Pilot Script Review of The Lost Boys
The CW originally developed a series adaptation of the 1987 Warner Bros horror comedy movie The Lost Boys with Rob Thomas during the 2016-17 development season. While that project didn’t go to pilot, network brass remained high on the title and have been looking to redevelop it. With Thomas busy with his Veronica Mars reboot for Hulu, writer Heather Mitchell (Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy) has developed a new take, and this new incarnation picked up steam this development season.
Originally envisioned as a seven-season anthology, the plan for the Rob Thomas Lost Boys series was to tell a story spanning 70 years, with each season chronicling a decade. Season 1 was to have been set in San Francisco during the Summer of Love, 1967, and each season, the setting, the humans, and the story would all change — only the vampires would return. The CW hasn't announced whether this new version is also envisioned as an anthology, but it doesn't seem like it.
WRITTEN BY: Heather Mitchell
DRAFT DATE: Network draft 1/2/19
PAGE COUNT: 61 pages
SCRIPT SYNOPSIS: After the sudden death of their father, diametrically opposite brothers MICHAEL (21) and SAM (15) move with their mother LUCY (40s). Lucy caused a scandal decades earlier, when she ditched her boyfriend to run off with another man to her seaside hometown of Santa Carla, a covert home for vampires. On the beautiful boardwalk, Michael experiences an undeniable spark with STELLA (20s), enraging her vampire boyfriend, DAVID, while Sam meets sisters CASSIE AND LIZA FROG (16), who confirm that there’s something peculiar about Santa Carla. Things escalate when David reveals Stella is the queen of all vampires and Michael discovers he has the same heart condition that killed his father. Concluding on a suspenseful note, both Sam and Michael separately uncover the town’s secret inhabitants when Sam witnesses David breaking vampire law by murdering humans, and Michael walks in on Stella and David having vampire intercourse, all fangs out...
COMMENTS: I'm honestly not sure why The CW is so hell-bent on adapting this title. WithThe Vampire Diaries and The Originals both done, is it so crucial that they air another show about vampires? (They still have Legacies breathing life into the franchise.) It doesn't help that as written, The Lost Boys is quite similar to The Vampire Diaries, centering on two brothers arriving in a town which has apparently populated been by vampires for decades. The main difference is the brothers are not vampires... yet. It's more adult than the Kevin Williamson show, but it's not True Blood either. Instead, it's a lifeless mix, with the younger brother offering an innocent, romantic vibe to the show and the older one introducing a little bit of sex and danger, while the vampires lend some soft debauchery (this is The CW, they can't go very far). It wants to have it all, but ends with nothing much. The script retains the source material's 80s movie vibe (which Stranger Things has made trendy), but here too it falls short, taking itself far too seriously.
So Michael, the elder brother, plans to attend Columbia Medical school but is thrown off when her learns that he shares the same genetic weakness that killed his father. The only thing that consoles him is the friendship he strikes up with Stella, a young woman who runs a concession stand on the Santa Carla boardwalk. He didn't plan to stay for long, but now that he knows he could drop dead at any moment, why spend so much time studying when he could help his family and fall in love? The immediate spark between Stella and Michael seems a little forced on paper, but chemistry between the actors could make it believable, or at least enjoyable enough to forgive. Stella's boyfriend, meanwhile, is the sexy, dangerous and immortal vampire David, who is sometimes scary and always intense. The leader of a vampire gang, he’s wildly in love with Stella, and she's the only one who can control him.
Sam, Michael’s younger brother, has a high level of intellect, matched by an equally high level of snark. He is not enchanted by Santa Carla — a sentiment he shares with a pair of local girls, the Frog Sisters. It's not clear which sister he'll pair off with, but inevitably he will. In the meantime, he'll have to go to school and help the show fit in The CW's template of high-school dramas and the often predictable stories that come with them. There's the (young) mother Lucy, who did bad things in her youth, but is looking for redemption. And of course, she bumps into her old flame who's now... the sheriff. Last but not least, there's Frank Garcia, Lucy’s father, a cantankerous old hippie who owns a local bed and breakfast. In spite of his laid-back appearance, he’s a strict disciplinarian who probably knows more about the dark side of town than he lets on. While he mostly stays in the background (he's much too old to be at the center), Frank is the most unexpected character in this mix and frankly I woudn't be surprised if they kill him after a few episodes. I give him one season, tops.
FINAL RECOMMENDATION: For a vampire tale to succeed on television in 2019, it really needs to be different from what we've seen before, and unfortunately this latest adaptation of The Lost Boys is totally lacking in originality. Easily the network's weakest contender this pilot season, The CW would be best served putting this one to bed.
OVERALL PROJECT SCORE:
[ ] CONSIDER
[ ] RECOMMEND
BEST FIT: Summer fare if The CW is finally ready to spend some money for this period.