Cult was a series on the The CW about a community run by the enigmatic Billy Grimm, and Kelly Collins, a former member who became a cop who was convinced Billy was planning to get revenge on her for leaving, using her family who were still members. It was produced by Steven Rae, an enigmatic figure who never appears in public.
Wait, let's try this again.
Cult was a series on The CW about a hit television show about Billy Grimm and Kelly Collins. Former reporter Jeff Sefton is drawn into a bizarre conspiracy when his brother disappears after leaving several cryptic hints relating to the show. Along with Skye Yarrow, a research assistant on the series who has grown unnerved by the disturbing levels of devotion some of its fans have, he discovers that the line between fact and fiction around the show is far from clear, and who knows how far this rabbit hole goes? It is produced by Rockne S. O'Bannon, the creator of Farscape.
The CW aired 7 of the 13 episodes filmed and dropped the program from its lineup in April, 2013.
This series contains examples of:
- Arc Words:
- "You're next."
- In-universe: "Oh hey, these things just snap right off."
- Backmasking: The end of episode three reveals that the "weird" sound design on the Show Within a Show includes messages that only reveal themselves when played backwards and slowed down substantially. One such message is, "Kill for us."
- Biting-the-Hand Humor: The in-universe CW network president seems almost proud of the fact that he kept around Gossip Girl for more than one season. Bonus points for being produced by the same company as GG.
- Couch Gag / Freeze-Frame Bonus: In addition to the creator's credit shifting between Rockne S. O'Bannon and Steven Rae for split seconds at a time, the intertitle ends with a quick flash of some phrase or symbol that's important in that episode.
- Cult: Of course — both Billy's "family" on the Show Within a Show, and the "True Believers" in the "real world".
- Dirty Cop: The story that got Jeff fired from the Washington Post exposed a bunch of DC cops as this. This contributes somewhat to the unhelpfulness of the chief investigating officer who keeps showing up besides the fact that she's a member of the cult.
- Famous Last Words: "Oh hey, these things just snap right off." -Many, many people.
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Nate to Jeff, respectively.
- The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You
- The Ghost: Steven Rae, the creator of the Show Within The Show.
- Gory Discretion Shot: The network president in episode 2.
- He Knows Too Much: Implied to be the cause of Skye's father's disappearance.
- Madness Mantra: See Famous Last Words above.
- Mind Screw: Good luck figuring out what's part of the fake show...and what's part of the real one.
- The Mole: Detective Sakelik is a cult member.
- Parental Abandonment: Between the two main characters' back-stories, three parents are either missing or dead.
- Room Full of Crazy: More than one, both in the Show Within a Show and outside of it
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Part of Jeff's backstory, and the reason he was fired from The Washington Post.
- Sexy Surfacing Shot: In "The Prophecy of St. Clare", Roger watches Kirstie going for a swim at the pool and then climb out of the pool later in a bikini.
- Shower Scene: Skye gets one in "The Kiss", shot with Shoulders-Up Nudity. She also gets a hallucination of roger coming at her with a knife.
- Show Within a Show: Possibly the ultimate example of this.
- Sigil Spam: Mild version, but you can easily identify the crazed Cult fans by the distinctive nested-square tattoos they wear. It's even found in the show's customized Fake Empire vanity plate, and one logo for the show is the letters in the title arranged in the nested-square style.
- Title Drop: Given the Show Within a Show nature, this happens repeatedly.
- The Walrus Was Paul: One of the most extreme examples around. See Mind Screw above.