Some '80s clothing, Greg Heffley from “Diary of a Whimpy Kid,” and weird ghost horror? It may sound like an odd mix, but this is what you get when watching Freeform’s new show “Dead of Summer,” which premiered last week on June 28. And if I am being completely honest, I kind of love it.
Sure, the show is campy, (ignore the summer camp-based pun, as proud as I may be of it) and kind of trite at times, and absolutely ridiculous at others, but taken at face value it is quite enjoyable. I cannot deny that I love the fake horror that is never really "scary," or the cheesy love quad-rangles that are already developing, or just the classic '80s camp fun the counselors partake in every night. “Dead of Summer” is so fun to watch in all the right and wrong ways that you cannot help but continue on and on each week.
Not to mention, it is quite progressive, having a diverse cast that includes most notably a transgender character, as revealed near the end of the premiere. This is one of the main reasons why I love watching shows on Freeform — the network tackles several real scenarios in society today for its target audience, which is the teenage-young adult demographic.
“Dead of Summer” also has a few familiar faces in its cast for any fellow television/movie addicts like myself. As already mentioned, Zachary Gordon, who plays Blotter, was also main character Greg Heffley when the “Diary of a Whimpy Kid” book series was transformed into three movies. I cannot deny watching these movies way past when I was at an acceptable age to do so — I suppose I will always be a child at heart.
Also in this new Freeform show is Eli Goree, who was in the first few episodes of the hit show on The CW “The 100,” where he played Wells Jaha, aka the Chancellor’s son, before he was unexpectedly murdered by a tormented young girl. “Dead of Summer” also features Elizabeth Mitchell, who has been on almost every show ever known, from “Lost” to “V” to “Revolution,” and Mark Indelicato, who everyone knows as Justin Suarez on “Ugly Betty.”
Although there are plenty of recognizable faces on this show, there are also some fresh ones who are just getting their first major credits. Regardless, “Dead of Summer” proves to be, if anything, a fun ‘80s show about a summer camp that just so happens to have a lot of unusual stuff happen on its grounds. It is classic-teen-summer television, if that can be considered a genre, and can take everyone’s minds off of the fact that they have to wait a few more months before their favorite televisions shows come back for real, whether it is “How to Get Away With Murder” or “New Girl.”
So, sit back, relax, and buy-in to what Freeform is trying to sell you with “Dead of Summer.” You might just be surprised with how much you enjoy the result.