ABC is pulling out all the stops to get you interested in its new series, Happy Town. The scary mystery drama is set in Haplin, TN where there are any number of secrets to get you intrigued. The major secret is this so called Magic Man who is suspected of making many Haplin children disappear. Does he have supernatural powers, or is there some other cover-up?
“Supernatural is probably the wrong word for it,” said series producer Josh Appelbaum. “We keep referencing the Magic Man. I would say there's magic working around the town. It's really worth saying. Happy Town is much more the real world, and of course there's dark corners to all of that. There's certainly surreal moments that pop up through the show, but it's very grounded in the real world, for sure.”
The small town mysteries and secrets hearken back to the classic oddball show Twin Peaks. There’s also a bit of Castle Rock in Haplin. “I am a Stephen King fan,” said producer Scott Rosenberg. “Salem's Lot, to me, is the greatest Stephen King book by far. That was a huge book in my childhood the way Twin Peaks was to these guys. This sort of became like the stem cell schmisha of Salem's Lot and Twin Peaks really. To me, every time people say that, they're like, ‘Oh, so you're doing the Twin Peaks show?’ I'm like, ‘No, we're doing the Salem's Lot show.’ No one did better that sort of small-town, Castle Rock. That has influenced a lot.”
So there’s magic, there’s scares and there’s something else for everyone. “We were very adamant about when crafting the pilot to have entry points for all different kinds of audience members,” Appelbaum said. “If you're into the more crime procedural stuff, there's those elements in there. If you're into romance, that exists in the show. If you're into some of the more magical elements, that's there. I think there really are a ton of entry points for large audiences.”
Whatever you think of Happy Town, you’ve got to agree it’s not like anything else on television. “There really isn't a scary show on television that doesn't fall into one of two categories,” Rosenberg said. “The forensic porn, which is guys gloving up and the horrible bodies and women being abused and mutilated and all that stuff, or vampires and X-Files and that kind of stuff. What about doing a show that's scary but that is, at least on its presenting, is very earth bound, is really sort of grounded in reality? That was the jumping-off point.”
Happy Town premieres tonight on ABC.