Friday, September 13, 2013

Another Friday the 13th...they come around like bad movie sequels.

So Friday the 13th has come again. It seems like it comes more than once a year. Presumably because it generally does.

Being as it's Friday the 13th, does that mean I want to talk about the history of our interest in this day and the number 13?...

That sounds like a great idea, but no.

Instead I want to talk about Friday the 13th...THE SERIES!

Now as a regular reader of this blog (Don't worry, I know you're not.) I know you are thinking, didn't I cover this show before, on another Friday the 13th? (Don't worry, I'm not going to try and check either.)

Maybe. And maybe when I did someone pointed out to me I made a critical error in something (like the name of a character...cutting straight to my heart...). So, maybe, I want to start over...

And also I thought it'd be fun to look at the first episode of the series.

Now, I'm not going into the history of the show, or it's making. I'll leave that to another time when I want to discuss the show overall.

For now, let's go back to 1987. ...Oh god, how many of you weren't even alive then!!! Damn you, and your youth! Still, let's go back, and you youngster can pretend you have a flattop, a Walkman, and think Michael Jackson seems really normal.

First, yes, it's called Friday the 13th. No, it doesn't star Jason Voorhees. No, it doesn't happen in or around Crystal Lake. No, it doesn't occur on have a motif of the date, Friday the 13th. And, no, it isn't centered around friggatriskaidekaphobia (Enjoy looking that up.). But it does have ties, of sorts, to the movie series, which we'll cover another time.

But don't worry about getting the point the show. The first episode lays out what you can look forward to nice enough.

I suppose I should say, SPOILERS...for a TV pilot meant to explain the rules and structure of the series...If you'd rather watch the episode first, or instead, jump to the bottom of the post. And enjoy the episode.

Otherwise, proceed.

So the first episode is "The Inheritance", and why that is you'll see soon enough.

First we're introduced to the store, the main reoccurring set of the series. A shop that deals in antiques...and murder...kinda.

Inside we find Lewis Vendredi, or as he will be known for the rest of the show, Uncle Lewis.

He is a troubled man, fretting and rechecking books. And he seems very worried about what he's done (But what is that?).

And enter our victims...I mean a nice family.

And we have the pushy 2nd wife (1st wife deceased), the softy dad, and the kid (a tough cop who's been pushed to the edge...I may be thinking of another 80's syndicated Canadian based show.)

They want to look around, but Lewis wants them to leave. But they stay...I guess he didn't want them to leave that bad.

And enter the CREEPY DOLL.

And being a creepy doll, the little girl loves it (I think this may be a sign the kid is already on a dark path. But maybe that's just me.). And she wants it...So she grabs it and sneaks out of the store.

...Ugh. What is her plan exactly? Sure she's a little kid, but she's in the middle of a city and it's the middle of the night, and the neighborhood isn't that pleasant. I tell you, I think she's ready to go into the cornfield and commune.

Still, outside she runs into some "toughs". The kind of a rough and ready big city troublemakers that you expect...when you're filming a pilot for a syndicated show in Canada...I;m saying it's not The Wire, okay?

"You don't want to know how badly we
messed up the Newsies."

Anyway, it's time for the real plot to start, and the Creepy Doll talks to the girl, and offers her everything she's ever wanted. And when the "toughs" come over to bug the little kid, the doll turns and slashes one of their throats...And the girl runs back to the store...and seems to otherwise be totally cool with what happen. (EVIL!)

Well, of course, she wants the doll. And the dad wants to buy it. But Lewis says no. And drives them from the store. Like I said he's troubled. He grabs the doll and other items around the shop and run/hobbles down stairs. There he goes to an odd vault and puts the items in it.

Then things get weird. Winds blow. And fate steps in. Done the stairs come fiery steps, no feet precede marks made in the steps. No body, no shadow present.

I'd hazard a guess at what these tracks are
supposed to tell me, but I never got the
Demonic Tracking badge in the Scouts.

Lewis made a deal. And it had come due for Lewis to pay his end. And so he does.

RIP Lewis Vendredi - Stuck down by demonic 80's
special effects.

He is surrounded by the power or spirits of antique items in the store that push him back. And then he's taken to Hell.

And now, finally, we get to meet the actual cast of the show!

"Me, and my hair, are too good for this tool."

Meet Micki. She's a yuppie. She's engaged to a lawyer. And she's putting on quite a "posh" accent. She's a proto-Hyacinth Bucket (Enjoy looking that up, kids.). She's conveying a clear vanity. But, dang it, she has amazing hair! Look at! It says, "This is the 80's and I am worth it!"

They quickly go to show her fiance to be a sleazy lawyer, and also show how underwhelmed she is by his ethics. I'm sure this is a relationship that will last. And I look forward to his reoccurring over the seasons to come. They even told us his first name, Lloyd. That's got to be significant.

But more interesting to me is that this is Barclay Hope. And watching this episode again, I couldn't help but say, "Hey? Don't I know him." And, yes, he's been in plenty of shows like Eureka, The Killing, Smallville, PSI Factor, and Battlestar Galactica. But I'm thinking Stargate SG-1. Colonel Pendergast, Commander of the Prometheus. You are missed...His character! Barclay Hope is alive and well making movies and TV still.

Anyway. Micki! She's a niece to Lewis...Uncle Lewis. And he's left her, his shop. The shop has also been left to another relative, a second cousin. And it is all just odd to her, she didn't know Lewis, and she doesn't know this cousin. But it is an inheritance (Hey! Hence the title. Heh!). So she's off, leaving her fiance to risk driving to work while falling in love with his own reflection in the mirror.

"Are you using this picture of me
as punishment?"
Once she gets to the stop. It's night, and the door is a jar. She sneaks around looking for who is inside.

If you think this is how she'll meet her cousin, and if you think he'll decide to scare her...Hey! You must write a lot pilots! Cause that's what he does. Wearing a mask he pops out at her. And in response, she picks up a vase and smashes it over his head...Okay, I know like her.

He pops out to explain who he is. He's Ryan, her cousin...and then he starts hitting on her...Ewww! But once he knows who she is, he stops, and goes back to being an overgrown kid (Heh heh, for the handful of you that know what I'm alluding to.)

Micki came to town to try and quickly offload the store and head home. Ryan, though, had hoped to fix it up and run it. But before deciding, they go to look around at the mix of benign objects in the shop, and the odder ones. This leads them downstairs. And there they find the vault.

The door in is tricky and won't stay open, so it's wedged. Inside they find all manner of item. But when Ryan steps out for a moment, the door slams shut, trapping Micki. She freaks out. And freaks out more as Creepy Doll gets up and gives her the "You're next!" look. But Ryan opens the door and they run upstairs.

With that, Micki wins the fight to get rid of the place.

So they try and sell off as much of the stuff in the store as they can...Oh, this will end well. As people come and cart of various items, the dad from earlier pops in and asks to buy Creepy Doll. Micki doesn't want to, freaked out by it (Who wouldn't be?). But Ryan sells it.

"I'm Jack. Wizard, scholar, and scoundrel." -- Okay.
That's what he should have said when he met them.
And the night ends with most of the items from the vault sold off. And this is when the third of the trio of main characters appears. Jack. He slips in that night and rummages around. When Micki and Ryan check on what is happening he learns that Lewis is dead.

He explains he was Lewis childhood friend. And he'd introduced Lewis to magic. But he'd worried that Lewis was meddling in dangerous dark arts. Then checking through Lewis's hidden books and research he puts together what has happen.

"So let get this straight. We AREN'T here to
discuss 50 Shades of Grey?"
By finding the story of an item tied to deaths and tragedy, he determined that said item had passed through the store. To some end Lewis had made a pact. He would sell cursed items, and be rewarded. But as we saw at the start of the show, he was recanting on the deal. He wanted to stop the harm he was apart of. (And I'm sure this characterization will go unchanged as the show progresses.)

But it's worse. The vault had been full of cursed items. And the cousins sold all of them on to unsuspecting customers/victims.

"But this means we have job security, right?"
"For at least 3 seasons..."
"That's a plus."
"...Well, most of will at least."

So let's see how things are going with that family, and Creepy Doll.

Okay that's not good.

But wait.

Yeah! Pushy step mom will live!


Creepy Doll leaves NO witnesses.

Look at this kid. EVIL!!!

heh heh heh
Come on! She held that doll on her mom.

Micki and Ryan get their too late and can't save the mom, but they need to stop Creepy Doll.

So they go after the doll...for an EPIC a playground.

Oh, this may look silly. But Micki's brother was killed in
Vietnam by a spinner just like this.
Okay. This is not that impressive an end to an episode. Fighting a little girl, on a playground spinner, to get her dolly. But this is a pilot. It spends a large chunk of the show setting up the concept and conceit, then introducing out 3 leads, and then giving an example of a cursed item and recovery.

"Hey Micki? Should I rough the kid up a bit?"
Besides, for a first mission against the forces on evil, they deserve a light load. It will get FAR WORSE.

And so the episode comes to an end. Creepy Doll goes back into the vault to do between 10 to Eternity. And the trio set in to undo the damage they've done.

It's an engaging introduction to show. Micki and Ryan at first do come on somewhat strong in their archetypes. But, as it's the pilot, I think we should give it a pass and instead enjoy how they grow and bond as family from here on out.

Friday the 13th the Series is a wonderful example of those shows that were getting made back in the late 80's/early 90's. Worthwhile to partake of for some nostalgia, or for some reigned in late night TV horror.

And if you do want to take a look at the show, you are in luck. It is on DVD. Also, I've seen it pop up on the Chiller Channel. As well, some of it is on YouTube.


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