damien trailer

A&E is really going all in on this “television shows based on iconic horror movies” thing. The network found tremendous success by modernizing Psycho with Bates Motel, which has already been renewed for a fifth season before the fourth season has even aired. Now, they’re turning their attention away from creepy young men with unhealthy maternal obsessions and toward creepy young men who just so happen to be the antichrist.

Hot on the heels of last month’s teaser, the first proper Damien trailer is here and this show isn’t being shy about being a direct sequel to Richard Donner’s The Omen. While the show certainly looks like its own unique entity, there is enough footage from the original 1976 film included here to create a strong connection. For better or worse, Damien is continuing the most common trend of the past year: sequels that reboot their franchises while keeping those emotional strings attached.

In a manner of speaking, Damien belongs in the same clubhouse as Mad Max: Fury Road, Creed, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. How weird is that?

The Omen (which was remade in the form of a giant shrug in 2006) followed the American ambassador to England who, following the death of his newborn child, chooses to adopt an orphan infant. But then the kid turns out to be the son of the devil destined to bring about the end of the world and things go wrong for everyone in his life, with the whole thing ending in blood and tears and attempted filicide. Three increasingly poor sequels, following Damien as he grew up and grew into his role as the antichrist, were made. A&E’s Damien series follows an adult Damien, but chooses to not acknowledge their existence, making it the aborted Neill Blomkamp Aliens movie of cable television.

Here’s the trailer:

What’s a little odd about this trailer is how it treats the original Omen as canon, utilizing several clips from iconic scenes and even showing off a family portrait featuring the likenesses of original stars Gregory Peck and Lee Remick. If that movie actually happened as presented, Damien would be in his mid-40s in this show and star Bradley James is most definitely not middle-aged (he was born in 1983). In other words, the events of original movie happened, but the timeline has been shifted to accommodate a hot young lead.

Continuity nitpicking aside, Damien actually looks pretty good! The footage in the trailer is atmospheric and a lot of the imagery looks appropriately blasphemous. Plus, the story of a guy realizing he’s the son of Satan and grappling with whether or not to fulfill his ungodly destiny could be compelling in the right hands.

The hands in question belong to Glen Mazzara, who was a producer on The Shield and ran The Walking Dead during one of its better seasons. Deadline has this quote from the show’s presentation at TCA:

I really wanted to look at something where someone is supposedly tasked with this horrifying future crime that he’s going to bring about the apocalypse.

Damien premieres on March 7, 2016.

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