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An eight episode adaptation of Stephen King's short stories, primarily from the Nightmares and Dreamscapes series. "Battleground" follows a quiet hitman becoming a target for violent revenge when he finds a mysterious package on his doorstep; A young woman and her attorney husband getting lost in a notoriously evil London neighborhood named "Crouch End"; "Umney's Last Case" is a 1930's era detective who realizes he's the main character in a novel, and he's being written out; A successful filmmaker films himself in "The End of the Whole Mess", recalling his genius brother's life and the scientific plan he applied to end world violence with unanticipated results; "The Road Virus Heads North" drives into gear as a celebrated writer realizes the demonic figure in the painting he's just acquired, is changing to show that it's onto the same stretch of road he's on; "The Fifth Quarter" has an ex-convict who goes to dastardly means to find treasure that puts his family's life at risk; "... Written by
I do like a good horror anthology series (Tales From the Crypt is coming soon ), but this series is only half horror. The other half is not that good (thriller, action, crime, etc). All the episodes are based off of Stephen King's short stories, and the guy is not strictly a horror writer, I admit. I just wanted a show with the word "nightmares" in its title to scare me, not make me chuckle at a goofy William H. Macy performance. Only a couple episodes really stand out, one of which is the Lovecraft-inspired "Crouch End." I know Me? Like Lovecraft? Don't act so surprised! The episode starring William Hurt as an assassin besieged by green army soldiers come to life is different because of the lack of dialogue. It's an interesting choice, and cool at first, but after a while I just wanted Hurt to at least scream an obscenity at the toys instead of grunting like a cave man. Other episodes have their own methods of storytelling that work better, like in "The End of the Whole Mess," which has the main character telling much of the story into a video camera.
Since I'm not an avid reader of King's, I don't know if there are better shorts of his that remain untapped. All I know is that half of these stories probably shouldn't have been made into a TV show. Interviews on the discs indicate that some of the original short stories were less than 10 pages long. Turning that into a 50-minute show means an awful lot of pointless filler. Most of the draw lies in the fact that each episode has some recognizable star power. That doesn't mean Jeremy Sisto, Claire Forlani, Ron Livingston, and Steven Weber never act in crap. Still, I feel safe recommending this series to King fans. They can watch "Umney's Last Case"in flesh and blood at last instead of a "Dark Tower" movie.
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