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|Index||31 reviews in total|
Some "amazing stories" were actually just rehashes of old ideas, but some, such as "The Mission", were superbly written, directed, and are worth seeking out. To add to their appeal, some top-notch actors are involved to bring an extra dimension to the story. Worth seeing.
Spielburg is truly one of our cinematic giants and were so lucky to have him. I remember that he said that he based Raiders Of The Lost Ark on all those cliffhanger movie serials that he saw as a kid. He is like a person with the mind of a genius and the heart of a child. Amazing Stories was his contribution to television and this series has been unfairly forgotten. It should have run longer and I am glad some of the episodes are out on video. It was imaginative and daring just like the movies Speilburg directed. It told different stories every week and used some of our finest actors in the roles. The one that touched my heart the most was one about a man who was a soldier in World War II and came home resented by his little girl. She wandered off in the woods during a picnic and was lost forever. Years later, when the old man's wife is on her deathbed, he hears a knock at the door and he opens it to see his little girl. She has come for her mother and takes her away. This was one of the most moving stories that I have ever seen and it almost brings tears to my eyes thinking of it even now. Some episodes were dramatic and some were funny but the point is that all were masterful and original. Fred Allen once said "No wonder they call tv a medium, nothing on it is ever well done". I think even Fred would have loved Amazing Stories.
Some great episodes, some pretty horrible. Just today I and the kids watched a videotape I made some years ago of four episodes, including THE RING, THE DOLL, SANTA and GHOST TRAIN. Spielberg himself directed GHOST TRAIN, and it stars a young, pre-WOMAN IN WHITE Lukas Haas and Blossom Roberts of HOME ALONE fame. It tells the tale of a house built directly in the path of a "death" train. It is by far the best of this quartet. THE RING isn't half-bad, mainly because we get to watch real-life spouses Danny Devito and Rhea Perlman ham it up in a wickedly funny episode about possession and attempted murder. SANTA is far too predictable, with the real Santa arrested as a burglar and his rescue by a young believer. It's been done before, and better, although it does feature the great character actor Pat Hingle as a bah-humbug sheriff. THE DOLL is a lot better, and features a pre-3RD ROCK FROM THE SUN John Lithgow turning on the schmaltz as a lonely guy in search of love. I suspect, without having checked lately, that the series must be on DVD. It would be worth it only for certain episodes.
Steven Spielberg produced, wrote, came up with ideas for and even
directed episodes of Amazing Stories, so naturally this would have to
be the greatest anthology ever right? Unfortunately wrong. Some
episodes are just fantastic, but all too often it was a mixed bag. In
fact, that might have been it's downfall is it was way too mixed. Some
episodes were light comedies, some were dramas, some were horror, and
one was even animated, which made this a similar, but not as good 80s
version of the Twilight Zone (which also was around).
Normally I'd like having a mixture of stories in an anthology show, but they just didn't fully work here. Some of the more fantastical dramatic episodes felt like they would be better being shown late on night on the Lifetime network, like the episode "Ghost Train", which was directed by Spielberg himself. In that episode, it gave the message of hope, and gave us a fantasy story, but overall it was just a build up to the ending which didn't blow me away anyways. The horror episodes tended to work better than the drama, but there were far more dramatic ones, and they grow tiring to watch. Acting wise, this anthology got some big stars, similar to the original Twilight Zone. Kevin Costner, Kiefer Sutherland, Milton Berle, Dom Deluise, Harvey Keitel, Beau Bridges, Charlie Sheen, Forrest Whitaker, Tim Robbins, John Lithgow, Rhea Perlman, Danny Devito, Patrick Swayze, Christopher Lloyd, June Lockhart, Kathy Baker, Weird Al Yankovich and many other well knowns have been in episodes of the show. It's fun to see well known actors in almost every episode of the series. Great directors have also had part in episodes including Spielberg himself, Clint Eastwood, Burt Reynolds, Bob Clark, Joe Dante, Mick Garris, Paul Bartel, Joe Dante, Robert Zemeckis, Danny Devito and even Martin Scorsese. I'd actually recommend this more to fans of the directors and/or the 80s than anyone else.
Amazing Stories was sometimes amazing, usually good, occasionally mediocre, and every once in a while a real stinker came out. But, this show has nostalgic value to me, and it's sort of fun to sit on boring afternoons and watch some episodes. John Williams' theme music for the show is sure to be caught in anyone's head who watches this, too.
My rating: Good show. 30 mins. per episode. TVPG
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I have very vague memories of watching Amazing Stories when it aired on
BBC during weekday early afternoons. I loved it as a child and when I saw
the Sci-Fi Channel was showing repeats some time ago I had to tune in to
if this show that I remebered so dearly was really as good as I thought.
was! And as a 20 year old adult I loved it even more.
Amazing Stories is a prime example of good quality TV. The basis of the show was that it was kind of a modern day family version of the Twilight Zone, each week the viewer was shown a different story. Some episodes were weak, true, but most were amazing and AS will forever be one of my favourite TV shows.
AS had a breath taking musical score - many famous composers were brought in to score the episodes. It also had excellent photography and direction, not to mention great writing and a talented cast (people like John Lilthgow, Rhea Pearlman, and Hayley Mills all appeared in random episodes). Each story was unique and while not always "amazing" the show never failed to entertain me. The varity of stories was very wide. Some were tragic, some were scary, and some where comedy based but each episode always gave the viewer a new outlook on the universe.
Some good episodes that nobody else has mentioned that are really worth seeing are "Lane Change", where a middle aged woman is shown important events in her life as she drives along the freeway with a hitch-hiker she picked up who turns out to be herself 30 years into the future. Other good episodes are "Blue Man Down", where a police officer is struggling to cope with the death of his partner which he was partly responcible for. "Boo!" is a lighthearted romp about two spirits who don't like the crude new tenants that have taken over their house and "You've Gotta Believe Me" is a haunting tale about a man who predicts a plane crash in his nightmares. Each episode was original and exciting. I long for this wonderful series to be released fully on DVD so I can enjoy it properly again and again. 5 stars all the way!
ever since the sci-fi revival started, i've been wondering if they would ever try another crack at the amazing stories series. i don't know if anyone has seen the new twilight zone series or any of these other 'hack' type shows... but when i think about the best shows since the original twilight zone and outer limits (which are THE BEST) this series is the best thing to happen since those shows went off the air. writing, acting, production value (for its day) are all way above the mark of anything to happen since. the only other show that i remember being EXCELLENT is the short lived jim henson show- and i can't even remember its name. this show along with northen exposure, star trek tng, and a very, very select few make up the creme of the crop of shows since the 80's. oh yeah, of course the x-files had some 'amazing stories-esque' episodes, but 'amazing' was and is the only true modern fantasy series of greatness!!!!!!!! yay!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When it was in syndication, AMAZING STORIES was my favorite show. Some of the stories were scary, some weren't. Some were inventive, some weren't. Some were funny, and some weren't. That was the great thing about this show. Each week it would either be a good episode or a bad episode, but the show was always different, interesting and entertaining. Though it was short-lived, it seems to have a somewhat small cult following, which is well deserved. Out of all the anthology series that have come and gone over the years, this one is probably the most underrated. I'd love to see it come back in some form or another. 7/10
As my 175th review, I chose this as I was given the Season 1 set for
Christmas & have been looking at this series for the first time. I
remember the ads for it years ago, but never watched it because the NBC
people moved the series around so much that I could never find out when
it was on.
In the season 1 shows, the first 6 episodes were really solid. Then the next 6 tailed off. The third 6 got better again. I have not watched the last 6 yet. The DVD's do feature some deleted scenes though so far the deleted scenes i have looked at have not been anything major.
What this series did have was names & not just Spielberg's - consider Clint Eastwood directing an episode with Sondra Locke in it. Mark Hammil does an episode,Kevin Costner, Sid Ceasar, Milton Berle, & others.
The episodes range from cute - Aliens touring Hollywood to World War 2 Missions to depression era stuff to the Alamo. The good thing is Spielberg did not try to get corny & do a Rod Sterling type of introduction to each one. This gave him a little more time to develop plots than Sterling format. Actually the aliens, the Alamo & the VooDoo sitter are pretty good.
The bad news is that some of the plots are quite predictable. Given the overall quality of the DVD I have seen though, the DVDs are the way to watch these. I think too many commercials are put in on the Science Fiction channel & these shows make no sense when they are shortened at all. In fact, I would not be surprised that even when they ran on NBC they were shortened too which is why the series failed.
Even with predictable plots, The DVD sticks a lot into each episode so shortening these hurts them.
Fresh off a slough of big-screen success,filmmaker Steven Spielberg put
his name and money(along with others such as Bob Gale and Robert
Zemekis)behind this short-lived NBC TV project in the mid-1980s. Meant
to be a more fanciful,less grim and ambitious "Twilight Zone" or "The
Outer Limits",this show couldn't seem to settle on either a half-hour
or hour format,and after two seasons simply could not afford to keep
running(not to mention having fading viewer-ship)and went off the air.
It was soon repackaged in two-hour movie forms,combining episodes that
were released on Video and to cable TV. KInd of a shame for the
ambition and possibilities this show offered,but not a surprise really.
Some episodes that stick with me(And I actually haven't seen ALL of them,but I've caught quite a few):the elderly couple whose long-missing 7-year-old daughter returns to them;the 1930s comic-book collector who leaves his family behind to chase his bliss,only to find himself become a poor,perceivably unstable eccentric;a teenager who discovers a way to make 1-dimensional images come off paper and become real;a hen-pecked husband who chances upon a remote control that brings the characters in the t.v. LITERALLY inside his home and a mystical Jamaican babysitter whose magic puts two bratty kids in their place. The stories were interesting and memorable,but for me,the thing that probably salts this show away in my mind was the rousing theme by long-time Spielberg collaborator John Williams. It had more of the feel of a large screen experience when you heard it open the show!
Whenever these shows make it to DVD(assuming they haven't already),they would be WELL worth a rent and/or buy.
I was 26 years old when "Amazing Stories" was on TV. My co-workers and I always talked about it the next day at work. Everyone I knew loved the show...it always gave us something great to talk about and almost always made us really, really laugh. Everyone got involved in the conversations and it was always in a positive way. Some of the shows were serious...some were very touching...and some were absolutely hilarious. But they were all very clever in one way or another. They remind me of "Tales from the Crypt" and "The Twilight Zone. Two very, very, very funny episodes were "Head of the Classs" and the one with the college boys with the pink goop in Science class. They were the two that were our favorites. Who couldn't help but repeat the line "Kiss me and I'm yours forever"? Or how about "Mr. Braaaaaad"? I did, however, miss the magnetic episode. And even from just hearing about it really tickled me. I remember laughing so hard that tears were running down my face when the people at work told me about it. I would really love to be able to see that one. Even after twenty years, I still find myself bringing up the show for some good reason or another. I miss the show very much, and I'm sitting on pins and needles waiting for it to come out on DVD.
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