Though it may take place at a summer camp in the late '80s and have all the trappings of a Friday the 13th-redux, have no fear (truly, the only thing not to fear with this spooky series), Dead of Summer has a lot more up its sleeve than a simple slasher whodunnit.
Set at the mysterious Camp Stillwater, Freeform's new series centers on new owner Deb (Elizabeth Mitchell) and her collection of young, attractive counselors (including Once Upon a Time alum Elizabeth Lail and Ugly Betty vet Mark Indelicato) as they ready the grounds for a grand re-opening after shuttering five years earlier—and while people may start getting picked off one by one, creators Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz explained to E! News that there's something much larger at play. And really, we should've expected nothing less from the creators of Once, who also did time on Lost's writing staff.
"Similar to what we did on Lost and Once Upon a Time, each episode will focus on a counselor and we'll flash back to who they were before they got to camp. And you're going to see they're going to literally face their demons," Kitsis told us at the ATX Television Festival in Austin, TX. "So all the scares will be supernatural and thematic, based on the character, which we think helps tell a more emotional story. And then there will be an inherent mythological mystery that we tell throughout it."
It's in that overarching mythological mystery that Dead of Summer really hopes to make itself stand out. The plan for the series, should it live on past its inaugural summer at Stillwater, is to tell a new story about the camp, in a different decade with new characters. "We're going to, in episode six, show you Deb's summer, summer of 1970, because the idea, very much like Fargo, which we just love, is every year is a new year and every year will be a new year," Kitsis revealed. "It's not like we're telling '89 over five years. This story gets done, next year, maybe it'll be 1970. It could be 1942 or it could be 2004."
As viewers will quickly learn in tonight's premiere, there's definitely something in the water at Stillwater—and it's that something that will haunt us for seasons to come. "The mystery we present in the pilot and to these kids, that will be completed," Kitsis continued. "The uber-mythology of the camp and the lake will continue."
Goldberg added, "What you'll learn is the camp was established as a camp in the 1920s, but if you've seen the pilot, you know stuff has been going on at this camp longer than that. So while one mystery might get wrapped up by the end of the season, there's a lot more to come and there's a very long and interesting history to this camp and this lake."
Here's hoping we get the chance to check back in to Camp Stillwater for s'more and more.
Dead of Summer premieres Tuesday, June 28 at 9 p.m. on Freeform.
—Reporting by Tierney Bricker