Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa Gets HBO Max Pilot Order For ‘The Shelley Society’ Gothic Drama, Teams With Berlanti Prods. For ‘The Brides’ Dracula Reimagining

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Adam Shepard

EXCLUSIVE: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, the key creative force behind Warner Bros. TV’s growing Archie comics-based TV universe (Riverdale, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Katy Keene), has lined up two high-profile new drama series projects, both in the gothic horror genre.

HBO Max has ordered a pilot and an additional script for The Shelley Society, a mash-up of gothic horror and teen romance featuring young Mary Shelley, which Aguirre-Sacasa co-created with Riverdale writers Tessa Leigh Williams and James DeWille.

Additionally, I hear Aguirre-Sacasa has a spec script, The Brides, a reimagining of the Brides of Dracula, about to hit the premium/streaming marketplace. It marks another collaboration with Greg Berlanti’s Berlanti Prods., which produces Riverdale, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Katy Keene.

The Shelley Society and The Brides are the first two projects to come out of the new mega overall deal Aguirre-Sacasa signed at Warner Bros. TV in April.


Written/executive produced by Aguirre-Sacasa, DeWille and Williams, The Shelley Society is described as a Victorian X-Files. Young author Mary Shelley leads a band of Romantic outlaws—among them, her lovers Percy and Lord Byron—against all manner of supernatural threats and monsters…including Frankenstein author Shelley’s own iconic Creature. Aguirre-Sacasa is also set as showrunner.

Created by Aguirre-Sacasa and produced with Berlanti Productions,The Brides is a sexy, contemporary reimagining of the Dracula saga as a family drama with a trio of powerful, diverse female leads. With strong horror elements, The Brides is a vampire soap about empowered, immortal women and the things they do to maintain wealth, prestige, legacy—and their non-traditional family.

This is a new version of The Brides, which Aguirre-Sacasa and Berlanti Prods. originally had in development at NBC during the 2015-16 season with a pilot production commitment. Created for the premium marketplace, the new incarnation leans stronger into horror and sexuality as it reimagines the classic vampire characters.

Aguirre-Sacasa and Berlanti Prods.’ Berlanti and Sarah Schechter executive produce The Brides. Written on spec, the project will be taken out to premium networks and streamers as the producers also have launched a preliminary search for actresses to play the title roles.

Known in popular culture as the Brides of Dracula, the three characters, introduced in Bram Stoker’s classic novel, are portrayed as beautiful and powerful female vampire “sisters” who reside with Count Dracula in his castle in Transylvania where they use their charms to seduce and bewitch men before preying on them. They manage to entrance Van Helsing too before he shakes off their spell and kills them. The characters are a staple in the Dracula mythology and have appeared in many Dracula screen adaptations, headlining the 1960 British movie The Brides Of Dracula.

In addition to The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, which he developed and exec produces, Aguirre-Sacasa has horror experience on the feature side — he wrote/co-wrote the remakes of Carrie and The Town That Dreaded Sundown. 

Before becoming Archie Comics COO, Aguirre-Sacasa wrote two of the company’s best-selling horror series: Afterlife With Archie and Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina. He previously worked for Marvel Comics, scripting the adventures of Spider-Man, Nightcrawler, and the Fantastic Four. Aguirre-Sacasa’s TV series writing-producing credits also include Fox’s Glee, HBO’s Looking and Big Love, as well as a stint on WBTV/Berlanti Prods.’ Supergirl.

Aguirre-Sacasa is an accomplished playwright. He penned the musical adaptation of American Psycho, which had runs in London and on Broadway, and was part of the team that was brought in to overhaul Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. He also wrote the book for Magic Mike the musical, with Brian Yorkey (lyrics) and Tom Kitt (music).

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