If I have to pick a favorite aspect of “Over the Garden Wall” is the ambiguity of it all. There’s not a ton of exposition or explanation as to whom or what the characters Greg and Wirt are. We just know that they’re brothers, they have polar opposite personalities, and they’re stuck in a timeless land filled with dangers and mysterious oddities that they can’t possibly fathom. Along the way, Greg and Wirt learn a lot about the idea of grief, and confronting their fears, and learning to appreciate one another as brothers. They also have their own personality quirks that could count as flaws, but only make you love them even more. By the time the series ends, you’ll be glad you met them and realize you know everything that you need to know about them. I encourage you to fall in love with it like I did.
There’s something kind of charming about Alex Merkin’s “House of the Witch.” It’s a straight up rip off of “Night of the Demons” while also feeling a lot like a fan film for “The Blair Witch Project.” It’s part are all from much better movies made before, but even at its most clunky, I didn’t have a bad time. “House of the Witch” is that kind of movie you could probably appreciate as a passing treat on a random night if you had absolutely nothing to do. I also found the final scene to be pretty damn clever, as it at least gives us a reason for the seemingly random series of events that unfold.
Few people actually recall that Maxwell Atoms’ iconic characters, Billy and Mandy, were first introduced as part of Cartoon Network’s “Grim & Evil” where they shared a series with the cast of Evil Con Carne. Though “Grim & Evil” only lasted 30 episodes, the pint-sized hell-raisers would soon live on in one of the most successful spin-offs of all time from Cartoon Network’s golden age: “Billy & Mandy” (as I’ll refer to it from here on out) is one of the last really great series from the CN’s “Cartoon Cartoon” era.
1994 was the year to really tune into Nickelodeon. It was a time where they’d hit their stride with programming blocks like SNICK and excellent series like Rugrats, and The Secret World of Alex Mack. It was also the year that “Aaahh!!! Real Monsters” premiered (October 30, 1994). Another of the many Klasky Csupo produced animated shows, “Aaahh!!! Real Monsters” focused on the world of monsters that hide in our closets, under our beds, and in our toilets. It is one of the few genuinely horror-oriented animated shows that Nickelodeon has aired.
I’d say the best marketing The Last Halloween ever had was on a bag of Reese’s Pieces during the Halloween of 1991. I can still remember my mom buying the big bag of Reese’s Pieces and on the lower left hand corner there was the ad for the CBS special premiering that month with the “Mission to MARS” mascots front and center. It was a fine Halloween, with a great special that ran once on CBS and before disappearing into obscurity. Serving as a promotional film for the candy company MARS Company, “The Last Halloween” was a half hour movie about a small town named Crystal Lake with an economy reliant on their massive candy factory.
Allegedly recounting the grizzly child murders that took place in the Moors of Europe, “See No Evil: The Moors Murders” is a sluggishly paced dramatic thriller that is often too centered on character to ever actually concentrate on the murders behind Myra and Ian Bradley. Apart from its tedious pacing, the constant meandering from Writer Neil McKay and Directors Christopher Menaul, and Nicola Morrow turn the mini-series “See No Evil: The Moors Murders” into a trying, often tedious experience that frankly bored me out of my skull.
No matter how classic or profitable a series or franchise is, studios are always in the market of appealing to a younger audience with a new version of the property. With the success of shows like Muppet Babies and The Flintstone Kids, Hanna-Barbera decided to revisit the formula in 1988 for Scooby-Doo. It was their attempt to win over a new generation of fans while dusting the cobwebs off of the franchise that’d begun to show its age thanks to misguided spin offs and introductions of grating additions like Scrappy Doo and Flim Flam.
Premiering in 1994, during a time where Disney was really trying to create series with mythos and complexities, Gargoyles stands out as one of company’s most ambitious animated series of the nineties, and a bonafide masterpiece of the decade. Gargoyles came with an unparalleled production quality that was just impressive all around. From an excellent score to a massive cast of voice actors (comprised mostly from “Star Trek” alums) right down to the amazing animation, Gargoyles was anything but a gimmick. The writers unfolded a complex mythos, and great back stories for each of the gargoyles (many of whom had their own strengths and weakness) all delivering an episodic fantasy with substance.