When The CW initially announced their plans to develop a new TV series inspired by the Friday the 13th movies, genre fans everywhere reacted with a hesitant excitement. This wasn’t an original idea … but with 2009 being the last time Jason Voorhees was seen on-screen, it was definitely a welcome one.
Needless to say, the Friday the 13th series will not be moving forward at The CW. During their recent TCA panel, network president Mark Pedowitz announced the show’s cancelation due to its “lack of sustainability.”
The notion of bringing Jason back is as popular to horror fans as is the concept of revisiting the Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers or even Pinhead storylines. And while Blumhouse has teamed with John Carpenter to bring his iconic boogeyman back to the big-screen — while Jason Voorhees will return to film in 2017 — TV successes for other iconic genre characters have been few and far between.
The main problem in bringing a Jason series to life is that the character doesn’t have enough staying power to sustain a 13-episode run. Take Freddy Krueger, for instance. Robert England brought Freddy to television in Freddy’s Nightmares. It lasted for two seasons — from 1988 to 1990 — but Krueger’s TV-life mostly existed in a Crypt Keeper-style role as Englund mainly appeared as host to the anthology series.
Let’s not forget that Friday the 13th did have its own television series — from 1987 to 1990 — but its success mostly relied on the fact that Jason Voorhees was not a part of the story at all. And once you get past the nostalgic luster of seeing any one of these monsters on the small-screen, the challenge then becomes how best to maintain that excitement for a whole season … or even, seasons.
The main formula behind a Friday the 13th movie involves stupid teens who make dumb life decisions and, thusly, are murdered by the un-killable Voorhees. While that sounds like a great synopsis for a Supernatural episode, there needs to be more to the puzzle to keep TV audiences interested.
It’d be a feat similar to, say, turn American Horror Story into a standalone movie — there are just too many moving parts to fit into a mere 90-minute story. To flip that proverbial coin, there just aren’t enough components for Jason Voorhees to kill — successfully — on TV.