For your enjoyment – but mostly ours – TB Talks TV thought we would begin a recurring feature (every Thursday) where we highlight the TV shows of yesteryear and reminisce about the things we miss, the things you may have missed, and the things we should all remember together. These are the shows that, for some reason, we think you should take a second (or first) look at.
So gather ’round the fire, kids…we’ve got a little tale to tell.
Back in the 90s, there was a block of programming on Nickelodeon known as SNICK – Saturday Night Nickelodeon – that featured shows for the tween/teen audience before there was such a thing as tweens. Instead of going out to the movies with our friends (and a parental chaperon), we watched things like “Clarissa Explains It All,” which taught us the value of hair scrunchies and the undoubtedly unsafe practice of having a ladder constantly perched outside our open windows, and “The Ren and Stimpy Show,” a cartoon we didn’t really understand why our parents wouldn’t let us watch it until much, much later. (Seriously, what the hell?)
And for our first #TBT we present to you another SNICK staple: “Are You Afraid of the Dark?”
If that didn’t send chills down your spine every time you heard it, we don’t know what to do with you.
“Are You Afraid of the Dark?” was a Canadian horror anthology show that debuted in 1992 with the original Midnight Society, a group of kids who told scary stories in a random, dark wood around quite an impressive fire. (Yet, they never seemed to have any s’mores.) The tales ranged from vampires and leprechauns, to ghosts and that all-too-terrifying Crimson Clown. Yes, looking back on the show we realize how campy it really was, but when it aired it was the perfect counterpart to the lighter fare that made up most of the programming geared towards a younger audience.
Some of our favorite episodes were:
– The Tale of the Nightly Neighbor
– The Tale of the Lonely Ghost
– The Tale of Jake the Leprechaun
– The Tale of Watcher’s Woods
– The Tale of the Hatching
Although you may not remember all of the episodes, we’re sure you’ll remember some of the more well known cast members who sat around the camp fire. The horror-tale-telling cast, and a number of guest stars, escaped the woods and later found themselves in more updated attire (come on, mom jeans and oversized t-shirts, we see you). Guest stars of the series included: Ryan Gosling, Hayden Christiansen, Tara Lipinsky, Melissa Joan Hart, and Tia and Tamera Mowry.
The campfire kids throughout the seasons included:
Daniel DeSanto, who went on to play Jason in “Mean Girls”
Joanna Garcia, who went on to star in “Reba” and “Once Upon a Time”
Rachel Blanchard, who found herself “Psych”-ed to appear in the FX series “Fargo”
Elisha Cuthbert, who starred in “Happy Endings” and “Love Actually”
Vanessa Lengies, who appeared in “Glee” and “Stick It”
If you want to relive the supposed horrors of your childhood, you can catch most of the episodes on Amazon Prime or YouTube. Just beware of Dr. Vink (with a va, va, va).
And now, submitted for the approval of The Midnight Society, we call this story “The Tale of the Pinball Wizard:”