Netflix debuts the taut crime drama Seven Seconds on Feb. 23. The series looks at a black teen killed by a white police officer in Jersey City, N.J., and the justice system awaiting both parties. Seven Seconds refers to the amount of time it takes to upend a life, said creator Veena Sud, and throw a community into turmoil.
Sud describes the “truly, truly grueling research” that went into making Seven Seconds feel real. The first day the writers met, she said, they ventured to the morgue. “We wanted to see what it looked like, what it smelled like,” she said.
Sud’s earlier project also dealt with the murder of a teen. She worked on The Killing, which started at AMC and concluded at Netflix. She said Netflix is well suited for “novelistic storytelling.”
“It is one of the bravest places on television in terms of material,” Sud added. “Netflix never shies away from tough material.”
For the premiere, Sud plans to celebrate with the writers who brought Seven Seconds to life from an idea she had three years ago. “I’m full of gratitude that the show made it to air and will be seen,” she said.
On a lighter note, Everything Sucks! is underway, also on Netflix. It’s a high school comedy, set in Boring, Ore., in 1996. Creators Ben York Jones and Michael Mohan were keen to explore high-school life in a somewhat simpler time. If you had a crush back then, said York Jones, “You had to send a handwritten, intricately folded note expressing your love. Your backpack and the clothes you wore were your Facebook wall. And globally it just felt like a more innocent and less chaotic time.”
The guys also note how the best high school series, such as Happy Days and The Wonder Years, typically come out around 20 years after they are set.
They cite Freaks and Geeks as a prime influence; Mohan calls it “perhaps the best high school show of all time.” There’s a bit of My So-Called Life in Everything Sucks! too, and a Swedish film from 1996 called Show Me Love. “Even though the film is absolutely hilarious at times, it’s super-raw emotionally, and feels handmade,” said Mohan.
Peppy ’90s music — Spacehog, Spin Doctors, the Bloodhound Gang — provides the Everything Sucks! soundtrack.
And season three of Ash vs Evil Dead is on Starz Feb. 25, with Ash, played by Bruce Campbell, settling into a normal-ish life after conquering Evil. It of course does not last. “We’re going off a cliff at the end of this season,” Campbell promised, “and we hope the fans follow us.”
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Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.