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Friday the 13th: The Series (1987)
A great horror show
A late 80s horror anthology that delivered what it's fans wanted, but was canceled too soon. Great characters, interesting stories, and good scares, this show is missed by fans, who still hold out hope for a DVD release or maybe even a reunion movie.
Friday the 13th: The Series was a TV show that seemed to come into existence at just the right time. Syndicated, airing late at night, on Fridays or Saturdays when teens could stay up; all the right elements for a horror anthology to succeed, and it did. For a time.
While never achieving critical or popular admiration, it did develop a cult following of loyal viewers. The show did attract ratings, and was second in syndicated ratings at one point only to Star Trek: The Next Generation. However, it wasn't able to survive when it's parent company buckled to religious groups and their threats of boycotts. It was canceled at the end of it's 3rd season.
The show never enjoyed a great budget, and this is most noticeable in sometimes sub-par effects. But the actors, writers, producers, and all involved did the best they could with the materials and money at their disposal.
The episodes mainly dealt with the stars attempting to retrieve one of the cursed antiques sold by Lewis Vendredi as part of his pact with the devil. The objects were varied and the curses on them sometimes quite ingenious. The gore was kept to a minimum; this was still television, after all.
While the heroes usually did retrieve the item they went after, the endings weren't always tied up "Brady Bunch-style". Many times, the characters were left feeling as though they had failed, having retrieved the cursed items or not.
Character development did happen, as well. Micki, played by the singer Robey, started out as the spoiled, rich, reluctant participant. By the end of the series, she had developed a caring relationship with the others, and had begun to embrace the path her life had taken, albeit unwillingly.
Ryan Dallion, as played by John D. LeMay, started out as the one eager to believe and be a part of this weird business. He soon learned there wasn't much to laugh about, and became a much more somber figure. The way his character was written out of the series at the beginning of season 3 may have been a let down for some fans, but it gave Ryan a chance to start over, carefree again.
Chris Wiggins played Jack Marshak as the strange, mystical father-figure, and stayed pretty much on course. This character being a "world traveler" in the pilot, he did settle down, staying the full three years at Curious Goods.
Johnny Ventura, played by Steven Monarque, didn't have much time to develop, but did go from being a brash, hot-head to a trusted member after Ryan's exit.
All-in-all, the show was a great, late-night horror drama and gave it's target audience just what it was looking for. Some good scares, which may seem tame now, were just right for late 80s fans, especially watching at midnight or later on the weekends.
Sci-Fi Channel certainly has it's share of near-Z grade movies, it would be nice if they could put some money towards a movie of Friday the 13th: The Series. Not only would it be a dream-come-true for the fans, who would like a proper end to the show and it's story, it would be a good way to promote a DVD release of the show's 3 seasons, something fans still hold out hope for. Win/win all around, no?