“Shining Girls,” the new Apple TV+ series featuring Elizabeth Moss as a survivor of an attempted murder by a serial killer, is a compelling blend of sci-fi and detective story. Creator Silka Luisa became a huge fan of Lauren BeukesThe 2013 novel on which the series relies precisely for its mixture of genres and the way the author approached the subject. “I felt like I had never read anything like this before,” says Luisa in an exclusive new interview for Gold Derby. Watch the full interview with the creator/producer/writer above.
The series follows Moss’ character, Kirby, as she tries to make sense of her life, often having her reality shift before her eyes. Over time, we learn that his attempted murder of Harper (Jaime Bell) is a time traveler who has claimed many victims over nearly a century. Because she survived, Kirby is inherently affected by Harper’s choices. The show is intentionally disorienting for the first few episodes, putting us exactly in Kirby’s mindset. “When she understands things, you understand things,” notes the showrunner. “When she starts to get a better sense of herself, so do you.”
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Luisa was also acutely aware of the more troubling tropes that come from serial killer shows, having deep conversations with her cast members about exactly what should and shouldn’t be shown on screen. “The show lives in the aftermath of the violence,” she says. “It’s not about glorifying it or making it gratuitous or celebrating it.” She also knew that due to the sci-fi and mystery elements in the show’s conceit, its themes of trauma and violence against women wouldn’t be too hard to bear. “It’s like the sugar that keeps you coming back and engaging with the show, so you can actually connect with the characters and talk about these things without it feeling like a lesson.”
“Shining Girls” marks Luisa’s first series as showrunner, an ambitious undertaking given the number of narrative threads. Luckily, she was surrounded by strong collaborators like Moss, who got involved early enough to allow her to figure out exactly where to take Kirby and the rest of the series. “We walked through the trenches together, we built the show together,” the creator explains, “So you have an ally who actually understands what you’re trying to do and why.”
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