It's surprising that a sinister retelling of one of Shakespeare's most iconic plays hasn't been done on cable TV before. Lifetime is livening up the Bard with A Midsummer's Nightmare, premiering July 31. But while the concept of the series is solid and sound like it could be a lot of fun, details about this drama are hard to find. It's not even clear how many episodes A Midsummer's Nightmare will have. As of the series premiere, it looks like the answer may be... just one, the pilot, which will be 11 p.m. ET, according to Lifetime's schedule. No other episodes are currently scheduled to air.
This is not very promising news about the Shakespeare adaptation, and definitely marks a change in Lifetime's attitude towards it. Back when the A Midsummer's Nightmare pilot was picked up, Lifetime EVP and Head of Programming Liz Gately said in a press release, "We’re really taking big swings at Lifetime and developing content that redefines what it means to be a Lifetime show." That announcement shows some excitement for the series, but now, I'm getting the feeling that the show is going to be buried.
The pilot announcement received a fair amount of attention, mostly because of the show's varied and interesting cast, including Courtney Love in a supporting role. But Lifetime never confirmed they were picking up the pilot to series. According to Instagram posts from the cast (Eric Balfour and Chad Rook, respectively), the show began filming in November 2016, and recorded ADR dialogue back in January 2017.
It certainly looks as though Lifetime's plans have changed for the series. According to cast member Paul Walter Hauser's Instagram, the A Midsummer's Nightmare pilot may be airing as a one-off TV movie. On July 27, Hauser captioned a selfie with costar Dominic Monaghan, who will be playing the modern analog to the trickster sprite Puck, "The Looks You Give When Someone Tells You Your Pilot Is Airing As A TV Movie..." Collaged with the selfie was a Deadline headline from when Hauser was cast in A Midsummer's Nightmare.
It's unclear if Lifetime plans to eventually bring A Midsummer's Nightmare back for future episodes after the pilot or if this airing will be the only chance to potentially see its only produced episode. The premiere date itself was shifted a couple of times. Though originally slated for a July 28 premiere, according to The Futon Critic, the pilot was first moved up to July 14, then, pushed back to July 31.
So my advice is to tune into the July 31 showing of A Midsummer's Nightmare, because there's a good chance that there won't be any more — and if there are, they may be difficult to find. But don't let its uncertain future stop you from enjoying Lifetime's Shakespearean thriller.