“Are You Afraid of the Dark” is an immensely popular kids show from the mid-1990’s that is cited as one of the all time favourite shows for Generation Y. Personally, I can watch episodes of this show over and over, never getting tired of the “Midnight Society” and cheesy 90’s-ness of the whole thing. I’m proud that it’s Canadian, and that it’s become such a popular show over the years despite being over 10 years old now. I have never heard anyone speak badly of it, and it tends to come up as a favourite with many people when speaking of favourite kids shows. Nickelodeon in the U.S. will beairing it on “TeenNick” as part of their “the 90’s are all that” nighttime broadcast slot. It stirs my emotions in the same way as “Saved By The Bell” and “Full House“. Reflecting upon the show now, it’s the type of show that would not be made in this day in age. Some of the themes are very dark and scary for kids. Goosebumps was created to fill the gap for tamer fare in same kids horror genre, but it never lived up to the standard set by “Are You Afraid of the Dark.” I recently downloaded the entire series from the web. I intended on purchasing them, but DVD copies are out of print and fetch hundreds of dollars on eBay. In case you weren’t aware, the show had 5 original seasons, went off the air, then had a revival for another 2 seasons. While the original series is amazing, the revival never lived up to the original premise of the show. Regardless, in the spirit of nostalgia, here is my countdown of the best 5 episodes of the show. You’ll notice they are from the first season, as it’s best and more frequently aired.
“The Tale of the Nightly Neighbors”: Emma and Dayday Toll suspect that their new neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Braun and their son Lex, may be vampires when people in town start to get sick. The Brauns are originally from Eastern Europe, wear black, collect blood, and only are active at night.
This episode scared me so much as a kid that I still have thoughts of vampires flying through my window in the middle of the night. As a kid I would sleep with the blankets wrapped around my neck so that if they did get into my house, they couldn’t suck my blood. Super creepy!
“The Tale of the Lonely Ghost“: A girl, Amanda Cameron, goes to stay with her Aunt Dottie and desperately wants to be friends with her snotty cousin, Beth, and her group of friends agrees to spend the night in the haunted house next door, which is rumored to be haunted by the spirit of a preteen girl, to become part of the group. Beth’s nanny tries to warn Amanda to stay away from that place.
This episode comes to mind everytime I think of the show. It’s such a touching story, not as scary as many other episodes. It also has the girl from “Ready or Not” so it gets bonus points.
“The Tale of the Phantom Cab”: Two brothers, Denny and Buzz Crocker, get lost in the woods, and come across a mysterious cab driver, Flynn, and a very unusual man, a reclusive backwoods scientist by the name of Dr. Vink, who won’t let any of his victims go unless they solve a riddle: “What is it that has no weight, can be seen by the naked eye, and if you put it into a barrel, it will make the barrel lighter?”
This episode is excellent because it introduces us to an awesome character named Dr. Vink. He makes appearances throughout the series and is always fun to watch.
“The Tale of the Pinball Wizard”: Campbell, a mischievous kid who is obsessed with pinball, finds himself trapped in the mall at closing time after he loses track of time when working at a repair shop for Mr. Olson—and the protagonist of a real life pinball game. He must use all of his skills to escape the enchanted mall and save Princess Sophie, but soon learns that he is not the only one playing.
An excellent episode that takes place in a mall and always reminded me of the Stoneroad Mall in Guelph, ON.
“The Tale of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice”: Berkham, a high school outcast, awakens an ancient secret hidden in the school about an evil wizard named Goth after a lesson with Dr. Oliver. After his friend, Alix, discovers what’s going on and is the only one that knows, and it’s up to her alone to not only save Dean, but stop him from releasing the evil sorcerer.
The coolest part of this episode is the secret swimming pool and the sorcerers staff, which always reminded me of the one that”Jafar” had in the Disney movie “Aladdin.”