In a year where their actions keep making us ask "why are men?"; As we keep sharing clickbait stories about women's-only villages with the caption "where do I sign up?"—we need New Eden. The eight-episode series, streaming on Crave TV starting January 1, is a true crime mockumentary about a women's-only cult in late-1970s BC.
It sounds wild—and trust, it is. But it's also funny and comforting and a deep dive into the inner workings—and dysfunctions—of intense female friendships.
Imagine two best friends who looked like Thelma and Louise but acted like the Blues Brothers. Then, imagine they started a women's-only commune on a whim. Predictably, they're in over their heads pretty quick.
What's less predictable? When the dead bodies start showing up.
Former Picnicface star Evany Rosen plays Grace Lee Hardware (along with having co-writer, co-creator and co-show runner credits). Dressed like Cher in the '70s, she's charismatic and warm while leaning hard into a hillbilly accent that'll make you laugh against your will. Opening the series next to her co-leader/ride-or-die Katherine Wryfield (played by Kayla Lorette), she introduces herself with her sort-of drawl. "Your last name's not Hardware, your parents just owned a hardware store—you told me that," Wryfield scathes. "Mind like a steel trap, that one," Grace replies to the camera.
Cut between faux interviews of cult survivors, journalists who covered the story and Grace and Katherine's own accounts of the commune are deepfake-feeling newsreels and footage shot from within the compound by a member who was a film school dropout. "The term we kept using on set was 'feeling like an authentic cultural object,' which I hate saying but it's true. We even used three different kinds of cameras to bring the story's three eras to life," Rosen says.
While watching, the attention to detail is so seamlessly meticulous you almost wonder if this was a major, national news story you forgot about—until the absolute ludicrousness of Katherine and Grace cracks you up again.
"We realized all we needed to create paradise was eliminate Adam and his snake," Grace begins, draping herself across her chair inside the correctional facility where she and Katherine have been since the early '80s. "That's his penis! Get it? That was pretty good." She high-fives herself as Katherine sits, stoney faced.
"We trusted the comedy would come and come from characters, so we just started with this air-tight true crime story," Rosen says, adding that she and Lorette workshopped the script over three years to make sure the story's layers dovetail perfectly and that the show had "a high re-watchability factor."
"We worked on grounding the relationship and how these women relate to each other," Rosen adds, explaining why, when the show's plot line begins to rise and fall like a rollercoaster, it never feels like too much. "We wrote a lot from an improv space, a character space."
She adds: "The whole thing is just a great, stupid joke we wrote and now all these people keep helping us make it."