- The Goosebumps revival series is not an anthology, but rather a serialized show with a mystery that spans three decades.
- The producers wanted to tap into both nostalgia and the experience of new readers, creating a show that can be enjoyed for different reasons.
- The decision to focus on relatable real-world issues for the characters, while incorporating genre elements, aims to make the show timeless and cinematic.
The producers of Goosebumps open up about why the revival series is not an anthology. Developed by Rob Letterman and Nicholas Stoller, the revival’s story centers around a group of teenagers who accidentally release supernatural forces out into the world. They must find a way to recapture those forces. Along the way, they also discover their parents’ secrets from the past, and it ties together a mystery that spans three decades.
In an interview with MovieWeb, producers Pavun Shetty and Connor Welch go into detail about why the Goosebumps revival is not an anthology. The duo mentions that there were discussions about how to approach the series. For several reasons, including the chemistry between the core five actors, the decision was made to go in a more serialized direction. In the quote below, there’s also talk of how the revival includes mini-stories throughout:
Pavun Shetty: We talked about it a lot. But we look back on these books with a real sense of nostalgia now because we read them at such a formative part of our youth, and now our kids are actually reading them for the first time, and it’s such an odd experience to have those things together. And I think that was our goal of the show, to really tap into both of those things at the same time, so people can genuinely enjoy the show for different reasons.
Conor Welch: One of the reasons that the series is so timeless is that kind of all the horrors and hauntings and scares are really grounded in very tangible, very relatable, very real-world issues that most adolescents go through, whether it’s alienation, identity, love for the first time. It felt like we really wanted to introduce each character of this series with a very clear, very relatable issue that then we could sort of elevate and make more cinematic through some of the genre elements
Pavun Shetty: I mean, we were lucky that we had access to all of the books, and there’s so many great ones. Our partners at Scholastic now gave it to us and R.L. Stein obviously gave us his blessing there. So we had access to everything, which is a little bit daunting, but also exciting at the same time. And I think we ultimately landed on a structure where, for the first five episodes, we would use five of the most popular books from the series.
Pavun Shetty: And then the season’s 10 episodes long, and so after five episodes, our main cast gets together and kind of saves the town as an ensemble. But throughout the entire series, we’re pulling little bits of these Easter eggs from all of the books, and so there’s plenty more to come. But I think if we had endeavored to do all the books at the exact same time, I think it would have been a little bit too much. So we kind of did a hybrid where we told little stories, but also kept the narrative going in a serialized way.
Conor Welch: It was important to us that this felt like a premium and sophisticated television show that audiences would come back to week after week and be eager to see what happens next. And so by virtue of that, it seemed that we needed to, as opposed to diverging from the anthological nature of the original television series and also the books, to really create an overarching mystery that would kind of pull the audience through and also establish character dynamics in the opening episodes that you would be eager to see how they play out.
Conor Welch: I feel like we cast a group of five young actors, most of whom an audience will not have seen before, and it was really exciting to watch how their chemistry gelled really soon out of the gates. So yeah, it was fun to be able to play with them and to follow their dynamics as a group.
Why The Goosebumps Approach Just Might Work
As the producers discuss, the Goosebumps premiere does strike somewhat of a balance between being an anthology and telling a larger story. Episode 1 sees lead character Isaiah Howard (Zack Morris) happen upon a creepy camera that has the ability to photograph events before they happen. To make the situation even more strange, only Zack can see these photos. They turn blank whenever someone else tries to look at them.
This little story is told alongside the show’s larger narrative gambit. It begins in 1993, as high school student Harold Biddle (Ben Cockell) dies in a basement fire. His home remains empty for about three decades until another high schooler, Isaiah, finds his way there and seemingly unleashes Harold. The parents, played by familiar faces like Lucifer star Rachael Harris and Buffy the Vampire Slayer alum Leonard Roberts, seem to know exactly what’s going on.
The revival definitely leans more serialized. However, it could be the case that, once it’s established and renewed, the new Goosebumps will get the chance to go in an occasionally more standalone direction. For the moment, the objective seems to be establishing the cast of newcomers like Morris, Isa Briones, Miles McKenna, Ana Yi Puig, and Will Price.