1- From left, Pam Grier, Joshua J. Williams, Deborah Ayorinde, and Luke James attend Prime Video’s special screening for “THEM: THE SCARE” (Photo by Arnold Turner/Getty Images for Prime Video)

When discussing the best shows of 2024, “THEM: THE SCARE” (Prime Video) should be at the top of the list. Created, written and executive produced by Little Marvin, the second season of the anthology series is captivating. Though categorized in the horror genre, “THEM: THE SCARE” is more of a psychological thriller.

Set in Los Angeles circa 1991, the series is led by actress Deborah Ayorinde who plays LAPD Detective Dawn Reeve who is assigned to the case of a murdered foster mother. Determined to make sure her overzealous partner doesn’t immediately close the case and pin the crime on the wrong person, Reeve is steadfast in her belief that the gruesome scene is the work of a serial killer. As she pursues the connections between multiple horrific and unexplainable fatalities, Reeve soon finds a deeply personal connection to the crimes.

Prior to starring in both seasons of “THEM,” Ayorinde’s credits include “Riches” (Prime Video), “Truth Be Told” (Apple TV+), and the film “Fatherhood” with Kevin Hart. After previously referring to “THEM: Covenant” as one of the most emotionally challenging undertakings of her career, The Sentinel asked Ayorinde did she have any trepidations going into season 2.

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“I learned with the first season that I’m so much more capable than I ever thought I was. So, when Little Marvin called, I was like, you know what, let me roll my sleeves up. I’m here for the ride” she said.

Joshua J. Williams, Deborah Ayorinde, and Luke James at the special screening. (Photo by Arnold Turner/Getty Images for Prime Video)

“Because I learned to really trust him as a creative. And that’s big to say, because as an actor, you put your work in the hands of so many people [and there are] so many different processes that you’re not a part of, and you just hope and pray that it comes out well; and I learned very quickly with Little Marvin that it’s something that I don’t ever have to worry about.

“The first season was my first time working with him, [whereas with] this season, I knew whatever he was gonna cook up, it was going to be excellent.”

Detective Dawn Reeve is a very physically intensive role and Ayorinde tells the Sentinel that she’s “…ready to do more action. I’m ready to get my hands dirty. I love playing strong feminine characters. I love showing the world that femininity and strength are not separate from each other.”

Speaking of strong and feminine characters, accompanying Ayorinde in season 2 is legendary actress Pam Grier who plays Dawn’s mother, Athena. Renowned for her iconic blaxploitation films from the 1970s, Grier’s filmography spans over five decades.

3- Joshua J. Williams, Little Marvin, and Luke James. (Photo by Arnold Turner/Getty Images for Prime Video)

In “THEM: THE SCARE,” Athena’s secrets create a domino effect in the lives of Dawn and her son Kelvin “Kel” Reeve (played by Joshua J. Williams). When asked what drew her to the role, Grier shares, “Little Marvin had done season one with such exceptional writing, creativity, and rawness and I knew there would be even more for season 2.

“I had to reconnect with a lot of emotions that we normally protect ourselves from: fear, disappointment, surprise, cancer, and losing your life to aging; people don’t want to show aging or the other illnesses that are occurring in their lives like dementia and losing so many physical attributes that we have,” Grier said.

“Little Marvin said, ‘Let’s go for it’ and I had to be able to show it, bring it, do it, be it and he promised me he would be there. And we met the challenge and didn’t pull back” she added.

The breakout star of season 2 is Luke James. His acting is masterful and shouldn’t be overlooked during awards season. When asked how he was able to not only embody his character, Edmund Gaines, but also empathize with the villain he evolves into, James shares, “As an only child, as a loner, and typically the oddball in any group, I resonated with Edmund’s need and yearn to be seen” he said.

Deborah Ayorinde at the special screening hosted by Prime Video. (Photo by Arnold Turner/Getty Images for Prime Video)

“Imagine someone living this life, never hearing someone say ‘I love you’. There’s a constant struggle and a constant sense of rejection. As an actor, that’s dealt with rejection, I resonated with that. But to constantly deal with that your whole life, I truly felt for him” James said.

“I felt for the human being, and I saw the challenge to breathe life into who Little Marvin created. And I’m just so grateful that he was so open to the bags of ideas and memories that I had as a child.

“I remember everything. I remember all my safe spaces, and I remember all the spaces that weren’t so safe and how I felt the rage, and whatnot, of feeling alone, not knowing your purpose or why you’re here. That truly resonated with me,” he noted.

On the addition of iconic actress Pam Grier to the cast, James said, “As people of color, we stand on her shoulders. And in a sense, we get to witness history and the passing of the torch from her, the pioneer to Deborah, the successor. I got to watch that and be a part of this historic moment, and I’m so grateful.”

Concluding, James adds, “Little Marvin created a universe where we all get to see what we can do and I’m forever changed because of this experience. And I’m grateful to be taking this ride with Deborah [Ayorinde] and Ms. Pam Grier.”

“THEM: THE SCARE”  is streaming now on Prime Video.