I'd like to start off by saying that the short story (or film in this case) is a very difficult medium to pull off properly. Over the past decade and some change, we've had a short supply of anthology based series. Horror has been confined to movie remakes and bland rehashes in theaters, while the long-winded story arcs of American Horror Story and The Walking Dead dominate the genre on television. None of this is really all that bad, just pretty disappointing considering the quality of horror in the decades that have past.
When I learned about this series earlier this year I was ecstatic. The last anthology based series I'm remember watching was NBC's short-lived and often mediocre "Fear Itself", which was a partial spin-off from the also short-lived and often excellent "Master's of Horror" series on Showtime. After binge watching every episode of "Twisted Tales" in one sitting I have to say, I'm slightly disappointed overall... and I don't completely know why.
One of my favorite qualities of the anthology format is the fact that there will always be some not so great episodes in the series. Classics like "The Twilight Zone", "Night Gallery", "Tales From the Darkside" all had their fair share of stinkers. The trick is having a higher percentage of good episodes, while keeping the bad ones to a minimum or at least enjoyable in some way. (TZ's "Mr. Dingle the Strong" for example.)
"Twisted Tales" walks this line very narrowly. I wouldn't say the majority of the series is bad at all. It's just that a large portion of the episodes float in a gray area of not being blatantly bad, but also not really being all that good. Yet, somehow, being too weird and short to be considered boring.
Episodes like, "To Hell With You", "Boom" and "Fred and His GPS" worked perfectly in this format. However, others such as "Mongo's Magic Mirror" and "Cached" felt like enjoyable stories that had their potential crushed out of them by the time constraints of the series. "Shockwave", "The Pizza Guy" and "Bite" began with interesting, quirky and even playful plots, respectively. Sadly, they all quickly became painfully awkward to watch, ultimately stumbling over very bizarre casting, story pacing and acting. Acting being the biggest offense, even in the some of the better episodes.
I'd really like to see a second season of this. Mostly for the unusual stories that Holland crafts, but also to see if they can really take advantage of the short film format and create something truly remarkable. Hits and misses are part of why I enjoy a series like this. I just hope that "Twisted Tales" can decide if it wants to be good or bad, or even boring.
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