'The Purge' TV Series Will Not Be About The Purge

The Purge and its sequels are built on a strong hook: what if, for one night each year, all crime was legalized and the citizens of the United States were allowed to murder and maim to their heart's content? After two successful sequels (a fourth film is on the way), the series is looking to head to the small screen and now we know what the TV version will be about.

It will be about the the days when the Purge isn't going on.

Jason Blum, who produced the movies through his Blumhouse banner and is also involved in the television show, revealed this tidbit (via Deadline) and at first, it admittedly sounds like a bit of joke:

It will reveal to the fans what happens the other 364 days of the year and how that law affects people.

After all, how do you make a TV show based on The Purge without featuring, you know, the Purge? However, when you pause and think about it, this is actually a very interesting approach. While the first Purge movie was essentially a home invasion movie set in an alternate near-future, the sequels doubled down on the science fiction dystopian elements. The "New Founding Fathers," who govern the United States with an authoritarian fist, became more central to the plot and the true purpose of the Purge became more apparent. While the wealthy see this event a chance to dress up in outrageous costumes and get their murder on, those on the lower income brackets recognize that this is class warfare made literal – those too poor and helpless to defend themselves are being wiped out once a year as part of government-endorsed, inch-by-inch genocide. These movies are wild and political as hell and angry...and since each Purge movie has made a little more than the one before it, it's a message that has resonated with audiences.

In other words, we're not talking about a show about the Purge itself as much as we're talking about a show set in a world defined by the Purge, where the social order has been completely upended, where every interaction carries with it a threat – you could become your neighbor's future target, if you anger them enough; you have to live every day knowing that there is a target on your back. While this doesn't necessarily make for a gory romp, it does make for some potentially fascinating sci-fi world-building. What does this dystopian America, where everyone is the hunter and the hunted once per year, actually feel like? The Purge TV show may not be about the Purge, but it will be all about the Purge.

James DeMonaco, who wrote and directed all three Purge movies and will write, direct and executive producer the TV series, previously elaborated on this concept, noting that the series could feature glimpses of Purge night itself:

The idea of why I like the idea of a maybe 10 hour TV thing on this, the one thing you really can't do on the films is, just because of mere real estate and time, is you can't get into the nuance and complexity that would drive someone to commit a terrible act on this night. Whether it's revenge or out of passion, but what might be interesting in a TV show is with a flashback narrative, if you start on Purge Night but you go back to show how people have gotten to where they are. Where you see a couple that's gone haywire on this night, but let's show everything that's led up to this moment of a husband trying to kill a wife — the cheating or the accusations of cheating or money problems. It will be interesting to show those arcs, those dramatic and complex arcs that get people to where they pick up a gun or a knife and kill someone else. I think there's something cool that we can do with the real estate of TV — 10 hours, potentially.

The TV version of The Purge doesn't have a release date yet, but it's expected to air on SyFy and USA in 2018.