When The Street Lights Go On

For me, the 2017 Sundance Film Festival was a lackluster year. I missed some of the big buzz films and whileI saw some good movies (The Big Sick being the best of the bunch), it just didn’t measure up to past years in Park City. I might be that bigger, more depressing things were happening in the world outside of indie cinema. Or it just might be that my schedule was poorly planned.

Either way, I ended up in a press screening for the TV Pilot Showcase, where for the first year in Sundance history they were screening tv pilots without a home. I watched a couple good episodes in this screening, prompting me to write a post titled One of the Best Things I Saw at Sundance 2017 Was a TV Pilot. A trailer for the show in question, When The Street Lights Go On, has now been released online for the whole world to see. Watch it now after the jump.

When The Street Lights Go On Trailer

I’m not sure the trailer above is the best representation of the pilot episode (the voice over seems a bit much) but you can see the cinematic aspirations. As far as I know, Paramount TV and Anonymous Content have yet to find a home for this tv series, which is a shame.  The trailer above, which quotes me prominently, debuted online today.

The pilot was produced for Hulu who decided to pass on the show which was directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Brett Morgen (The Kid Stays In The Picture, Chicago 10). The coming-of-age story is set in the summer of 1983 and tells the story a boy who discovers a young girl and a teacher murdered in a car in the woods.  The official plot synopsis follows:

In the summer heat of 1983, a string of unusual occurrences in a small Illinois town culminate with the shocking murders of a popular high school girl and her teacher. When a fellow student, and neighbor, discovers the bodies while riding his bike home one night, the quiet suburban lives of the town’s residents are irrevocably shaken.

As I wrote in my piece from Sundance:

The pilot was very cinematically shot and (if it had had an ending) could have easily played side-by-side with the better shot feature films in the fest. When the Street Lights Go On definitely has a Stand By Me meets Virgin Suicide vibe, and features an amazing soundtrack of classic ’80s pop songs and some promising performances from a largely young cast. … The best thing I can say about When The Street Lights Go On is that I desperately want to see more and find out what happens next. I don’t want this television series to fall into the abyss of pilots that never got picked up.

The series was originally a feature script by then-21-year-old AFI students Chris Hutton and Eddie O’Keefe which became the second-ranking script on the 2011 Black List, under The Imitation Game (which was produced and won an Oscar for adapted screenplay). Drew Barrymore initially became attached to direct, but somehow the project fell into development heck. It was reborn as a tv series, which now no longer has a home.

I’d love to see Netflix or a premium cable network like HBO or Showtime pick this series up. It seems like an obvious choice for Netflix which has had a huge hit on their hands with the 1980s set Stranger Things — I’m certain fans of that series would also like this.

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