Friday, November 13, 2015

Creepy TV: Are You Afraid of the Dark? (1991)

It's Friday the 13th, the last one of the year, so I thought we'd serve up some spooky leftovers that we didn't include last month.

Nickelodeon's Are You Afraid of the Dark? ran for seven seasons in all, with a three year gap between seasons six & seven. Initially, it was part of the network's Snick Saturday primetime block (8-10 pm ET), with reruns airing in earlier day-parts later on. Based on a series of books by D. J. McHale, and produced in Canada, Dark became a destination for older viewers as well, and attracted a wide range of guest stars, including, in the series' final season, Olympic skater Tara Lipinski, and, in earlier seasons, Emmy winner Frank Gorshin and the Mowry twins, Tia & Tamera (Sister, Sister). The Midnight Society's membership included a future star in Rachel Blanchard, later of Clueless.

We previously covered Dark over at Saturday Morning Archives, but it's time to give it some love here, too. The pentultimate episode of the series, "The Tale of the Many Faces", can be construed as a commentary of sorts on identity theft. In it, a 300 year old actress, Madame Visage, steals the faces of unsuspecting young volunteers, leaving them as faceless slaves, forced to wear masks to hide the damage. At first glance, it would appear that Nick alumnus Melissa Joan Hart (Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, ex-Clarissa Explains it All), using a pseudonym, played Visage, as there is no listing for Hart having guested in any other episode.

Here's "The Tale of Many Faces":

While reruns have aired more recently on TeenNick, there was no inclination to air them on Nick during Halloween two weeks ago, but the way Nick schedules programming, and that's been a problem for 25 years and counting, leaves viewers cold.

Rating: B.

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