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Featured TV on DVD Review: Tales from the Darkside: The Final Season

November 10th, 2010

Tales from the Darkside: The Final Season - Buy from Amazon

This DVD came out a couple weeks before Halloween, which is great timing for a horror anthology show. However, the screener didn't arrive till this week, which is really bad timing. That said, does Tales from the Darkside end its run on a high note, or did the show just sort of fade away?

The Show

The previous season was possibly the best in the show's run, so I had high hopes going into this season. It started out okay with Beetles, which was about an amateur archeologist (graverobber) who stumbles upon a curse. It set the mood well, but was a little repetitive and the big reveal wasn't that shocking. (It did feature a pre-TNG Colm Meaney.) Mary, Mary had a good twist, but the rest of the episode was below average. The twist for The Spirit Photographer was telegraphed a mile away, so it was less effective. The Moth features Deborah Harry and it is one of the better episodes of the season. No Strings is gruesome and weird, but not engaging. The Grave Robber is another archeologist episode, but while it features a mummy curse, it is played for laughs more than anything else.

Disc two starts with The Yattering and Jack, which is about a small demon trying two damn a very, very cheerful and optimistic man. Seymourlama looks in on a dysfunctional family and how they react when their teenage son is thought to be the next High Lama. Neither of them are exactly hits. In Sorry, Right Number a woman gets a frantic phone call from a woman and she can't understand what she's saying. She recognizes the tears and starts frantically calling her daughter at college, her mother, and her sister to find out who it was, but that's the twist. One of the better episodes this season. On the other hand, Payment Overdue is a little weak. It has a collection agent forced to see what it's like to be on the other side of the phone calls. In Love Hungry an overweight woman receives an unsolicited package to help her lose weight, a hearing aid that lets her hear the voices of the food she's eating. Bradley Whitford makes a guest appearance in The Deal as a screenwriter who accidentally makes a deal with the devil to sell a script. It should come as no surprise this deal backfires. The disc ends with The Apprentice, in which a woman gets a job at a historical site where she it to reenact Puritan life, only to travel back in time to experience the real thing.

The final disc starts with The Cutty Black Sow. It's the day before Halloween and a young boy's grandmother is dying. She's terrified that if she dies on Halloween, the Cutty Black Sow will get her soul, so the boy vow to protect her from it. Do Not Open This Box a couple find a box marked "Do Not Open This Box" and the wife immediately opens it. A delivery man then comes to their door and says the box was delivered to them by mistake, and if they return it, they can have anything they want, as long as the box remains unopened. Family Reunion features Stephen McHattie as a father whose son has become a werewolf, so he's keeping him locked up. Patricia Tallman is his wife, who just wants to see her son again and doesn't know why he's doing this. This could have been one of the best episodes, as it has some good performances, but the surprise twist is telegraphed right from the start. In Going Native an alien tries to understand what it is like to be human, but she gets too close. This episode tries too hard to be arty to be effective. In Hush a boy invents a machine to suck the noise out of things, but it sucks the life out of them instead. Now it is terrorizing him and his babysitter. Barter is some weird I Love Lucy / Alien hybrid. I don't know what they were thinking, but it doesn't work. The series finale is Basher Malone, which has a wrestler being tricked into wrestling a demon.

Overall the hit to miss ratio is not that good. There are more episodes that work than complete misses, but for the most part, they don't rise above, "Just okay". The final season isn't as strong as the previous one.

The Extras

The third disc also has two episodes that are made by the same production company that made Tales from the Darkside. I think there are busted pilots that would have been for similar shows. The first is called Akhbar's Daughter, and it is about a lawyer who falls for his new client's beautiful daughter, and when he travels to Morocco on overseas business, the daughter seems to reciprocate these feelings, but only at night. Attic Suite has a couple taking care of their old aunt, but their money is running out and soon the wife is thinking of drastic measures.

The Verdict

If you enjoyed the previous seasons of Tales from the Darkside, then The Final Season is worth picking up. It's not as good as season three, but there's enough episodes that work that it's worth completing your collection. Plus, getting the busted pilot is a rare treat.

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