Panic release date: Cast, trailer and plot for Amazon’s YA novel adaptation

Teen series Panic is based on the 2014 Lauren Oliver novel of the same name.

Panic artwork Amazon series

Amazon’s latest novel adaptation Panic was written and created by the author of its source material, Lauren Oliver. So, if die-hard fans aren’t happy with how the young-adult book has been treated, they might just have to lay blame on their own imaginations this time.

Advertisement

The 10-part Amazon series, which sees teens take part in life-or-death challenges in the pursuit of a better life, may scream “Hunger Games” to some viewers but Oliver has dismissed any comparisons.

Way back in 2014, the author told MTV she wished her book was like Suzanne Collins’s trilogy. “It’s completely realistic, so the book takes place in modern times and it does not read, unfortunately for me, anything like the ‘Hunger Games’,” she said.

Read on for everything we know about the series so far.

Panic release date on Amazon

All 10 hour-long episodes launch on Amazon Prime on 28th May 2021.

Panic trailer

Yes, and some of those challenges sure do look dangerous…

Panic cast

Protagonist Heather Nill is played by Olivia Welch (Unbelievable), while Oliver’s least favourite character, Ray, is portrayed by Ray Nicholson (who plays a small supporting role in popular 2020 film Promising Young Woman).

Also starring are Skins’s Jessica Sula, Enrique Murciano (Miss Congeniality 2, Black Hawk Down), Mike Faist and Camron Jones.

What is Panic about?

Panic is set in a small, poor Texas town where, each year, graduating seniors take part in dangerous challenges as part of a game called Panic. The winner takes home a life-changing sum of money, enabling them to access a better life and leave the dead-end town.

This year, the prize is bigger than ever, and the game is even more dangerous (which is saying something, considering that two teens died playing it the previous year).

Heather Nill wants to win in order to go to college, but her best friend is doing everything she can to dissuade her from taking part. Meanwhile, the town’s police are intent on shutting the game down.

How is Panic different to the book?

While having Panic’s author at the helm will likely result in a fairly faithful adaptation, Oliver has admitted that she had to rethink aspects of the book when adapting it for the small screen.

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, the author recalled that she previously said that all her characters had three-dimensional arcs apart from Ray, who she jokingly describes as a “piece of s**t”.

“When we cast Ray Nicholson, the more I saw him, I just did not believe that you would be committed to or even credibly believe over time that he is that villain. And that had to re-inform the entire arc of the character,” she said.

“And it’s not due to his acting, it’s just due to the depth that he was able to bring that actually galvanised me to stop being lazy. I mean in real life, very few people are cardboard cutouts. And people who are very uninteresting to watch on TV.”

Advertisement

Read our guides to the best Amazon Prime series and the best movies on Amazon Prime. Take a look at our other Drama coverage, or check out our TV guide to find out what’s on telly tonight.