By Paula Hendrickson
If you’re not already familiar with the locally produced sitcom, The Deadersons, you haven’t been playing close attention to the area’s pop culture scene – or this column.
If you haven’t yet viewed the show on YouTube, you’re in luck. Season one is coming out on DVD (details below) and Amazon Prime members will soon be able to stream the show free of charge, making The Deadersons an ideal choice for a little Halloween binge viewing.
People in the Kenosha, Wisconsin area can even watch The Deadersons the old-fashioned way. On TV. The show now airs twice weekly on Kenosha’s public access TV channel 14 – Fridays at 6 p.m. and Mondays at 3 p.m., according to The Deadersons’ Facebook page.
As if that’s not enough, the first two episodes of season two will hit YouTube before election day.
The brainchild of Kris Williamson, The Deadersons centers on an undead all-American family living their lives, so to speak, and stars Valerie Meachum and Derek L. Cook as Donna and David Deaderson and Eric Reed and Jennifer Lineus as their teenage kids Donnie and Delia. But did the cast expect this true labor of love to reach beyond YouTube?
“I knew they had ambitions for it to go beyond YouTube, but you certainly can’t expect that,” Meachum says, adding, “My brother and his family live in Kenosha, so that part is especially exciting to me!”
Cook, who had worked with Williamson on a prior project, knew he wanted to be involved with The Deadersons from the start. “I had always believed in the show so it’s no surprise that we are going to be on TV and Amazon Prime, but what surprised me the most was how quickly things started to click for us. I had thought it was going to take around three to five seasons before we got traction.”
Working on the show is a huge commitment to cast and crew, since most fit it in between day jobs and other acting gigs, yet they relish the opportunity enough to make the show a priority.
“I’ve always wanted to be part of an ongoing series, to be able to follow a character through changes in her life over time,” Meachum says. “The idea that there are things happening to Donna now that nobody knew about when I first started playing with her – it’s just such a unique experience of storytelling.”
Cook also enjoys the sense of camaraderie the show brings. “There is a strong feeling of family with the cast & crew,” he says. “When we get together, we have so much fun on set.”
Watching all 12 episodes of the first season – and the first two episodes of season two – may leave you wanting more. But the cast isn’t offering any hints about what’s next. “I wish I could tell you! Because that would mean I knew,” Meachum says. “It’s as much an adventure for us as it is for the audience.”
My question for local television stations is pretty simple: If an original series produced in the Rock River Valley area is being broadcast on a TV station in Kenosha, why isn’t it already airing locally – either on a digital substation or a public access Comcast station?
It’s time for local broadcasters to step up and support our homegrown talent.
Watch The Deadersons on YouTube
Get The Deadersons season one on DVD
Through October 27, you can support season two and preorder your season one DVD here: indiegogo.com/projects/deadersons-season-1-dvd-pre-order#/.
Eventually, the DVDs will be sold at local shops like Culture Shock and Top Cut Comics.