Friday The 13th: The Series- The Complete Series DVD Review
“Friday The 13th: The Series” is hit-and-miss.
No, “Friday The 13th: The Series” is not related to the film franchise featuring Jason. It’s “Friday the 13th” in name only. Instead, it’s a series about two cousins (Micki and Ryan) inheriting an antique store (later named Curious Goods) from their late Uncle Lewis. They soon discover that this is no ordinary store after learning their Uncle made a deal with the Devil which involved Lewis selling cursed antiques. Knowing these antiques are a danger to anyone who comes across them, Micki, Ryan, a former store supplier (Jack), and Johnny set out to recover the antiques before they cause issues or death (which they frequently do). Among the cursed antiques encountered in this syndicated 3 season series comprised of 71 hour-long episodes are a killer doll (of course), scalpel, quill, teacup, comic book, scarecrow, lantern, mirror, violin, lanterns, movie camera, snow globe, books, radios, pendants, and a jack-in-the-box. Aside from antiques, other key stories involve time travel and Uncle Lewis who pops up every now and then.
As a fan of horror TV series, I had wanted to check out “Friday The 13th: The Series” for some time as I had never dived into it previously. Upon watching it, I found myself equally surprised and frustrated by the end product.
As a series, “Friday The 13th: The Series” is certainly admirable. It’s an interesting mixture of serialized storytelling and horror anthology. It’s also rather ahead of its time in terms of adult content (especially in its depiction of violence). As engaging as the story set-up is, however, the execution is certainly a bit clumsy and dated when watching it today. The hour long format simply feels excessive but I understand why it was implemented given that it basically juggles two series in one. With that said, it would have been better as a half-hour show as it would have fixed pacing issues and drawn out stories. Additionally, the production values and F/X don’t exactly hold up by today’s standards. The show often looks cheap which does a disservice to the imaginative stories on display.
Now, don’t get me wrong, “Friday The 13th: The Series” has plenty to like. The series offers up some good storytelling here and there (although there are definitely some duds). Be on the lookout for memorable episodes like the eerie “The Playhouse” and the entertaining horror/film geek centric “Scarlet Cinema.” Also, it has to be said that the character of Ryan (played by John D. LeMay) really livens up the show. It’s a shame he departs in season 3 as the show never recovered from his exit. His presence really makes up for the suspect acting by Louise Robey and several guest stars. Luckily, there are plenty of great guest stars making appearances such as Sarah Polley, Ray Walston, Tia Carrere, Billy Drago, and Enrico Colantoni. There are even a few big named directors tackling episodes like David Cronenberg and Atom Egoyan.
Note: This complete series set is a more affordable repackaged re-release that comes in an oversized plastic case (with a slip cover) housing 17 discs. It should be noted that the loose disc holder is very cheaply made and will likely annoy home video collectors.
Presentation: 4:3. How does it look? The series looks like it was presented when it originally aired. There’s no remaster here. Season 1 is in the poorest shape as it is a bit fuzzy and blotchy at times. The subsequent seasons look better video quality wise.
Audio Tracks: Mono and Stereo. How do they sound? Seasons 1 and 3 are in Mono while season 2 is in Stereo. The Mono tracks are quite flat while the Stereo track is a definite improvement.
* CBS DVD ads.
* 2 launch promos.
* A 9 ½ minute Sales Presentation.
* Promos for most season 3 episodes.
Overall Thoughts: For its time, “Friday The 13th: The Series” is an OK show. It’s not something I would ever revisit, but it’s worth checking out if you’re a horror fan.
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