Sunday, April 01, 2018

Friday the 13th: The Series -- Season 1 Episode 10 (Tales of the Undead)

Right now seems to be the golden age of movies and television inspired by comic books.  You have all sorts of DC and Marvel movies coming out.  Netflix has a few series available for streaming.  It used to be that the motion-picture offerings for fans of the medium weren’t that good.  Friday the 13th: The Series made such an attempt.

The series was about two cousins who inherited a store that sold cursed items.  One of those items turns out to be a cursed comic book, which their uncle had listed as a magazine.  Of the two cousins, Ryan is the one interesting in comics.  Micki?  Not so much.

Ryan is getting his weekly fix of comic books when he notices a first edition Tales of the Undead that happens to be signed.  The shop owner is planning on selling it at auction.  That is, until Cal steals it.  Cal, like Ryan, is a huge fan of comics and of Tales of the Undead in particular.  It was comics like that which inspired Ryan to draw.

What’s really interesting is how Cal manages to get away.  While holding the comic, he becomes angered and turns into Ferus the Invincible.  (This is portrayed using comic-like panels drawn to represent the transition.)  As Ferus, Cal is able to kill the shop owner and plow his way out of the store.

Ryan pays a visit to the guy who wrote the comic book, one Jay Star.  Jay is what you might call bitter regarding how the publisher came by the rights to Tales of the Undead.  Ryan hopes that Jay might know how to kill Ferus.  Since most heroes have a weakness, it couldn’t hurt to ask the guy who would have come up with the idea.

Jay isn’t too forthcoming with information, but he does track down Cal and subsequently kill him.  Jay then uses the magazine to get even with those who wronged him.  It’s up to Ryan and Micki to stop Ferus and get the magazine back.

This is the first time that Uncle Lewis’s business partner Jack Marshak doesn’t make an appearance.  He’s supposed to be off in a more-exotic location doing who knows what.  He’ll be absent from the next episode, too.  I was happy to see Ray Walston as Jay Star.   He plays Jay as a crotchety, bitter old man and quite well, I might add.  It’s almost the exact opposite of Boothby from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

The Ferus costume was a little weak.  I don’t know how much of it was costume design and how much of it was video transfer, but it came across as very dark and somewhat undefined.  It was supposed to be some sort of robot, but came across looking like a knight in armor.

One of the things I’ve always wondered is how much nostalgia affects how I remember video quality.  I seem to recall TV shows of the era being of decent quality, but that may be because that was what state of the art was back then.  Now, we have HD and low-definition video just doesn’t translate.  Many of the Friday the 13th episodes, this on included, seem to be of a lower quality.  I’m not really complaining, as I don’t really expect much.  It’s just that the costumes or other details can seem laughable at times.

The entire series seems a little less than serious at times.  It’s along the lines of The X-Files and Warehouse 13.  I’m not really sure how serious the show was supposed to be.  It’s always been a little on the cheesy side, but that may have been intentional.  (It may have also been limited by the standards used for broadcast TV.)

This was not one of the better episodes.  It’s not horrible, either.  This is one of the episodes you might watch if it came on cable one afternoon.  I wouldn’t pay to stream it or buy it.  However, if you can get it from the library, like I did, it might be entertaining to watch.

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