12:58pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
Horror Anthology 'Them,' From Lena Waithe, Gets 2-Season Order at Amazon
Amazon has found its version of American Horror Story.
In her first Television Critics Association's press tour appearance as head of Amazon Studios, Jennifer Salke announced that she has handed out a two-season, straight-to-series order for the horror event series Them, from Sony Pictures Television-based Vertigo Entertainment and executive producer Lena Waithe (The Chi).
The first season, Them: Covenant, is set in 1952 and revolves around Alfred and Lucky Emory, who decide to move their family from North Carolina to an all-white Los Angeles neighborhood. The family’s home on a tree-lined, seemingly idyllic street becomes ground zero where malevolent forces both real and supernatural threaten to taunt, ravage and destroy them.
Little Marvin (The Time Is Now) will pen the script and exec produce the series alongside Vertigo's Roy Lee, Miri Yoon and Michael Connelly. The project stems from Vertigo's recent overall deal with Sony TV. Waithe will be an exec producer on the show, which predates and falls outside of her recent Showtime first-look pact.
"Little Marvin's script stayed with me for weeks after I read it,” Waithe said. “He’s written something that’s provocative and terrifying. The first season will speak to how frightening it was to be black in 1953. It will also remind us that being black in 2018 is just as horrifying. This anthology series will examine the cultural divides among all of us and explore us vs Them in a way we’ve never seen before.”
Them becomes the latest genre play for Amazon and joins a lineup heavy in sci-fi fare, including the recently revived The Expanse and The Lord of the Rings, among others.
"My heart was still pounding an hour after I heard this pitch. The show is edge-of-your-seat scary and addictive, while also being provocative and socially relevant,” Salke said. “We are thrilled to be in business with the incredibly talented Lena Waithe, Little Marvin and Vertigo.”
Added Amazon co-head of TV Vernon Sanders: "Do you know your neighbors? Little Marvin’s fresh, relevant voice explores the horrors that lurk down the street, around the corner and even right next door in this season of our event series. This is the perfect lean-in, edge-of-your-seat show for Prime Video customers, and we can’t wait to deliver it."
Them is Waithe's latest TV foray since breaking out with Netflix's Master of None, for which she earned an Emmy for writing. Since then, she has focused on development with Showtime's The Chi (already renewed for a second season) and the TBS pilot Twenties.
“I’ve always felt that dark, surreal times deserve dark, surreal mirrors to show us ourselves,” said Little Marvin. “And at this point in time, one of the best ways to examine fractures in our world is through the visceral and raw lens of horror. I’m beyond thrilled that our series has found its home with the fine folks at Amazon.”