Before Cruel Summer premieres on Freeform on April 20, 2021, we have a look at three sneak peek videos and the official trailer. This drama thriller series focuses on a kidnapping in a small town in Texas. The story takes place in three different years (1993, 1994, and 1995) and centers around Kate Wallis, a popular girl who disappears, and Jeanette Turner, a not-so-popular girl who gets accused for the disappearance.
The new television series' cast includes Olivia Holt as Kate Wallis, Chiara Aurelia as Jeanette Turner, Froy Gutierrez as Jamie Henson, Harley Quinn Smith as Mallory Higgins, Blake Lee as Martin Harris, and Barrett Carnahan as Derek Turner.
While Holt and Aurelia did not get to truly experience the '90s (as they were born in 1997 and 2002, respectively), they discussed playing characters in this decade with E! News. "The inspiration really came from just embracing that era, whether it was with the hair and the makeup or the wardrobe or the location that we were in at the time," said Holt.
"Transforming from '93 to '94 to '95 Jeanette, she goes through so many drastic transformations in those years, which is something I think we can all relate to," continued Aurelia. "Coming from being, you know, a kid to a teen to an adult, which [are] the most developmental years in someone's life potentially, and watching her transform and growing with her and learning about her and seeing how much can happen in a year was honestly amazing."
The costumes, setting and characters are just portions of this work, as TV would not be possible without the behind-the-camera action. And with this TV show, in particular, there are some big and recognizable names involved. Cruel Summer, which was originally going to be called Last Summer, was created by Bert V. Royal, who served as an executive producer alongside Jessica Biel, Michelle Purple and Max Winkler, who directed the pilot episode. The series also includes Iron Ocean Productions and Entertainment One.
The plot may sound like a real-life crime, but this is actually a tale of fiction. Still, it is full of many exciting thrills. TV Insider described it as an "intoxicating blend of tension, glamour and dread" and reported that "episodes tend to end on cliffhangers". On a similar note, when talking with Entertainment Weekly about the show, Aurelia said, "You can't really expect anything. There is a whole slew of twists and turns, and that's the joy of it. There are more mysteries than you might expect, more characters involved than you might see at first, and every detail is like a bunch of breadcrumbs that will lead you to the truth."
That being said, viewers have quite a bit to look forward to with this new Freeform show. TVSeriesFinale.com stated that Cruel Summer will feature shifting points of view and will challenge perception, as it follows a journey from being sweet to the most hated person in the country, and that it will start with a bang, with a two-hour premiere.