Frank Nolan and Fay Peronivic find themselves in a mysterious all-night cafe following a brush with death - but they soon learn that they did, in fact, die, and have been brought back to ... See full summary »
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Frank Nolan and Fay Peronivic find themselves in a mysterious all-night cafe following a brush with death - but they soon learn that they did, in fact, die, and have been brought back to life by the cafe. Frank and Fay are given the opportunity to correct something in their lives that went wrong the first time, and upon their success, they stay on as the cafe's new cook and waitress. With the aid of Blackie, the enigmatic owner of the cafe, Frank and Fay find themselves dispensing hot coffee, daily specials, justice and second chances to the many imperiled and troubled souls that the cafe is somehow able to attract as it travels from place to place. Written by
Carson Maynard <email@example.com>
I first saw Nightmare Cafe when NBC had a special Wednesday "sneak preview" some weeks before it premiered in its fatal timeslot in the graveyard of shows, Friday nights. The pilot seemed stylish and imaginative, although the effects were less than state-of-the-art even for that time. Taking place all in the span of a single night, it had a very closed-in feeling. The two leads were convincing and capable, but Robert Englund seemed just a bit too smarmy, trying too hard to distance himself from his infamous Freddy Krueger role. Still, it was a fine beginning for a fantasy show, or as one reviewer termed it, the flipside of Fantasy Island.
The remaining five episodes were uneven in quality, but it's unfair to expect a new show to find its voice in only weeks. "The Heart of the Mystery" was one of the better ones. But by the end, the show had abandoned the night setting and the mysterious waterfront the cafe was on. It just didn't feel right to have a "nightmare" show taking place in broad daylight.
Overall, it was a set of intriguing possibilities mostly left unexplored. I have the pilot on tape, and it's a good reminder of what could have been.
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