In a competitive situation, Amazon Studios has landed horror event series Them, from executive producer Lena Waithe (The Chi, Dear White People), and writer and executive producer Little Marvin. The project, from Vertigo Entertainment and Sony Pictures TV, has received a two-season straight-to-series order.
The first season of the anthology series is titled Them: Covenant.
Written by Little Marvin, the 1953-set Them: Covenant centers around Alfred and Lucky Emory, who decide to move their family from North Carolina to an all-white Los Angeles neighborhood. The family’s home on a tree lined, seemingly idyllic street becomes ground zero where malevolent forces both real and supernatural threaten to taunt, ravage and destroy them.
“Little Marvin’s script stayed with me for weeks after I read it,” said Waithe. “He’s written something that’s provocative and terrifying. The first season will speak to how frightening it was to be black in 1953. It will also remind us that being black in 2018 is just as horrifying. This anthology series will examine the cultural divides among all of us and explore us vs Them in a way we’ve never seen before.”
Little Marvin executive produces with Waithe, along with Roy Lee, Miri Yoon, and Michael Connolly of Vertigo Entertainment. Sony Pictures TV, which has a deal with Vertigo, is the studio.
“My heart was still pounding an hour after I heard this pitch. The show is edge of your seat scary and addictive while also being provocative and socially relevant ,” said Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios. “We are thrilled to be in business with the incredibly talented Lena Waithe, Little Marvin and Vertigo.”
Waithe is one of the busiest writer-producers at the moment, with multiple projects across film and TV. She created and executive produces The Chi. She also recently signed a first-look deal with Showtime, the network behind The Chi. Waithe won an Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series, and a GLAAD Media Award, along with an NAACP Image Award Nomination for Netflix’s Master of None episode “Thanksgiving” that she co-wrote. On the film side, her latest script, Queen & Slim, will go into production in January starring Daniel Kaluuya for Makeready, distributed by Universal. Waithe also serves as executive producer and writer of the upcoming TBS series Twenties. Her producing credits include the films Step Sisters and Dear White People, which later became a TV series in which she guest starred.
“I’ve always felt that dark, surreal times deserve dark, surreal mirrors to show us ourselves,” said Little Marvin. “And at this point in time one of the best ways to examine fractures in our world through the visceral and raw lens of horror. I’m beyond thrilled that our series has found its home with the fine folks at Amazon.”