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SYFY WIRE Stranger Things

WIRE Buzz: Antebellum teaser tackles fear; Stranger Things drive-thru; Outlander web series

By Benjamin Bullard
Janelle Monae in Antebellum

Antebellum is inching closer to its creepy date with the small screen, and the newest teaser serves up a small slice of present-day social strife that, as earlier clips have shown, threads all the way back to a dark, pre-Civil War past.

Keeping things in the here and now, we get a quieter, kitchen-table peek into how Janelle Monáe’s Veronica Henley has to explain racial tension in 20th Century America to her daughter. It’s a seemingly low-key moment, but it’s also freighted with unease for the deeper terrors that the horror movie, from the producers of Get Out and Us, has in store.

“Sometimes what looks like anger is really just fear,” Henley assures as a polarizing culture war pundit bleats out his dystopian TV messaging. Even though Lionsgate has kept the finer plot details under wraps, that sounds like a bitter summary of deep-seeded anxieties that, as Henley enters an alternate reality that puts her back in the Underground Railroad period, play out in horrific fashion — and this time, not just with words.

Written and directed by Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz, Antebellum stars Monáe (Hidden Figures) as Henley, a successful author destined by fate to work her way out of a horrifying mystery that entraps her in a brutal version of the 19th Century. Also starring are Eric Lange (The Man in the High Castle), Kiersey Clemons (Lady and the Tramp), Jena Malone (Donnie Darko), Jack Huston (Mr. Mercedes), and Gabourey Sidibe (Precious). Originally slated to land in theaters back in April, Antebellum is now set to hit premium on-demand digital platforms beginning Sept. 18.

Pretty soon, lucky Netflix fans in Los Angeles won’t even have to get out of their cars to visit the Upside Down. In a cool recreation of the sights and sets from Netflix’s supernatural smash, Netflix and Stranger Things are prepping the launch of a socially distanced drive-thru tour called Stranger Things: The Drive-Into Experience, according to Variety.

Co-produced by Netflix and Fever, the drive-thru is described as an “interactive theater show” that’ll stage some of the series’ biggest moments with live actors in front of detailed sets that mimic Hawkins’ most memorable locations. Convoys of 24 cars at a time will move through each stop in downtown L.A., adding up to a full-scale Stranger Things story that we only wish could jump through a wormhole and show up in other U.S. cities.

It sounds like fans will definitely get their money’s worth, all while never having to set foot on the pavement. Secret Cinema, the company behind the iconic Starcourt Mall in the show’s third season, is reportedly handling the set design — which includes the murky depths of the Upside Down, the Russian lab where Chief Hopper vanished, and (of course) the Starcourt Mall itself. In addition to the sets and live actors, the event also teases “mind-blowing audio and visual effects” — a high bar for a show that spares no expense when it comes to spooky world-building.

Set to launch in October, tickets go on sale at the event’s website (where guests can go ahead and join the waitlist) beginning Aug. 26.

Few TV series have collected as devoted a following as Outlander, and now Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and Starz are rewarding all the fan fervor by serving up something fun to dive into while waiting for the arrival of Season 6: a deep, behind-the-scenes Facebook web series that explores the characters, concepts, and even food that feature in Claire and Jamie’s time-traveling Colonial American life.

Timed to lead into the Sept. 15 Blu-ray release of Season 5, the four-part "End of Summer" series will run in weekly installments, according to Deadline. The first, featuring author Diana Gabaldon and show EP Maril Davis, premieres at the Outlander Collector Facebook page on Sunday, Aug. 23.

Each themed episode revolves around a central Outlander topic, with Weeks 2 and 3 focusing on food and music, respectively, before Week 4 closes things out with a special reunion between Caitriona Balfe (Claire) and Sam Heughan (Jaime), who’ll answer fan questions while looking back through the show’s first five seasons.

While each installment will be free to view, fans can donate via Facebook to help out Doctors Without Borders, the event's affiliated nonprofit. For Outlander fans, it sounds like a fun way to stave off separation anxiety and stay connected with the show — while waiting for Starz to reveal the Season 6 premiere date.