Shakespeare-Inspired Lifetime Horror Show A Midsummer's Nightmare Gets a Pilot Order

William Blake’s Oberon, Titania and Puck with Fairies Dancing. From William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Image: public domain via Tate Britain.
William Blake’s Oberon, Titania and Puck with Fairies Dancing. From William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Image: public domain via Tate Britain.

It’s really happening. Pun-tastically titled Lifetime series A Midsummer’s Nightmare, made by the same studio that produces the network’s hit UnReal, has just gotten a pilot order. It’ll be an hourlong thriller based on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but—of course—with a contemporary spin.

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Variety reports:

Told from the perspective of Elena, a young woman reluctantly drawn into a summer getaway-turned-nightmare, the series introduces four young lovers who steal off into the woods in pursuit of their romantic desires, but their plans are quickly thwarted when terrifying forces in the deep woods target the stranded group, using their own fantasies and darkest secrets against them.

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That is rather vaguely based on the Shakespeare play, though it would be pretty rad if some jerky character’s head was transformed into that of a jackass. The head of Lifetime’s programming does tell Variety that the show, if it ascends to series status, would be “unlike anything Lifetime has ever done before.”

If the show’s a hit, subsequent seasons would follow an anthology format, so the setting and characters would change, though it’s unclear if other Shakespeare plays would provide inspiration. With the pilot moving forward (Andrew Jaswinski, who wrote Blake Lively shark movie The Shallows, penned the script), we’ll no doubt soon hear casting news, too.

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DISCUSSION

michaelcrider
Michael Crider

Um. What? A Midsummer Night’s Dream is slapstick comedy, or as close as they got to it in Elizabethan England. And you want to make that into horror?

That’s not how it works, folks: you can take the piss out of horror or drama (see the many comedic reinterpretations of plays like Hamlet or Macbeth or Merchant of Venice), but you can’t turn a farce into a bigger farce by making fun of it. And trying to turn a comedy into horror? What, a reverse-Ghostbusters? That’s just begging for a horrible time. And not in a good way.