The newest hit is here! Dead of Summer Season 1 Episode 1 premiered with seven teenagers heading off to Camp Stillwater for the summer. But little do they know how terrifying their summer is going to be when spirits begin to reveal themselves around Stillwater's campus.
Who stood out? Is this series worth watching? Join TV Fanatics Carissa Pavlica, Allison Nichols, Yana Grebenyuk, Caralynn Lippo, and Jay Ruymann as they discuss the secrets that the campers, and the camp, are hiding.
What is your first impression of the series?
Carissa: I like it. It's right up my alley. A bit of everything. My preference would be to have more nuances to the characters, but we really are all cliches, I suppose. I really grew up in the 80s, so feel free to ask me about life in the olden days. No, it most likely isn't painted with the brush you imagine.
Allison: I'm enjoying it as well. I like the supernatural/horror vibe. I'm excited to see what goes on at Camp Stillwater. It being set in the 80s actually makes me really excited mainly because there aren't any cell phones. No one will pull out their phone to use as a flashlight when they are walking through the woods. No one can ignore everyone else by texting or being on social media.
Yana: I liked it even before I saw the premiere episode. It's an interesting new vibe for FreeForm and I like that the setting isn't present time. It seems more genuine because of it. Plus I am always a fan of slasher/horror in the woods, it's more isolated and harder to run away from.
Caralynn: I love horror and mystery shows, so this is right up my alley. It's a little cheesy, but that works with the '80s horror/teen movie vibe that they're going for. I also LOVE all of the late '80s tunes. Like Carissa said, the characters are cliches, but again, this is a '80s horror/teen movie cheesefest, so it's to be expected.
Jay: I went in with low expectations and was pleasantly surprised. Like my colleagues wrote, the characters are a bit cliche, but they have to be. It's a campy teen horror set in the 1980's, where times were much different than they are now. We have to relate to these characters somehow.
Stand out character of the premiere. Why?
Carissa: Sadly, Margot was the premiere stand out for me, and she didn't make it. I liked that she wasn't what was expected. Hopefully, that means the other characters won't be what they appear to be after seeing them on the premiere.
Allison: I mean Amy is the only one I feel like I know. There are just so many characters thrown at us at once. I'm interested to get to know more about these characters and their lives outside of camp.
Yana: Deputy Garrett Sykes. He didn't grow on me at first, but the drive he has to try to figure out what's going on is something I want to count on. Plus he wore plaid, which is very important. I would love to see his backstory since he is outside of Camp Stillwater but still interconnected with most of the people there.
Caralynn: I actually didn't care for Amy, the de facto stand out, all that much. The focus was definitely on her, but I didn't find anything about her particularly interesting or intriguing. She doesn't really appear to have a dark secret the way some of the other counselors seem to. Her secret is just that her friend died and she couldn't save her, which isn't really a secret. Now that I've ranted about Amy, the stand-out for me was Deb. She's an enigma and the biggest question for me after the premiere was what Deb has to do with the camp's curse and why she reopened it.
Jay: I disagree with Caralynn. Amy's dark secret seems to be the guilt of her friend's death, but she seemed plagued by much more than this one death. Why did she have to start at a new school? What other secrets does she have? There's still a lot that hasn't been explored with Amy, and the potential is great. Plus, why is she more prone to seeing the spirits at Camp Stillwater than her peers?
Which counselor are you most excited to see more of?
Carissa: At this moment, Cricket. That's because I always choose the character with whom I most identify. If I was anyone at Camp Stillwater, I'd probably be Cricket.
Allison: I'm also going to say Cricket. I need to know why she voluntarily writes slutty messages about herself on the walls. Plus, her nickname is Cricket!
Yana: Joel. The thing he has with Deb is freaking me out but I am hoping it will lead to him finding out what is wrong with her. He has good instincts and his camera could help him figure out what's going on.
Caralynn: Cricket or Drew. Both appear to have the most interesting "secrets" that might provide for the most interesting backstories.
Jay: Alex. He seems like the typical, preppy male lead, but he could be so much more than that. I'm excited to see where they go with him, and what skeletons he may have in his closet.
Do you think that piano man and the bodies in the lake are connected in the beginning flashback? Was that why he was dragged out and murdered?
Carissa: Definitely connected. It seemed to me that he probably should have died with everyone else, but somehow made himself immune to whatever magic was afoot, or else everyone else thought they were NOT going to die, and he still made himself immune. Silly cult people. I assume we'll find out at some point!
Allison: Obviously connected. I'm guessing that the lake is haunted or has some bad supernatural mojo attached to it. I feel like piano man was dragged away due to a misunderstanding because it seemed like him playing piano was the only thing keeping the bodies inside the lake.
Yana: They are connected. But I am not sure if the piano man was innocent or not. If he is, then what's happening could be his revenge for what was done to him. If not, then everything is much worse than we thought.
Caralynn: I have a sense that the man was innocent but if that's the case I have no clue how the bodies got in the lake or what the bubbling red glow was. There's definitely something ominous, supernatural, and evil at the lake, so it could be that the evil is just taking the piano man's form and that the specter appearing isn't actually the guy's ghost.
Jay: Connected, but I don't know how. I like Caralynn's theory that the real spirit haunting Stillwater is just taking the form of this man. That would certainly shake things up.
Is Deb involved in the shady curse stuff? What could she be hiding?
Carissa: I'll go out on a limb and guessing she was impacted in some way when she was a camper and had to come back to rid herself of...who knows? I don't. LOL.
Allison: I'm not sure. She voluntarily put everything she had into Camp Stillwater to get it back up and running, so unless the curse is going to bring her wealth or good fortune, I'm not sure why she would dump her life savings into a place that she knows could kill her.
Yana: She is involved in some way but I am not sure how. She is hiding something about the camp and I think maybe she is familiar with what has been happening at the Camp lately. Or maybe she was possessed by the shady curse stuff and it's not even her that we are seeing, but someone who is influencing her.
Caralynn: It certainly seems that she is involved, but that's too obvious. She knows something about the camp's dark history and wants to keep it hidden, which is why she quickly closed the blinds when Joel was pointing his camera up at her and why she dug up that box.
Jay: Her being involved is obviously the picture they're trying to paint, but I would love if her secret was that she's aware of Stillwater's curse, but she's trying to put an end to the cycle.
One main character so far that you could do without. Go.
Carissa: Joel. I'm so over the jerk with the video camera. Isn't there another way to tell a tale without someone yanking around a camera? I went out and about for decades and never once saw a male or female with a camera attached to their hand. How were stories told before the advent of handheld cameras?! Joel can only stay if someone smashes his camera.
Allison: I feel like I don't know them well enough to make a decision. I'm going to say.....Jason.
Yana: Alex. I feel like his character is something we have seen before and it's getting tiring if he is there strictly as a love interest role. He clearly has a dark past and I would like to see that, but I want it to shape who he is instead of excusing anything away
Caralynn: I'm also going to say Jason. He is the one character that we haven't gotten a whiff of a backstory for. I have a strong impression that he'll be one of the first to die, when bodies start piling up. I also don't care for Jessie as a character but I don't think she's going anywhere any time soon.
Jay: Jessie. She seems that she's purely there to perpetuate the love square between Alex/Amy/Garrett/Jessie. The resident bad girl of the group, which isn't interesting at all. What she's bringing to the table right now isn't wanted, take it back.
You can watch Dead of Summer online here at TV Fanatic, and be sure to spread the word about the show! Don't let this be another wrongly canceled Freeform victim.
Get your first look at Dead of Summer Season 1 Episode 2 and be back here right after for a full review!!
Jay Ruymann was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. He retired in January 2018.