Station Control
New Supernatural Shows

by Benjamin Carr

The Latest DVD, Blu Ray & VOD Releases

Ghosts and darkness haunt a good many recent TV revivals and retellings. Though arguably none cast as dark a shadow as Roseanne Barr's Twitter comments over The Conners; horror, shock, murder and terror are in abundance in new programming.

This stunning, great series from horror director Mike Flanagan (Gerald's Game) takes the bones of the classic Shirley Jackson novel and creates an entirely new monster out of it. Instead of a group of diverse, troubled paranormal investigators coming to research a haunted house, as shown in two previous movie adaptations, we now get the characters as the eclectic, damaged Crain family - who came to renovate and flip the mansion in the 1990s. Instead, the psychological torments and ghosts of Hill House cause them years of torture and dysfunction. With an ensemble led by Game of Thrones star Michiel Huisman, Carla Gugino and Oscar winner Timothy Hutton, this series blends a wonderful, layered family drama with dark, terrifying scares. Filmed in Atlanta, this is must-see.

The teenage witch of Archie Comics fame returns to TV in this new series from Riverdale creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who creates a darker, twisted hourlong teen saga instead of a silly, half-hour sitcom. The results are far bloodier and more compelling. Mad Men star Kiernan Shipka now stars as Sabrina Spellman, a half-witch half-human girl raised by her two aunts in Greendale. Sabrina, like Buffy the Vampire Slayer before her, faces down the challenges of a secret identity, supernatural threats and growing up different. The resulting show is fun. Shipka is a charming actress, and her co-stars Ross Lynch, Lucy Punch and Miranda Otto provide strong support and compelling characters. The show is unpredictable and strange, like Riverdale before it, but its quirks are its greatest strength. As an added plus, Sabrina is so much better than the weak, hokey Charmed reboot now on CW.

HEATHERS (Paramount Network)
After months of delays spurred by actual school violence, the Paramount Network - formerly Spike TV - has made available all of this reimagined version of the 1989 black comedy that starred Winona Ryder and Christian Slater. Though ten episodes were made, now nine of them are airing. The show remakes its trio of popular, pretty girls who rule high school with an iron fist into a culturally diverse, open-minded, sexually fluid and politically correct group of teens who still manage to make high school a living hell for one another. Nice touches echo back to the original movie, and the murders and suicides still add a level of pitch black darkness to the proceedings. But this feels very different and, in fact, a little safer than the original material. Still, it was a daring idea, and the young cast is great and deserves attention - particularly Melanie Field's plus-sized bully version Heather Chandler. And kudos should go to the network for finally letting it see the light of day.



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