The Purge TV series, the small screen adaptation of the dystopian horror franchise, first announced in April 2017, follows up on the success of the franchise’s film series — The Purge (2013), The Purge: Anarchy (2014), The Purge: Election Year (2016), and the prequel film The First Purge (2018) — which has grossed more than $320 million in the worldwide box office.
The Purge TV series is executive produced by the team which also produced the film series: the franchise creator and writer DeMonaco, Jason Blum (Blumhouse Television), Michael Bay, Brad Fuller and Andrew Form (Platinum Dunes), Sébastien K. Lemercier, Thomas Kelly, and Anthony Hemingway.
We give you the latest updates and everything else you need to know about the upcoming 10-episode TV series which will take place in the same universe as the films.
The Purge TV series release date
The Purge TV series is set to premiere on USA Network on Tuesday, September 4, at 10/9c, a month after the prequel movie The First Purge hit the theaters in the U.S. There will be simultaneous transmission of the premiere and the final episodes of the series on SYFY. A U.K. broadcaster and release date have not been confirmed.
The TV series will ride the crest of the success of the prequel, the fourth installment in the film series released on July 4, 2018. The prequel movie, which explored the origin of the events in The Purge (2013), provided intense horrific chaos to whet the appetite of fans of the horror franchise for the upcoming television series.
The Purge TV series trailer
The first-ever trailer for the TV series was released by USA Network in June 2018, after the premiere date was announced. Judging from the intensity of the 40-second trailer, which offered the first glimpse of what to expect of the upcoming TV series described as a “10-episode TV event,” fans can expect horror action as terrifying as anything they saw in the film series.
The trailer appears to dispel fears initially voiced that the TV series could turn out a poor B movie imitation of the film series. The relatively low budget of the film series (the first movie reportedly had a budget of only $3 million) might actually work in favor of the adaption for TV by making it easier for the producers to replicate the qualities of the film series that helped its success.
The Purge TV series plot
In May the producers of the TV series were forced to dispel rumors that The Purge TV series wouldn’t take place in the lawless and terror-filled Purge Nights. Producer Jason Blum was quoted in some media reports as saying that the TV series would instead focus on “what happens the other 364 days of the year and how that law affects people.”
However, it appears that Blum’s comments were taken out of context, and DeMonaco had to clarify the issue. He revealed that the series will mostly take place on Purge Night, but alongside some non-Purge action, as Blum indicated.
“I’d say it’s 70, 65% Purge Night and then 30% flashback,” DeMonaco said. “We follow four what-seem-to-be separate storylines of people going out on the evening and experiencing the Purge.”
The series is set in America under totalitarian party rule. It follows the lives of a set of seemingly unrelated people who experience the Purge in their city. Each group has a separate storyline that may converge. As the Purge event approaches, the characters are forced to confront issues from their past.
The original movie — The Purge (2013) — followed the terrifying experiences of a family under siege during The Purge, a national civic event passed into law by the totalitarian ruling party, the New Founding Fathers of America (NFFA). During the half-day annual event, all crime, including murder and torture, is legal, and all emergency services, including law enforcement and medical, are suspended
According to DeMonaco, the series will have a “flashback structure” that allows viewers to see the non-Purge lives of the main characters.
“In the TV show, I think we’re slowing it down, and we’re using this flashback structure to enter into the non-Purge lives of these people,” he explained. “We’re going back six months or two years or into their childhood to see some things that might’ve fed into their decision-making on this particular Purge.”
“The long form is actually allowing it to become more of a character study, instead of a singular event of surviving the night,” he added.
Where the TV Series fits in The Purge timeline
Executive producer DeMonaco’s comments during an interview with Vulture suggested that the events of The Purge TV series take place after the first two movies of the franchise, The Purge and The Purge: Anarchy, but before the events of The Purge: Election Year.
“The TV show takes place between the first Purge and the last movie,” he said. “We’re kind of right in the middle of all the Purge timelines, so it’s before Charlie Roan. It’s way after the New Founding Fathers of America have come into power. So if 20 Purges have taken place, or 15, we’re probably on the seventh or eighth in the TV show.”
The “seventh or eighth” annual Purge event takes place after the events of the The Purge: Anarchy, but before and The Purge: Election Year in which US Senator Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell) runs for President.
The Purge TV show’s fictional newspaper, The Associated News, offers new clues
We learn in The First Purge that the first annual Purge took place in 2017. The events of the TV series take place about a decade (2027) after the events of The First Purge, according to Inverse, which reports that it recently received a copy of The Associated News, a newspaper publication from the fictional universe of The Purge.
The newspaper contains a front page advertisement for The Gauntlet, which reads “Survive: Sunset to Sunrise.” It isn’t clear what “The Gauntlet” is, but based on a line of the ad which reads “Live! 24 Hour Event,” it is being speculated that it could mean that the events of the Purge are being televised, and people are locking themselves in their homes to watch.
There is also a sinister ad for something called the Carnival of Flesh. The ad promises an “emporium of homicide,” and assures readers that they can “taste true liberty,” according to Inverse. The ad then says that “We’re the #1 destination to purify yourself on purge urges!”
The newspaper also reveals in its “Society” section that the Stantons will host a serial killer-themed party on Purge Night, and that the Stantons’ mansion will be renovated to make it “an H.H.H.-style mansion,” an apparent reference to the serial killer Dr. Henry Howard Holmes’ (H.H. Holmes) “murder castle.”
We know that Andrea Frankle, who portrayed Chief of Police Duchamp in Cloak & Dagger, will be playing the role of the wealthy socialite Ellie Stanton, and that Reed Diamond will play Albert Stanton.
The newspaper also features an article that refers to Fiona Dourif’s character, Good Leader Tavis, who is the charismatic leader of the pro-Purge cult, the Mercy Cult. The opinion article accuses Good Leader Tavis of “preying upon the lives of the downtrodden” by convincing them to sacrifice their lives for the Purge.
The Purge TV series casting
The cast includes former East Los High star Gabriel Chavarria, who plays the lead role of the U.S. marine Miguel. Miguel comes homes after a message from Penelope, his sister, played by the Six star Jessica Garza. Miguel soon learns that Penelope is part of a pro-Purge cult whose charismatic leader convinces her to give herself up as sacrifice on Purge Night.
Miguel fights to protect her.
Hannah Emily Anderson (five episodes) plays Jenna, an anti-Purge character, who decides to venture out for the first time on Purge Night. This leads to a violent encounter that forces her to confront issues from her past, and her marriage.
Amanda Warren (five episodes) plays Jane, a finance professional, who hires a Purge-assassin in the effort to promote her career progress.
William Baldwin plays Don Ryker, Jane’s boss at her investment firm. Jane believes he is standing in the way of her career advancement, although he outwardly appears to support her.
Colin Woodell plays Rick, who aligns with the pro-Purge elite to climb the social ladder, but it backlashes on his marriage.
Lee Tergesen plays the role of Joe, who intervenes in violence taking place on Purge Night. As he drives around town, he listens to taped lectures by a motivational coach who appears to be the “best-selling author and motivational speaker” identified in The Associated News publication as Steve Stubbins
The series will also feature guest appearances by Fiona Dourif — best known for her role as Bart in Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency — as Good Leader Tavis, the charismatic cult leader who convinces Penelope (Jessica Garza) to sacrifice herself for the Purge.