[Feature image courtesy Rhiannon Thomas’ website.]
Newly renamed channel Freeform recently announced its plans to add to their lineup with After (working title), an hour-long scripted drama based on the novel A Wicked Thing, Rhiannon Thomas’ retelling of the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale.
At the helm is co-writer/co-executive producer Tom Lynch. Lynch is an established presence in the young adult programming world, having previously worked on Nickelodeon projects South of Nowhere and Make It Pop, among others. Joining him as producer is Robin Schwartz (Manhattan Love Story) and, on the writing team, Adam Lash and Cori Uchida, both contributors to the recent Heroes: Reborn on NBC and Eye Candy from MTV.
Both A Wicked Thing and, presumably After, will follow Sleeping Beauty/Princess Aurora as she awakens after a century of cursed sleep to find her family gone, her kingdom in unfriendly hands, and Prince Charming rather unsatisfactory. When “happily ever after” turns out to be anything but, Aurora must take her fate into her own hands in order to save both her people and herself.
After is the newest addition to the popular trend of fairy tale retellings. From big budget, big screen productions such as Maleficent and Snow White and the Huntsman to the stacks of YA novels centered on unorthodox princesses (eg. The Lunar Chronicles and The Selection) to Freeform’s sister network ABC’s own popular Once Upon a Time TV series, there is a growing movement to turn classic archetypes into complex and compelling characters. Sleeping Beauty herself has traditionally been a very passive figure; cursed due to her parents’ actions and saved through no actions of her own. Thus, a Sleeping Beauty with the agency to steer her own story could prove to be a refreshing change.
This would certainly make her popular with Disney-owned Freeform’s main target audience: females aged 18 to 34. The channel, formerly known as ABC Family, rebranded itself earlier this year in order to better reflect its core supporters, whom the network has dubbed “becomers”. Says network president Tom Ascheim, “It’s a life stage …. Proverbially, we say it’s between your first kiss and your first kid.”
“Becomers” are no strangers to unconventional fairy tales on television. In addition to Freeform’s Once Upon a Time, The CW aimed directly for this demographic with Beauty and the Beast as well as Reign, a series very loosely based on the life of historical figure Mary, Queen of Scots. And if A Wicked Thing’s over-2000 Goodreads ratings are anything to go by, After should fit right in.
The website for A Wicked Thing can be found here.
Freeform’s website can be found here.