I was probably not NBC's target audience when this half-hour series premiered in 1991, but TWIN PEAKS was over and I needed my weird fix. So, I decided to visit EERIE, INDIANA. Once I relocated, I made new fictional friends, met Dawson's mom before she moved to the Creek, and saw strange sights, such as Bigfoot, Elvis and aliens. Plus, I encountered Sgt. Knight (Harry Goaz), who was obviously really Deputy Andy working undercover for the Twin Peaks Police Department. Yes, it turned out EERIE, INDIANA was the perfect new home for me.
Eerie is also a new home for Marshall Teller (Omri Katz). His father (Francis Guinan) moved the family to Indiana to escape the dangers of New Jersey. What Marshall's father, mother (Mary-Margaret Humes) and sister (Julie Condra) fail to realize is that this seemingly normal town is chock full of weird dangers. Plastic storage kitchenware-obsessed housewives who never age! An ATM gone sentient! A tornado with a grudge! A corn cult, but not the Stephen King variety. Plus there is the perilous paradox of observing Daylight Savings Time! How can a 13-year-old boy deal with this level of crazy by himself?
Thankfully, Marshall is not alone. His best friend Simon Holmes (Justin Shenkarow) is at his side while investigating the strange goings-on around town. Will they solve the mystery of why Eerie is the center of weirdness? Will the curious collection of mementos from their adventures be discovered? Will Marshall's family ever get a clue?
Sadly, we will never know. EERIE, INDIANA was cancelled after one season. However, much like some other short-lived series, it burned bright. Especially in Reality Takes a Holiday. The final episode begins with Marshall skipping a family outing and then finding a script of EERIE, INDIANA in the mailbox. What follows is wickedly clever fun and a strangely satisfying conclusion to a truly original, offbeat series.
To add to the offbeat madness, director Joe Dante (Gremlins) helmed some of the episodes and I can't help but believe he was behind sprinkling the series with quirky-cool guest stars. Dick Miller (Gremlins) and Henry Gibson (Laugh-In) helped the residents of Eerie lose things. Matt Frewer (Max Headroom) literally dropped in as a tornado hunter. Rene Auberjonois (Star Trek; Deep Space Nine) made Eerie a devilish deal. Ray Walston (My Favorite Martian) was surrounded by a bunch of corn-heads. Last, but not least, a freakishly young Tobey Maguire (Spider-Man) appeared as a ghost with a romantic problem.
In conclusion, I had not seen this series since it originally aired and I think it holds up. The stories are fun, freaky, clever and often not afraid to touch upon mature themes such as death and fighting parents. So, if you crave something a little different, pay a visit to EERIE, INDIANA. Marshall and Simon will gladly show you around the weirdness.
(SIDE NOTE - At the time of this writing, Amazon Prime is streaming EERIE, INDIANA and a spin-off series from 1998 that I never knew existed. I'm one episode into EERIE, INDIANA: THE OTHER DIMENSION and I think it's off to a potentially good start.)
Thank you for reading or listening to my half-blind words.
P.S. I wonder what Marshall and Simon would think of the supernatural weirdness happening in Collinsport, Maine...
Just like the eye in the beginning credits of EERIE, INDIANA....
...The Collective Eye for November is open...