"On Pretty Little Liars we've surprised people and we've put people in jeopardy, but we've never had a chance to straight-out scare people," executive producer Joseph Dougherty tells TVGuide.com. "Whatever the uneasiness level of Pretty Little Liars is, Ravenswood will be 20 to 30 times higher. I like to lull people in with a false sense of confidence and tell everyone that Ravenswood is a delightful romp and then have everyone watch and be terrified."
Leading straight in from Pretty Little Liars' annual Halloween special,Ravenswood follows Caleb Rivers (Tyler Blackburn) as he meets and connects with four strangers whose lives are intertwined due to the town's deadly curse and mysterious past. Nicole Anderson plays Miranda, a fellow foster child who Caleb meets on his bus ride to the Pennsylvanian town. Upon their arrival, the two meet Remy (Britne Oldford), a girl determined to find out about the town curse, and twins Luke (Brett Dier) and Olivia (Merritt Patterson) whose father was recently murdered. Soon the group of strangers becomes a Scooby Gang of sorts.
"Caleb and Miranda bond not on a romantic level initially, but on a background level," Dougherty explains. "These are two people who are kindred spirits as they've both had to deal with being treated as disposable people. Caleb, because of his time in Rosewood, has become a better person for it and has a lot to teach her." And as for a budding romance? Don't worry Hanna (Ashley Benson) fans. "[They're] still in a fairly strong relationship and we're not going to make too many people angry about that."
As Pretty Little Liars followers well know, the series has a strong influence from famed suspense director Alfred Hitchcock. Ravenswood, Dougherty says, will take cues from a new canon of films but also specifically Twilight Zone. "Ravenswood is Rod Serling for teens," he says. "We want to tell ghost and supernatural stories, but with a Pretty Little Liars attitude." Regarding how long viewers will have to wait for those stories to unfold, Dougherty adds, "It might feel faster [than Pretty Little Liars] because our initial run in five episodes, so we're not going to string you along. We'll have a central mystery, but it generates other mysteries that spin off from it so that curse is the source of all mischief, but there are plenty of other sources of mischief."
"The Halloween episode is the most gothic one we've done. It has a deeply saturated horror movie feel to it and at the same time it also introduces you to the Rod Serling Twilight Zone material," Dougherty says. "It's a two-hour experience and we really want people to sit down and watch both shows as they were designed to be viewed together."
Watch a clip from Ravenswood:
Pretty Little Liars' Halloween episode airs Tuesday at 8/7c on ABC Family followed by the premiere of Ravenswood at 9/8c.