Though they share the same title, this series is not linked to the Friday the 13th movie series. The main characters search for magically-cursed objects that were sold through their uncle's store. Reportedly, the last item that was supposed to be retrieved by the characters in the series finale was to be a hockey mask which would undoubtedly have belonged to Jason Vorhees. While the show's crew did play with the idea of having a hockey mask in one of the episodes as an in-joke, there was never any serious intention to tie the film series with the television series.
Controversial when it first aired for the level of violence in the series, which pushed the envelope for the time and shocked some viewers. Crusaders campaigned against it, some mistakenly believing it was an extension of the movie series. Two other syndicated series of the period, "Freddy's Nightmares" and "War of the Worlds" were also criticized for violence. In the long run, sex and violence on mainstream and cable TV caught up and outran them, and in retrospect these once-controversial shows now seem tame and restrained.
Every season had 26 episodes. However the third season was cut short due to the abrupt decision to cancel the show. The cast and crew were informed about the ending of the series while they were filming the 20th episode of the third season, which ended up being the series finale. The cancellation was so sudden that they were unable to film more episodes or more scenes that would provide some kind of closure.
Louise Robey (always credited as Robey) was the actress who appeared in most of the episodes of the series. There were totally 70 episodes produced and Micki Foster appears in all of them, the only exception being "The Butcher" during the second season.
Throughout the three year run of the series it was customary for many actors to appear in multiple episodes but as different characters. An actor playing a lead character in a first season episode could appear again as a minor character in the latter seasons.
In total there were four episodes dealing with time travel. It was an artistic choice for the past scenes to be filmed either in colored photography or in black and white. Two of these episodes, specifically the "Baron Bride" where Micki and Ryan travel back to Victorian London and "Hate on your Dial" where Jack and Johnny go back to 1954 in some racist south state, are shot in black and white. The other two episodes, specifically "Eye of Death" where Ryan travels back to the Civil War between North and South and the last episode of the series where Micki goes back to Europe of the 18th century retain the colored photography.
The only object that Micki and Ryan sold themselves was the cursed doll which appeared in the series premiere. The rest of the antiques were sold by Uncle Lewis and they were conveniently registered in the manifest. Many artifacts were procured by an unknowing Jack during his trips to Europe. However some antiques were gifted by Lewis to some users. Apart from the cursed antiques the leads also retrieved some items with supernatural properties but which were not owned by Lewis.
Ryan and Micki weren't acquainted until the series premiere. It is also established that none of them had personally met Uncle Lewis. Because Lewis never left a will, Micki and Ryan inherited the antique shop simply because they were the closest relatives.
Rashid was a friend of Jack with thorough occult knowledge, who appeared in the first season finale, and the second season premiere. The original intention in the storylines was that Rashid would be incorporated as a regular cast member in the second season. The producers eventually backed out of this plan when they decided that Rashid could not fit in with the other three leads and his background and knowledge of the supernatural realm could not be perceptible by the audience.
Although John D. LeMay is the only main cast member of the TV series to later be in one of the Friday the 13th movies, John Shepherd played Tommy Jarvis in the fifth film of the movie series, and later a constable in the "Baron's Bride" episode of the TV series.
The third season premiere was originally broadcast as a two hour TV movie. In syndicated reruns the episode is divided in two separate parts. Although John D. Le May wanted to leave the series after the second season he made an arrangement with the producers to appear in the third season premiere so that the series could resolve the storyline of Ryan.
It is said that the original plan was to end the series after five seasons. The series finale would have had Marshal discovering a spell that could reverse the curse on the objects collected back throughout the show.
The character of Johnny Ventura had made sporadic appearances during the second season, assisting the leads in their pursuit of some antiques. He also appeared as a guest star in the third season premiere which essentially served as a bridge between the two periods in the series (before and after the departure of John D. Le May). After the third season premiere, actor Steven Monarque became a full time regular and was credited in the opening titles. Therefore John replaced Ryan as the third member of the investigators of cursed items.
Before the series was cancelled, There were plans for the fourth season to introduce a secret society of paranormal investgators who would come into contact with the three main cast members. Miguel Fernandes who first started in the first season would have been cast as one of the leaders of the investgators.
The trivia item below may give away important plot points.
Although the recurring character of Johnny Ventura was supposed to make guest appearances during the second season he eventually became a regular. According to interviews from the cast and crew John D. Le May wanted to move to other projects. He made an arrangement with the producers to appear in the third season premiere so they could wrap his storyline. The initial broadcast of the third season premiere was a two hour TV movie, however in syndicated reruns the two episodes are shown separately. The producers dictated for the character of Ryan to be written out but they did not want to kill him off in order not to upset the audience. Johnny Ventura made a guest appearance in these episodes which eventually served as a bridge between the second and the third season. After Ryan was transformed to a child Johnny took his place in the team as the third member, therefore becoming a full time regular for the remainder of the third season.