Are You Afraid of the Dark? (seasons 1-5)

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Are You Afraid of the Dark? (seasons 1-5)
Are You Afraid of the Dark.jpg
"If not, you're about to be!"
Genre: Horror
Fantasy
Drama
Supernatural
Thriller
Anthology
Science fiction
Teen drama
Suspense
Running Time: 22-25 minutes
Country: Canada
United States
Release Date: August 15, 1992 – April 20, 1996
February 6, 1999 – June 11, 2000 (first revival series)
Network(s): YTV
Family Channel (Canada)
Nickelodeon (United States)
Created by: D. J. MacHale
Ned Kandel
Distributed by: Nickelodeon Productions
Cinar (Original/first revival)
WildBrain (second revival)
ACE Entertainment (Second revival)
Starring: Ross Hull
Raine Pare-Coull
Jodie Resther
Jason Alisharan
Daniel DeSanto
JoAnna Garcia
Rachel Blanchard
Nathaniel Moreau
Codie Wilbee
Jacob Tierney
Seasons: 7
Episodes: 100


Are You Afraid of the Dark? is a horror anthology television series that airs on YTV and Nickelodeon. The original series aired from 1990 to 1996. It led to two revival series, with the first airing from 1999 to 2000, and the second debuting in 2019. The series was created by D. J. MacHale and Ned Kandel and was picked up by Nickelodeon in 1991. MacHale, Kandel, and Nickelodeon teamed up with the Canadian company Cinar, and as a part of the deal the show was filmed in Richmond, British Columbia, and in the Greater Montreal area of Quebec. The production teams were respectively represented by the ACTRA and SCTVQ (Syndicat des techniciens du cinéma et de la vidéo du Québec) labour unions.

Why These Seasons Will Make You Afraid of the Dark

  1. The concept of a group of teens gathering in an area in the woods to tell scary stories together (all the while those stories are the main focus of the episode) is an interesting concept for a show. And needless to say, it was insanely well-executed.
  2. Similar to Goosebumps, it's one of those shows that greatly challenges what's acceptable to put in shows with a child demographic (especially for a kids show of the 1990s). As it's regularly features creepy and unsettling themes. From more fantasy-like ones like zombies or killer clowns to more realistic ones like the death of a family member.
  3. The stories are not just interesting, but they are also based on events that occur in the midnight society members' lives, or situation they were currently going through at the time that they were telling the stories. Which only makes them all the better.
  4. Top-notch acting from both the midnight society, and the characters in the stories they tell.
  5. The special effects used to make the monsters are (more often than not) simply phenomenal, especially for the time this series was made. Shout-out to the vampire from The Tale of the Night Shift, the swimming pool zombie from The Tale of the Dead Man's Float, the Ghastly Grinner from The Tale of the Ghastly Grinner.
  6. All of the members of the midnight society, in spite of how little screen time they generally get per episode, are still all likable characters and all have established but not too complicated (due to said little screen time they get) personalities. Which makes their characters pretty easy to follow and comprehend. Some of their personalities are even capable or understanding through the stories they tell.
    • Gary is the soft-spoken, restrained leader of the group, and is Tucker's brother.
    • Betty Ann is a girl who's shown a fondness for surreal, thought-provoking notions. As her stories tend to be the darkest.
    • Kiki is an outspoken tomboy who has a playful, occasionally antagonistic brashness.
    • Frank is a boy with bluff sense of humor and air of toughness hide a solemn reflectivity.
    • David is a boy who tends to be the brains among the group.
    • Kristen is a kind-hearted, cute, sweet girl.
    • Eric is a boy with a habit of antagonizing the others, but despite that, still cares for those around him.
    • Tucker is a free-spirited, fun-loving, reckless member who is also Gary's brother.
    • Samantha is a girl who was implied to be Gary, as well as Frank before he left.
    • Stig is a boy who's only true friend is Tucker and shows a jovially brash sense of fun.
  7. The intro is spine-chilling, creepy, and perfectly sets the mood for the episodes themselves. With the bleak and shady atmosphere, brief sound effect of a high-pitched laughter (which only increases the creepy factor) ominous shots of things like a dummy, empty pair of swings, and boat, all combined with absolutely eerie music, it's simply no short of a perfect intro for a show like it.
  8. The episodes range from being good to great to deliciously dark and incredible. Some Examples Include:
    • The Tale of the Ghastly Grinner, where a young comic book artist, beset by rejection and lazy parents who don't support his dreams, buys an unfinished copy of a rare comic book -- and accidentally unleashes its villain who turns his victims into drooling, giggling zombies.
    • The Tale of the Dead Man's Float, where Zeke and Clorice reopen their school's pool, only to discover that a sinister spirit is lurking around in the waters of the pool.
    • The Tale of the Laughing in the Dark, where a boy named Josh decides to prove that a fun house isn't haunted by stealing the nose of Zeebo, the clown who is supposed to haunt it.
    • The Tale of the Dark Music, which follows Andy Carr who finds out that something is hiding in the basement of his new house.
    • The Tale of the Night Shift, a story where a night shift hospital volunteer named Amanda discovers that a vampire is lurking the halls and feeding off the staff and patients.
    • The Tale of the Midnight Madness, a story that has the eccentric Dr. Vink help a struggling movie theater gain more patrons with a copy of the classic vampire film, Nosferatu. But when Dr. Vink gets cheated out of what was promised to him in saving the theater, he curses the famous movie monster, Count Orlok to step out of the movie and haunt the theater and it's up to two teenage ushers to help break the curse.
    • The Tale of the Watcher's Woods, where after campers Sarah and Kelly get lost in the woods, they discover the terrifying truth behind the legend of "Watcher's Woods".
    • The Tale of the Lonely Ghost, which follows Amanda who must spend the summer with her snobby cousin and her friends, and discovers the ghost of a little girl haunting the house next to her Aunt's home.
    • The Tale of the 13th Floor, that has siblings Billy and his adopted sister Karen like to spend their free time playing hockey on the 13th floor of their apartment building, but this stops when a strange toy company rents out the thirteenth floor to store their new products and has picked Karen to test them out.
    • The Tale of the Dollmaker, that features a girl named Melissa coming to the country to visit her aunt and uncle, excited to see her friend Susan. Where they tell Melissa though that she moved back to the city a few months ago. Melissa decides to explore her friend's now vacant home and discovers a dollhouse in the attic along with a mysterious door.
  9. Even though the seasons that came out after the show' revival were mainly poorly received, The Tale of the Silver Sight remains as probably one of the best episodes in the entire series. As it actually has the midnight society themselves go on an adventure as they try to track down the original members. Other episodes like "The Night Nurse", "Many Faces", "The Hunted", "Walking Shadow" are some other rare gems in a pair of otherwise mediocre seasons.

Bad Qualities

  1. The episodes made after the show's first revival are arguably pretty bad, as they weren't well-received by most fans.
  2. Stig is arguably the most unlikable member of the midnight society.
  3. Even before the 6th and 7th seasons, some of the show's episodes could been seen as weak or below average at best, or bad at worst.

Episodes With Their Own Pages

Reception

Are You Afraid of the Dark? received mainly positive reviews. With critics and audiences alike praising it for it's plots, effects, and characters. However, once the show was revived after it's initial cancelation for 4 more seasons, the show began to receive more mixed-to-negative reviews.

Trivia

  • D.J. MacHale wrote a feature-length screenplay for a movie version of the series, which was purchased by Paramount Picures, but never made for unknown reasons.
  • Contrary to popular belief, the series was never canceled due to declining ratings. The first run was always intended to end at 65 episodes. When the Canadian production company Cinar was selling the international rights to the show, they decided they would package the series with new episodes to entice buyers, so they approached creator D.J. MacHale to create more episodes. This is why the series was brought back in 1999, although Nickelodeon was less involved in these two seasons, which significantly lowered their budgets. The second run of the show ended when Cinar became involved in multiple business scandals.
  • To pay homage to Rod Serling, show creator D.J. MacHale had the kids say "Submitted for the approval of the Midnight Society" at the beginning of each story. To introduce each episode of The Twilight Zone (1959), Serling would say to the audience, "Submitted for your approval..."

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