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NYCC: Krysten Ritter on her Buffy-esque Peacock series The Girl in the Woods: 'This thing has legs'
Peacock spread its virtual feathers at New York Comic Con 2021 to give fans a taste of what they can expect from their upcoming original series, The Girl in the Woods. Based on the hit from CryptTV's monster universe, the adaptation features a world where monsters are real, and are kept at bay behind a mysterious door. That door, unfortunately, is located in a colony that is a more than a little cult-like.
Carrie (Stefanie Scott) is a runaway, and her job is to guard this door. Things go wrong, and she has to join up with young Nolan (Misha Osherovich) and Tasha (Sofia Bryant) to slay any monsters that may come calling.
The virtual panel discussion included co-executive producer (and director of the first four episodes) Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones), as well as co-executive producer Jasmine Johnson. Producers Jack Davis and Darren Brandl from CryptTV were also on hand.
To start things off, the opening of the first episode was played which featured Carrie on the run. She's... well... she's the girl in the woods. Things then turn to Tasha and Nolan in the town of West Pine, and the entire vibe of the series left us wanting more.
Davis began the panel, talking about how Johnson initially brought in the idea to turn the very successful short from Crypt into a series. "I could never have imagined how fans reactied to the short," Johnson said, noting how the short had very strong themes that the series was then able to weave in. "The themes were already so rich, and the themes were there," she said, adding that it was ripe for expansion.
For Brandl, this show will stand apart because it is "about being a teenager in our modern world." Carrie runs away from the mystical world to our world, but then finds her way back. It's very much a "rite of passage" as he said, but also full of "fun monster kills."
"It's kind of all of the things that I love in one opportunity," Ritter said, noting that she loved the bada** origin story that takes place in the series. "The characters were so great, and they were really jumping out at me." She also praised the mythology of the original short, noting that it had potential to "be a fresh new version of Buffy [the Vampire Slayer]."
The series drops audiences right in, and doesn't explain too much. That is "quite literally a choice" according to Ritter. Getting to the two different worlds of the show was very appealing to Ritter as an artist and a director. As to whether this is horror, thriller, of fantasy, Davis said it's "really about the characters." He had nothing but praise for the cast, as well as Ritter's direction. Johnson agreed that it was all about the characters first, but that it blends many genres together. "It will satisfy a variety of audiences."
Though Buffy was already mentioned as an influence, Ritter also mentioned My So-Called Life and The Craft. Once Ritter got started, she said that "she could not stop." She also knows what it's like to be #1 on the call sheet, so she knew how to be there for Stefanie Scott.
One thing that makes this series different is that it has an all-female writing staff, and Johnson extolled the importance of representation all around. "The stories are so universal," Ritter added. She and Johnson worked every opportunity to "flip the stereotype," as she said.
How long could the show last, with the amount of world building the team has done? "We see this as a 700 episode epic," Davis joked. Johnson agreed, but then got real and said, "we have ideas, but we don't want to be so strictly beholden to what's on the page, just in case."
"This thing has legs," Ritter said, adding, "I do think that this is show that should continue on." She also made it clear that she's always trying to find ways to get in front of the camera. While directing, she said she does get the "put my in coach" itch while making the show and not actually starring in it.
Stereotypes will flip, monsters will be slayed, and a new hero will be born when The Girl in the Woods comes to Peacock on October 21st.
Click here for all of SYFY WIRE's continuing coverage of New York Comic Con 2021.