One thing that immediately stands out to us about NBC’s new summer series, “Midnight, Texas,” is the attention to detail. The show features a surprising variety of special effects and genre nods that quickly put “Midnight” in a special category all its own.
Aside from that, the program (adapted from Charlaine Harris’s popular novels) feels very rooted in a classic horror world — pulling influences from a variety of genre films that came before it. From the campy monster movies of the ’50s, to the likes of Clive Barker’s 1990 film “Nightbreed” — adapted from his short story, “Cabal.”
Executive producer Monica Owusu-Breen, was quick to jump on Clive Barker’s influence on “Midnight, Texas,” telling Screener: “I made that connection a little bit in my head when I read the books. A community of monsters, what’s better than that?”
We spoke with Breen about NBC’s new genre series at Saturday’s (April 1) Wondercon — her passion for horror and genre really comes through, and gives us further insight on “Midnight, Texas” and its sensibilities, and how it came to life.
One of the things that stand out after watching the pilot is the show’s special effects — and there are a lot. Was there a challenge in going this effects-heavy on a new primetime series for network?
It’s funny, because NBC has been insanely supportive. I keep waiting for them to say, You can’t do that! And they never say it. So I think they’re just embracing this crazy world of misfits and freaks who just found a home. One of the things this world lets you do is balance out the darkness. At its core, there’s a community of people who have each others’ backs and that’s kind of the old-fashioned American story: A town in the west that will rally to support one another. So there’s kind of this gentle heart, but it’s got all the crazy bells and whistles of genre.
There are a lot of influences in ‘Midnight, Texas’ horror fans will recognize — was it important in the creation process to make this world feel unique but also familiar?
I think it’s a testament to the pilot director, Niels Oplev, who just had this visual sense that created the template for the rest of our show: It’s beautiful, weird, wacky… Sometimes it’s “Beetlejuice”-y, sometimes it’s a horror movie, sometimes it’s early Peter Jackson… One of the nice things about Harris’s] world is… I describe it as everything I love in a blender — so we just go for it, on all fronts!
Charlaine Harris wrote a total of three ‘Midnight’ books — is there a blueprint for how many seasons you’d like the series to run?
I feel like with television, it can go one season, and it can go 20 seasons… But you need a world you want to write, and can build a story from… Even once we exhaust the books, [we’d have] these characters, and this world. So for me part of the draw was: I don’t see an end! I can see this going forever, and I can see new people coming to Midnight. We don’t have zombies yet… There are endless stories.
“Midnight, Texas” premieres Tuesday, July, 25, on NBC.