genres.
Now, don't go thinking The Purge TV show is just going to be nothing but straight-faced people being serious about their life problems, eschewing all of the maniacal mayhem that makes the franchise so popular with filmgoers. Tom Kelly assured us that even beyond the more intense and horrific sequences tied to the main plot, every episode will have a selection of moments and scenes that are fairly exclusive to the Purge franchise, such as the randomly ridiculous violence happening in the backgrounds of exterior shots.
While this isn't about being the same or being different, Tom Kelly did talk about how the film franchise's existence in general gives the TV show an automatic hook that opened up some leeway in other areas of the creative process, as well as how the flashbacks will be used to buffer the horror. In his words: