In which we salute the superlative kid’s show Eerie Indiana! The early-nineties series created by José Rivera and Karl Schaefer, with Gremlins‘ own Joe Dante serving as creative consultant and occasional director.
For those unfamiliar, the series revolves around Marshall Teller, a teenager whose family moves to the quaint, desolate town of Eerie, Indiana. There he meets a younger outcast kid, Simon, who seems to be the only other citizen of Eerie that can tell things are incredibly amiss. Together they investigate all the mysteries the town throws at them.
If you guessed coming-of-age Lynchian/ Burtonian goings-on, then you hit the nail on the head (though it’s worth noting Eerie aired in 1991: still early in the careers of both Burton and Lynch).
It is very well made; shot on film, with pleasingly self-aware scripts, satisfying Twilight Zone-style plots, an absolutely fantastic cast, and direction that harks back to classic 50s/60s b-movies. Self-aware, funny, satirical, and at times genuinely moving, it also loves to get cerebral, and includes the most meta episode of anything I’ve ever seen: the brilliant finale Reality Takes a Holiday.
Guest stars: how about a recurring John Astin? You like Stephen Root? Rene Auberjonois? A tiny Toby McGuire? Pretty much any character actor that worked a lot in the 80s? All here!
This show meant a lot to me as a kid, and in my opinion, it more than stands up as an adult. If you find yourself at a loss for something spooky to watch this Halloween weekend, the whole thing is on Youtube and streaming on Amazon.
If you want to read more, only by a competent writer, Denofgeek recently posted an excellent spoiler-free short write-up for each episode (including which ones to skip) right here.
Have a great day!