Tales of frightening and mythical monsters from Scottish folklore have been handed down from generation to generation. No matter how often those stories are told, though, the subject has fascinated scholars and citizens of that country for a very long time.

Sometimes, the legends and folklore of those magical and mysterious creatures has given writers and filmmakers plenty of inspiration to create stories that are just as memorable as those which inspired them.

One major example is the supernatural suspense series CALEDONIA, which premiered its first season last year on Youtube and brought viewers an incredible story of terror and crime as seen through the eyes of a very special group of police investigators.

Created by Amy Hoff, herself a longtime researcher of the monsters that populated Scottish folklore, CALEDONIA was based on a series of (as yet) unpublished crime novels that depict the story of those investigators and their pursuit of solving a rash of unsolved murders that have afflicted the city of Glasgow.

Along with each novel, the series depicts the unique culture and history that has come to define Scotland and its people.

Now, the incredible story that began in season 1 continues in CALEDONIA: MORTAL SOULS (the official title for season 2, based on the second book in the series). With its debut slated for sometime this Fall, season 2’s 10 episodes both expand the show’s existing storyline while shedding new light on the personal histories and backstories of the Scottish monsters that comprise a unique branch of a powerful international law enforcement agency. The series’ official season 2 trailer can be viewed at the end of this article.

This highly unique group of supernatural sleuths is led by Leah Bishop (played in season 2 by Alison Reid, taking over for actress Vharri Lavery, who was unavailable to reprise the role). Now fully incorporated into Interpol, Bishop leads a team comprised solely of some of Scotland’s most legendary and most frightening monsters, including the selkie (seal man or wereseal) Dorian Grey (Alasdair Reavey).

The show’s ensemble cast also features Christopher Stanley as Dorian’s brother Magnus, and Jan van der Black as Chief Superintendent Benandonner.

New to the series is Naziyah Mahmood as Nour-el-ain, who joins the Caledonia branch of Interpol from its bureau based in Dubai, U.A.E., and Linn Mattison as Lee Yoo Min, who joins the team by way of Seoul, South Korea. Rounding out the cast is Josh Layden as Scotland’s famed national poet Robert Burns.

Inspired by her time as a researcher of Scottish folklore and history, plus a series of unpublished books she worked on prior to the show’s production, Hoff was also inspired to bring CALEDONIA to the small screen by the country’s distinctive heritage and natural beauty. As she explains, those elements led to exciting possibilities for storytelling.

“This program was a long time coming! I study monsters; they are my specialty. After living for several years in Glasgow I wanted to write stories about the fantasy and folklore within the modern urban environment of Scotland. I wrote a series of urban fantasy detective novels, and each season has been the equivalent of one book. So far, we have done Caledonia and Mortal Souls,” she says.

Hoff feels that her expertise on the subject of Scotland’s mythical creatures and its rich history helps her add to CALEDONIA’s distinctiveness among many web series of its kind.

“You don’t often have an expert in mythology and folklore writing a program! Storytelling is a lost art, and media is the new way to share these legends with the world,” she says.

“The deep dedication we have to Scotland, especially Glasgow, and the folklore that is woven throughout this nation’s history are fairly obvious throughout. It’s a combination of horror, fantasy, and comedy storytelling that we hope to be doing for years to come.”

Although season 1’s production had its rough spots, Tachy Studios was so impressed by the potential CALEDONIA displayed that it decided to add its talents and expertise to production of the show’s sophomore season. For Hoff, the difference between seasons 1 and 2 will be clearly evident to those who watch.

“When we started, we were doing what we could with what we had. Now that we have Tachy onboard, Caledonia is starting to look the way it’s meant to in my mind and in the novels. Production has stayed the same in that we still economize our locations and get along very well with each other, as this group has always been friends with each other, so we do look forward to filming days. It’s wonderful, as I can focus on directing and the story now that we are working with Tachy.”

Despite the problems Hoff, her cast and crew encountered during production of season 1, CALEDONIA won over both fans of mystery/supernatural web series, and her peers throughout the industry.

Hoff’s hopes for the success of CALEDONIA, both as a literary and web series venture, are high. Along with having the book series published, she also hopes that CALEDONIA will eventually be the latest online series to make the leap from the web to TV.

“I really hope that this season will be amazing and an improvement over the last one. Having certain images in your head doesn’t necessarily mean you have the ability to translate them onto the screen, but I know that with Tachy Studios that we will have something more approximating what the novels are like.”

No matter how successful CALEDONIA is this season, or even beyond, Hoff’s series has already touched the lives of a vast and varied set of audiences; people who love not just exciting drama and suspense, but also those who seek to see themselves reflected through their favorite TV shows. As Hoff describes it, CALEDONIA is a show that does more than entertain people.

It’s one that shows that no matter how different we can be, or how weird things can get sometimes, we’re all part of the same team. “The theme of the show is friendship even in the strangest of situations.  We are very committed to diversity – race, sexual orientation, disability, etc – and Caledonia showcases all of this. It is often difficult to find this kind of representation in a genre show so we think it sets us apart.”

(Note: The series’ episodes, and all promotional trailers, are closed-captioned.)

ON THE WEB: www.caledoniaseries.co.uk

YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/user/CultClassicTheatre

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