Why did the creators of “Wicked City” set the show in Los Angeles in the 1980s?

In 1982, the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles was the murder and serial killer capital of the country. Those were the heady days of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll that gave birth to bands like Van Halen, Ratt, and Motley Crue. With that backdrop, the creative team behind Wicked City (2015) is instantly given license to create loud, flashy, trashy, and dangerous stories. Showrunner and Executive Producer Amy B. Harris told the Los Angeles Times, “We want you to live in series, not feel like you’re watching a museum piece.”

The dynamic setting informs the storytelling. With a unique and singular environment such as the Sunset Strip in the 80s, viewers can be drawn into the whole world of the show almost as if they were entering a rich science fiction or fantasy world. “It’s really important to us to bring in the real world into our fiction and bring out fiction into the real world,” creator and executive producer Steven Baigelman said at the Television Critics Association summer press tour. “When you watch the show, you’re not going to watch it from the place of nostalgia, you’re actually going to feel like they’re there.”

Focusing on the show’s setting in this immediate, immersive way, instead of through a nostalgic lens, allows viewers from all demographics (including the much sought-after millennials) into the narrative. As long as the creative and production team can achieve that real-time feel and avoid looking stale or dated, viewers can feel free to lose themselves in the story, rather than feel that they have unearthed a time capsule.