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Apple has resurrected Steven Spielberg’s anthology series Amazing Stories as part of its Apple TV+ streaming service, the first of their shows to be a revival of a pre-existing show. The original series ran from 1985 through 1987 on NBC. Apple’s first season consists of five hour-long stories.
The first episode of the new series stars Dylan O’Brien as a modern man who travels back in time through the basement of a house he’s restoring. Episode two tells the afterlife tale of a runner Hailey Kilgore who gets hit by a car, but stays around to help her friend E’myri Crutchfield. The newest episode stars Robert Forster as a grandfather who gains super powers from an old toy ring.
Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz serve as showrunners on the new Amazing Stories. Their previous credits include creating and running Once Upon a Time and writing and producing for Lost. Kitsis and Horowitz spoke with /Film by phone this week about Amazing Stories and a little bit about their Beauty and the Beast prequel series for Disney+. New episodes of Amazing Stories premiere Fridays on Apple TV+.
Was there ever a question of using the original Amazing Stories theme song?
Horowitz: No. John Williams’ theme was so iconic. From day one, it was a must have for us and everybody involved knew that there really was no way we could do this without it.
How did you come up with new animation for it?
Kitsis: We hired a title company and basically we, really almost right away, I think we spent a year going over development with them. You just look at different images and animation and just kind of gradually came about over the last year.
Horowitz: It was a collaborative effort. They did incredible work. They worked with us and with Amblin and Steven had input in it all. It was a long process to try to get it to the place where it is now and got more specific as we started to shoot the episodes and get images to put into it.
Kitsis: The company’s name is Elastic. They’re phenomenal. They’ve done so many titles that you’ve seen.
Horowitz: If you look in the title sequence as you watch the episodes, you see images from the various episodes are incorporated in the title sequence.
What was the decision to go full hour versus the ½ hour of most of the original Amazing Stories?
Horowitz: I think it was less about a conscious decision about the episodes should be an hour or a half hour than as we discussed the kind of stories we wanted to tell, a length sort of revealed itself to us which is this 45 to 50 minute length which felt about right for the size of the stories we were telling. It really was about letting the stories dictate the length rather than try to dictate an arbitrary timeframe for it.
Can the stories be any edgier on streaming than they were on...