Netflix has added a new entry to its growing list of horror series. Premiering on Jan. 14, Archive 81 follows archivist Dan Turner (Mamoudou Athie), who takes a job restoring a collection of damaged video tapes from 1994. They turn out to be the work of filmmaker Melody Pendras (Dina Shihabi), who had been documenting dangerous cult activity at the Visser apartment building 25 years ago. This leads Dan down an obsessive path to uncover the truth about what happened there, cutting between him in the present day and Melody in the past as he becomes convinced he can save her from the terrifying fate she met decades prior.
Archive 81 is loosely based on the podcast of the same name from Dan Powell and Marc Sollinger, who also served as producers on the television adaptation. Netflix hasn’t yet announced if Archive 81 will return for a second season, but the podcast ran for three seasons, so there’s definitely more story to pull from. The cast and crew also seem invested what they created and eager to continue working on it.
“I’m obsessed with mystery box shows, the kind that lead us down a rabbit hole into a strange, dark world,” showrunner Rebecca Sonnenshine (The Boys, Vampire Diaries) said in a statement, per Rolling Stone. “Archive 81 is a character-driven, deeply emotional story about the nature of art, faith, and the search for identity — all wrapped up in a frayed blanket of existential dread. The show also gave this film geek the chance to unearth all sorts of forgotten media formats as found footage, which results in a unique, visually textured story that is both beautiful and terrifying.”
Archive 81 star Dina Shihabi, who plays Melody, shared similar sentiments. “This is the best thing I’ve been sent in a long time,” she said of receiving the script in a recent interview with W Magazine.
In the meantime, Powell and Sollinger are working on a new podcast set to debut on all major podcast platforms on Feb. 16. According to Variety, it’s titled Wavelength and will consist of 10 episodes centering around two government agents who — after investigating a mysterious incident at a tech company — are drawn into a strange conspiracy involving secretive billionaires, eccentric artists, college professors, and otherworldly entities. It uses the same “found footage” concept that the pair drew on for Archive 81, ultimately weaving a mystery “about the monsters we create, and the people who have to fight them,” Powell and Sollinger told Variety.
This post will be updated as more information about Archive 81 Season 2 becomes available.