“Cruel Summer,” the latest offering from actress-turned-producer Jessica Biel, is taking Freeform by storm! The Hollywood Reporter notes that the premiere of the ‘90s-set psychological thriller ranks as the network’s “most watched series debut ever.” With a fluid timeline and narrative, killer retro soundtrack and gripping central mystery, it is no surprise audiences are flocking to watch.
The engrossing story begins on June 21, 1993, the 15th birthday of self-proclaimed “nerdy” high schooler Jeanette Turner (Chiara Aurelia). As the dynamic timeline flips and flops between 1993, 1994 and 1995, we see Jeanette transform – first into the most popular girl in town after the former queen bee, Kate Wallis (Olivia Holt), goes missing and Jeanette seemingly and seamlessly takes her place, and then into the most hated woman in the world upon Kate’s return almost a year later when it is revealed that Jeanette knew of her whereabouts but told no one.
Portrayed from the points of view of both leading ladies, “Cruel Summer,” which airs Tuesday nights on Freeform and is available for streaming the following day via Hulu, is a dizzying ride of endless twists, turns and shifting sympathies.
Set in the fictional small town of Skylin, Texas, the production was actually lensed throughout Dallas and its environs. A few of the local spots used include The Charles E. Struwe Building at 617 W. State St. in Garland, which plays Skylin Realty, where Jeanette’s father, Greg Turner (Michael Landes), works. The Interskate Roller Rink at 1408 S. State Hwy 121 in Lewisville is where both Jeanette and Kate spend their birthdays in episodes one and seven, respectively. Also in Lewisville is the Music City Mall at 2401 S. Stemmons Fwy, which appears numerous times on the series. And the Turner family’s ranch-style residence can be found at 13735 Sprucewood Cir. in Dallas’ Far North neighborhood.
The real star of the show, though, is the picturesque Colonial where Kate is held captive by Skylin High Assistant Principal Martin Harris (Blake Lee). Said to be at 324 Huntington Rd., in truth the sprawling estate can be found at 6306 Deloache Ave. in Dallas’ affluent Preston Hollow area. Built in 1938, the impressive pad features four bedrooms and five baths in a sprawling 6,745 square feet.