Heathers is coming, and it’s not your typical high school comedy.
Staying in the vein of the 1989 cult classic film that gave the show its namesake, Heathers is showcasing the worst of high school bullying and reveling in it. The movie was an allegory about high school bullying, but the TV show isn’t trying to be an after school special. It’s digging into the wit and meanness of the original.
“[The show] is not responsible. It’s dark. It’s edgy. We’re trying to show them as they really are,” executive producer Jason Micallef told reporters during the Heathers panel at the Television Critics Association winter press tour on Monday. “That said, because we are a TV show — unlike the film — we have a lot more time to get into what makes these characters click. In our show, because we have more time, we are able to go behind that and show what that’s really about.”
This doesn’t mean that the show will shy away from topics that are on the top of every teenage mind, including the serious ones like suicide and sex.
“We hit the every hot button issue you can get, including suicide,” Micallef said. “The Heathers are aspirational. I think even more so [than the film]. They get all the best lines. When you watch the original movie, they are the people that you want to be, fortunately or unfortunately depending on your perspective.”
The original Heathers were played by Kim Walker, Lisanne Falk and Shannen Doherty but are now getting a 2018 update with Melanie Field, Brendan Scannell and Jasmine Matthews. Micallef is putting a modern look on who the Heathers are, but he’ll use them to dig into the original themes of the movie which was formative viewing for him as a teenager.
“The first season is really a jumping off point using the original movie and then we’re going to completely reboot it,” he explained. “Heathers was like my Star Wars. This show is like a love letter to the original movie.”
Heathers premieres Wednesday, March 7 at 10/9c on Paramount.