Tales from the Darkside: Season 2, Episode 13

Comet Watch (12 Jan. 1986)

TV Episode  -   -  Fantasy | Horror | Thriller
4.7
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An amateur astronomer makes a surprising discovery about Halley's Comet after a young woman falls out of his telescope.

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Englebert Ames
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Charlene Ames
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Lara Burns
Paul Sparer ...
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An amateur astronomer makes a surprising discovery about Halley's Comet after a young woman falls out of his telescope.

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12 January 1986 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Tales from the Darkside--Comet Watch
24 April 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

If you were a kid growing up in the 80s (particularly 84-85), Hailey's Comet was all the rage and I think that nostalgic memory will return in this episode of Tales from the Darkside, a definite time capsule episode that truly does date itself to a certain extent. It is another of those silly diversions that I can't figure will be heralded as an episode to go out of your way to see. That said, I can't imagine those like me who recall the hullabaloo surrounding the Comet won't get some enjoyment out of it. I remember having a class school picture in school with the background of the Comet, so "Comet Watch" did bring a smile to face. It also has two familiar faces that show up in the cast, character actor Anthony Heald (who has made a living playing smarmy characters; when he needed to he could definitely make your skin crawl; he may be best known for "Silence of the Lambs" & "Boston Public"), and horror icon Fritz Weaver ("Re-Animator" & "Creepshow"; he was also in the Tom Savini-directed Tales from the Darkside episode, "Inside the Closet"). Heald is a treat as cuckolded husband, Englebert Ames, a "stargazer", with a pariah wife, Charlene (Kate McGregor-Stewart), always demanding of him, ordering him to do this and that. It is the big night of "Halley's Comet" (Fritz plays Halley, the historical figure who was responsible for recognizing the Comet and establishing its timeline for returning every 75.5 years), and Englebert has a giant telescope aimed right at the sky, super-excited for its re-appearance. What Englebert doesn't expect is for a "Comet rider" to emerge from the inside of his telescope! Her name is Laura (Sarah Rush), and she's from 1910! It seems Halley found a "window" that allows him to travel space, and he chose Laura as his "queen of the stars". Halley had temporarily lost Laura, with her hitching a ride back through the telescope and into Englebert's study. Soon Halley follows after her, with Charlene incensed that her hubby hasn't gotten ready for their dinner party involving her father and Englebert's position in pop's company. This is just as wacky as the synopsis indicates. Fritz looks like he came right out of a meeting with those who crafted the Declaration of Independence, with knee high stockings and white, curly wig. All that self-adoration and pomposity is on full display as Fritz lays it on thick regarding how he views himself quite highly. Charlene is loud and grotesque as appropriate for her easy-to-loathe, over-the-top bitch caricature. She is the wife who bosses around the husband, and he is walks on eggshells around her. The ending regarding who will stay and who will leave should never be in doubt, particularly when Englebert and Laura become smitten with each other. Laura doesn't want to go back, and Englebert doesn't want her to leave; the other two, Halley and Charlene, expect their counterparts to obey their command and do as ordered. Heald and Sara have good chemistry, remaining googly-eyed and swapping obvious looks of growing affection.


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