I’m a fan of the Masters Of Horror series on Showtime (although I always watch them via Netflix), so last night I decided to check out another horror TV series, NBC’s Fear Itself.
It became obvious pretty quickly that this series was made for network TV, rather than cable. The most annoying evidence of this was the periodic fades-to-black for commercial breaks, which kind of take you out of the moment when you’re watching it on Netflix. The other effect was that the series has no swearing, nudity, or particularly graphic gore. I do think it’s quite possible to make quality horror without any of those elements, but some of the episodes had scenes which seemed a bit contrived because of those limitations.
Those complaints aside, the stories themselves were not bad. I’ve watched five episodes so far: The Sacrifice, Eater, Community, Spooked, and In Sickness And In Health. None of them were particularly scary. Spooked probably had the creepiest moments, but my favorite was In Sickness And In Health. It began with a fantastic premise — on your wedding day, just before the ceremony you receive an anonymous note stating that you are about to marry a serial killer. What do you do? I enjoyed all five episodes, though, and I’ll be continuing to work my way through the series. As a horror fan, I’m very happy to see horror being taken seriously as a genre for TV series.
Oh, also, this was the first thing I’ve watched on Netflix streaming which supported 5.1 surround sound. It worked fine on my PS3, but the episodes didn’t take particularly good advantage of it. Good to know that it works, though, since that had been one of my primary complaints with the streaming service. The video quality could still be improved, but the convenience factor outweighs that for the most part.
UPDATE (Nov 23, 2010, 7:16pm): I had coffee with Keri this afternoon and while telling her about one of the episodes it hit me that Fear Itself reminds me very much of the Twilight Zone, minus the sci-fi focus. I felt it necessary to share this pearl of wisdom with you, my devoted readers.