On April 20, the double-sized premiere of the new teen psychological thriller series Cruel Summer comes to FX sister channel Freeform, according to TV Line. Ten episodes have been produced in total for the show’s initial season on the network, as reported by Entertainment Weekly. Each episode features scenes set in three different years in the early 1990s, Variety reports.
Cruel Summer, like the newly announced British series Chloe, deals with themes surrounding aspirational identification and psychology: “Awkward teen Jeanette (Chiara Aurelia, Tell Me Your Secrets)… longs to be pretty and popular like her classmate Kate (pop singer Olivia Holt). Jeanette gets her wish, and much more than she bargained for, as she seemingly takes over Kate’s life when the other girl goes missing,” via TV Line. The hour-long drama is created by Bert V. Royal (Easy A), and Tia Napolitano (Scandal) serves as showrunner. Michelle Purple (Limetown) and Jessica Biel (The Tall Man) fill out the executive producer team.
Variety noted certain similarities between Cruel Summer and another series executive produced by Biel, the USA crime drama The Sinner. In a recent press event with the Television Critics Association, the actress discussed how she was able to draw on her work on The Sinner, as well as her personal memories of coming of age in the 1990’s, when it came time for her to offer her own creative input. “All those experiences that I’ve had have culminated in this moment to step behind the cameras and really be a support system,” Biel asserted, via UPI.
Cruel Summer, by virtue of its genre, guarantees twists and turns aplenty, which is why, even ahead of the series premiere, its stars are stoking the flames of excitement for the inevitable season one finale. A remotely conducted conversation between Aurelia and Holt for MTV News revealed that the show’s biggest reveal of all was only relayed to them in the midst of production. “I found out while we were shooting. It took me a minute to process everything… It’s a lot to, like, know the ending of a story that you’ve been living for the last six months,” Holt admitted. “I was so shocked and mesmerized and excited,” Aurelia gushed. “I think that the audience is really going to enjoy it. It’s such a satisfying ending, in my opinion.” You can watch the rest of their MTV News conversation below: