not exactly correct to describe the short-lived 1991 TV series, Eerie
Indiana as X-Files meets The Twilight
Zone for the tween set because Eerie actually preceded the
X-Files by two years!
But since it first aired in the U.S. on NBC,
Eerie Indiana's original 19 episodes have built a huge worldwide
following with scores of fan web sites, a 1998
spin-off series, Eerie, Indiana: The Other Dimension, and a fervent
fan base which lobbied for years to get the series released on DVD.
Eerie was clearly as important and pivotal a series for budding Gen Y
sci-fi fans as My So-Called Life was for Gen Y teen angst.
Thirteen-year-old Marshall Teller (Omri Katz) and his family have moved
from his beloved New Jersey to the picture perfect town of Eerie, Indiana.
But as the boy observes, Eerie is a strange town caught between the worlds
of David Lynch and Tim Burton. Elvis lives on his paper route. Big Foot
rummages through the garbage. And the neighbours are very, very weird.
Marshall and his best friend Simon (Justin Shenkarow), like a prototypical
Mulder and Scully, start to investigate the strange happenings in their
town because Marshall wants to know why Eerie is the centre of weirdness.
As Mulder would say, The truth is out there.
Also reminiscent of the junior Goosebumps series (for the pre-teen
set?), Eerie Indiana has an impressive pedigree. Co-creator and
writer, Jose Rivera, would later write indie film The Motorcycle
Diaries. His co-creating and writing partner, Karl Schaefer, would go
on to write and produce The Dead Zone. And
giving the series a Danny Elfman-like soundtrack is Stephen King
favourite, Gary Chang (Kingdom Hospital, Rose Red, Storm
of the Century). Series producer and occasional episode director was
Joe Dante (Gremlins, Explorers,
Even with rotating guest directors and writers, Eerie maintained an
interesting atmosphere of unease thanks to the central theme of a young
stranger living in a strange land. Series star, Omri Katz, narrates each
episode with a pitch perfect teenage weariness. The writers had a lot of
fun playing with sci-fi themes -
everything from ghosts, werewolves and
aliens to mysterious Chinese restaurants, Tupperware of the damned, lost
souls trapped in the one-hour of Daylight Savings time, to an episode
where Marshall finds himself starring on a TV show -
as Omri Katz! Though
this series is almost 14 years old, it doesn't feel dated. Production
values and special effects are pretty good -
much better than say cheapie
Canadian location shoots, Sliders or Goosebumps -
episodes are smartly written so that fans -
new and old -
can enjoy the
strange tales of a boy stuck in a town he can't quite call home.
Best of all are glimpses of some familiar faces. A very young Tobey
Maguire (Spiderman) guest stars in the
episode "The Dead Letter"
as a ghost. And one-time child actor favourite,
Gabriel Damon (Robocop,
Star Trek) shows up in "ATM with a Heart of
along with Full House teen idol, Scott Weinger (Aladdin). John Astin
(The Addams Family) and Ray Walston (My
Favorite Martian) guest star in an episode about a teleportation
in the middle of a cornfield!
Long time Eerie fans should be thrilled to finally replace their
worn tapes with this clean digital transfer. Unfortunately, if you're
looking for extras, you won't find them on this set -
nothing. But it's an accomplishment in itself that a 14-year-old series
was done well enough to have such an enduring fan base.
Definitely worth a rental for a weekend of weirdness or a Halloween
marathon. And fans should snap up this set to replace their tapes.
- Harrison Cheung