MUTANT HIGH

(Sci-fi, Supernatural, Thriller)

 

A state-of-the-art bio lab “accidentally” infects a local high school tour group with a powerful mutant pathogen. The students are told to continue living their lives as if everything is normal – but the lives of teenagers are never normal. Their bodies, their minds, and their relationships have been going through drastic changes already. Now those changes are about to take on epic proportions. New identities. New powers. New problems.

 

These supercharged teens are about to experience high school drama on an entirely new scale.

THE PREMISE

 

Mutation doesn’t work the way you think it works. It’s technically an infectious disease.

 

Once infected, what happens next depends entirely on you. Your mutation will be influenced by your unique identity: your desires, your fears, your loves, your pet peeves, your secret hopes, and your wildest dreams. It could be very good. It could be very bad. But whatever it is – it’s best to keep it on the down low.

 

THE PACT AND THE PROBLEM

 

Why keep your newfound powers secret? Because every mutant at your school agrees that if anybody finds out, you all might get put back into quarantine – or worse. But how long can you keep a secret like this, in a town like this?

 

The town’s perfectionist parents scrutinize every detail of their children’s lives. But the parents aren’t as perfect as they seem, and their children aren’t as one-dimensional as they pretend to be. These kids are already pretty good at keeping secrets about themselves.

 

This is a high school drama where the usual cast of characters (the jock, the cheerleader, the nerd, etc.) turn out to be a lot deeper and more complicated than we expected. The jock’s secretly gay. The cheerleader’s running a pyramid scheme. The nerd’s got a gambling addiction. And their developing mutant powers will reflect their distinctly unique identities – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

 

THE AGENTS

 

Government agents recently came to town to question people at the school. They claim to be investigating financial irregularities, but the agents seem less interested in money and more interested in the students. They’re asking a lot of questions about the students’ soaring test scores and record-breaking sports feats. After intensive interrogations, these agents will uncover the town’s secrets one by one, from the complex identities of the mutating students to the scandalous lives of their helicopter parents. Beneath the perfect town, there’s intrigue at every turn. This aspect of the story has similarities to Gossip Girl and Riverdale.

 

THE STYLE

 

This is a sci-fi, supernatural thriller with similarities to The Gifted, Freakish, The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead, Z Nation, and Legion. It is designed to spawn its own TV universe of superheroes, with back stories unfolding through a stylized mockumentary framework. Filmed in a style similar to The Office and Modern Family, this will be a fresh take on the sci-fi/superhero/thriller genre. Key characters will speak directly to the viewer during faux-documentary interview scenes to contextualize the action.

 

For Mutant High, the major events of the season/school year will be framed and narrated by students and parents who are speaking to the camera while being interviewed by government agents during an increasingly intricate investigation. The dialogue is fast-paced and witty, and the plot is a dramatic rollercoaster.

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IMPORTANT CHARACTERS

 

Dr. Janice Kule

 

Dr. Kule has an extraordinarily high IQ and a surprisingly low EQ. She’s a scientific genius who is completely clueless when it comes to human emotions. Case in point: Her research partner, Dr. Li, has been in love with her for the past five years – yet she’s never picked up on the signs. Dr. Kule is too busy studying her mutant pathogen to notice anything else.

 

For years, she’s been begging for a chance to commence human trials with her mutant formula. But Westman Biotech has banned human experimentation, and the government has outlawed human tests. Luckily, Dr. Kule is smart enough to think of a way around this obstacle. She arranges a high school tour of the facility, and when all the teens are captive inside, she plans to stage an accident to spread the mutant infection. Of course, she and Dr. Li will also be infected, but she is confident (thanks to her complete inability to understand human emotions) that this is the perfect scenario for history’s first human-mutant trials. According to her scientifically rigorous yet crazy plan, she and Dr. Li will help the students learn to control their mutations by controlling their individual desires. But she’s about to find out that desires are very hard to control.

 

Casey Westman

 

It’s 2018 and everybody’s out of the closet – except for Casey Westman. The son of Westman Biotech’s CEO, John Westman, Casey is the town hero. He plays hard, grooms well, and dresses sharp off the field. As the football team’s captain and quarterback, he’s the face of the school. His solid, two-year relationship with Summer Morris, captain of the cheerleading team, has created the most legendary power couple that high school has ever known. But Summer secretly hates him, and Casey is secretly gay. He’s too afraid of his father – and of Summer – to ever tell anyone the truth about himself. But soon his true desires will become too hard to cover up. And they’ll express themselves in ways no one could predict.

 

When his body begins to produce intensified hormones and pheromones, every male on campus suddenly finds themselves inexplicably attracted to Casey Westman. He’s got to learn how to control this new mutation or else it’s going to be really hard to stay in the closet. Meanwhile, as his fellow football players experience their own mutations, they are about to revolutionize the game. Football will never be the same again as the team develops enhanced athletic abilities.

 

Summer Morris

 

The most popular girl in school has turned her beauty into a brand. At seventeen, Summer’s already running a six figure profit in her latest business venture. It turns out that failing AP Economics doesn’t disqualify you from economic success. Cheerleading’s just a front for Summer, like her trophy boyfriend Casey. She’s using her massive popularity to sell makeup, but it’s much more than that. Summer’s constructed an elaborate pyramid scheme that seems to have taken in most of the town’s female population. It’s almost a religious movement, and, as Summer mutates, so will the scope of her business ambitions. With brains and beauty enhanced by mutation, there’s no limit to what Summer might accomplish.

 

Meanwhile, the rest of the cheerleaders are developing almost other-worldly gymnastic abilities as a result of their mutations. They’re about to take cheerleading, and popularity, to an entirely new level.

 

Brandon Alexander

 

The school nerd used to spend all his time gaming, until gaming lost its thrill. He graduated to online gambling, where the stakes were higher. Since then, he’s won and lost millions of dollars, all in a day’s play. When people see him in the halls absorbed in his phone or laptop, they don’t realize just how much money is on the line. For Brandon, games are only fun if the stakes keep getting higher.

 

As his brain begins to mutate, he develops a new take on probability theory that’s going to turn him into an underworld gambling kingpin. But other nerds – most notably the chess team and the computer geeks – are developing new strategies to challenge him. Now a group of mentally enhanced, teenaged brainiacs are competing to take control of the town’s seedy underbelly, and, to Brandon, the odds are looking better by the second.

 

Lillian Washington

 

This former YouTube and Instagram star lost her mojo in sophomore year. Her old videos would get ten million views a week, minimum. Now she struggles for half that. She’s a natural influencer, but she yearns for new platforms, beyond social media, to make an even larger impact. She wants to influence people in unexpected ways, and her mutation is about to give her an astounding boost. When she develops the ability to project her emotions onto others, she’ll use her new powers to create an innovative form of feelings-based social media. It’s way more intense than a live-stream. Lillian’s every mood is about to go viral.

 

Jax Smith

 

Jax has a hot-headed passion for the truth and a deep yearning to make himself heard. As the head of the school’s newspaper, he finds himself quarantined with his fellow classmates while reporting on a field trip at Westman Biotech’s famous lab. The students are told that an accident has exposed them to a pathogen, and that they must remain in quarantine to be examined. Their phones have been taken from them, and they are completely cut off from the outside world. Yet Jax somehow gets the feeling that if he closes his eyes and thinks hard enough, he’ll be able to get a 4G connection without a phone. Soon the school’s online newspaper begins mysteriously posting updates from Jax. He’s got evidence that this lab accident wasn’t really an accident after all.

 

Dr. Li Bing

 

When Dr. Li discovers that Dr. Kule orchestrated the accident, he is horrified. Suddenly, the two of them – and a large group of unsuspecting teenagers – are about to start potentially mutating out of control. He shows Dr. Kule a secret protocol sent to Westman Biotech by the military: If any humans exhibit evidence of being infected with the mutant pathogen, the entire facility – along with every infected human – will be destroyed by a drone strike.

 

Dr. Li thinks it will be best to cover up the accident and keep their potential mutations secret. He and Dr. Kule finally convince the students that this is the only way they have any hope of surviving.

 

But when government agents show up at the lab and the school, the ensuing investigation is about to uncover all of the town’s dirty laundry. Luckily the students have a plan: the only way to hide their own secrets is to give up somebody else’s. And their parents have enough secrets to keep the government investigators occupied for years.

 

The Parents

 

This town is home to some of the richest and most distinguished families in the country. These parents are CEO’s, socialites, titans of industry, finance gurus, politicians – and everybody’s got dirt on everybody else. Guilty of crimes both small and large, these parents love to gossip about each other, and kids are fair game. So they put extra pressure on their children to be perfect.

 

Many of them try to micromanage their kids’ lives while actually knowing very little about the teens’ true personalities. It’s going to take a government investigation for these parents to learn who their children really are. And in the process, each of the parents will find themselves exposing their own darkest secrets. For example:

 

John Westman

 

The town’s premier business leader donated the money to build the high school right next to his flagship lab, Westman Biotech. But he’s hiding the fact that his latest research projects have yet to run a profit. He’s turned to embezzlement to keep everything going. If he gets wind of the secret human trials of his lab’s mutant pathogen, he might be able to turn his financial situation around. Or the project might attract so much unwanted government attention that it all collapses like a house of cards. Meanwhile, his relationship with his son is falling apart. Why won’t the boy listen? Why won’t the boy just do what his father tells him?

 

Gail Westman

 

The richest woman in town (and former high school beauty queen) has too much time on her hands these days. She’s developed a drinking problem and a phone addiction. She loves to keep tabs on everyone at the high school through their social media feeds, and she’s created a wide range of fake accounts for this purpose. Managing several digital identities at once is a hard task, especially after a few drinks, but she’s doing her best to pose as a hip, social media savvy teen. Her often-reposted personas are snarky and judgmental – instant social media gold. Government investigators will spend weeks tracking down her fictitious online accounts, and when they finally find the true identity of this gossipy, social media chameleon, she will prove to be their best source of information on the students they’re investigating.

 

Ajax Smith

 

Jax’s dad, Ajax, has all the trimmings of a successful businessman. He claims to be a day trader, but he mostly works at night, and the only thing he trades is narcotics. He’s never told his son the truth, because he doesn’t want to come off as a hypocrite. He puts a lot of pressure on the boy to do the right thing in life. When Ajax starts noticing changes in his son and the other kids at the high school, he becomes the first civilian to guess the truth. Something in their blood is giving them superhuman abilities. And if Ajax can figure out how to package it, that blood is about to be the most valuable street drug in history.

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All material ©2019 by Clint Miller