The Gates may seem a bit familiar — vampires and werewolves and witches, oh my! — but the producers of the new ABC series (premiering Sunday, June 20 at 10/9c) want viewers to know that it's not just another True Blood.
The series, which grew out of a movie pitch about a community built on the gates of hell, actually preceded the vampire trend. "There was no True Blood, so it was a different landscape when we wrote it. It felt much more original back then," jokes executive producer Grant Scharbo.
"True Blood has a lot of fans and has its own feel and vibe to it," adds executive producer Richard Hatem. "We took a look at it and breathed a sigh of relief because it's not the same. If the last two years have proven anything, it's that it's a really big and wide enough genre. If you like vampires and supernatural beings, you've got another show to watch."
The show centers on Nick Monohan (Frank Grillo), a new police chief who moves to the neighborhood with his wife and kids. During his first day on the job, Nick must investigate his neighbors, including bloodthirsty housewife Claire Radcliff (Rhona Mitra), in a missing-persons case. Nick quickly realizes his new home is not as picture-perfect as it seems.
But while other series focus on supernatural intrigue, The Gates bases itself in the realism of suburban life. "The [beings] that have moved inside the gates are trying to achieve the last vestiges of the American dream," says Scharbo. "[So they're] putting the bright face out and burying their secrets."
And though they live in a gated community full of delicious, blood-filled humans, you won't find these vampires mercilessly killing their neighbors — well, at least not all the time. The series is more about addiction, rather than blood lust. "Playing the metaphor rather than playing it on the nose becomes a more relatable concept," says Hatem. "A lot of people understand addiction. It's not about going out and drinking blood to survive, but being addicted to the hunt and the kill and the high of that."
Yes, some of the residents are human. But which ones? "At the end of the day, you'll never really know who your neighbors are," says executive producer Gina Matthews. "You'll be watching a character for a while and be convinced there's something supernatural about them, but there may not be. We're playing it so that you don't really know what goes on behind your neighbors' walls."
Will you be watching the new supernatural series?