Last year the new horror anthology series “Channel Zero” premiered on the Sy-Fy channel with a great deal of promotion. I was hyped. My brother is a horror fan, I am a science fiction fan. We were set to watch.
The premise of the show was to take inspiration from Creepypasta internet horror stories and to run with the premise each story put forth. I talked about Creepypasta as a concept yesterday, so check that out if you want a sort of primer.
Since most Creepypasta stories are a couple thousand words, the idea that 6 hours of material could be made from such a small sampling meant that creative license would have to be taken and I wondered if they would try to weave ideas from several stories together into a larger mythos. Like the pulp writers of old they could make a large and incredibly silly modern horror mythology based around internet boogeymen.
The first season was dubbed "Channel Zero: Candle Cove". To start this, there will be numerous SPOILERS throughout, and while I can say that most of it is worth watching, in hindsight I can only recommend that if you are going to watch this show for its good elements (and there are good elements) you mitigate your expectations because there is a high chaff to wheat ratio, there is a lot of stupid unclear crap mucking it up. Not that you would know that, this six-episode season has comically high reviews.
Candle Cove: The Source Material
The starting point of this season was the Creepypasta (a word I am getting tired of writing), of the same name. “Candle Cove” was written by web comic creator Kris Straub as a horror parody of shows like “Lidsville” (which was his stated inspiration).
You can read the entire “Candle Cove” story in 5 minutes HERE. But if you don’t have time for such indulgences I will provide a synopsis.
The story is presented as a web message board exchange between several people remembering a puppet television show from their youth, the twist is that they were all watching a screen filled with static.
I am not sure, but I think the puppet episode of Angel might have also drawn inspiration from this little story.
The Show in Brief
Being a 6-hour miniseries “Channel Zero: Candle Cove” falls into an uncanny valley of sorts. I could explain it somewhat satisfyingly in 2 sentences or 12 paragraphs, but any amount between those two extremes is going to feel unsatisfying. Since most of what I like about the show are elements not directly related to the story, but more about the production value, the images, and the tone the two-sentence summary is not going to get across any of the things I enjoyed.
|Seriously, this show has super high reviews.|
Even the one negative review on Rotten Tomatoes was a "B-".
This is a feeling show. Not a thinking show. Ideally you want both, but either will do I suppose. To that end I am going to have to give a meatier explanation of it. But let’s start out with something simple that will prime you for what I find strange and frustrating.
Here is the 2-sentence synopsis they have on Wikipedia, “A child psychologist returns to his hometown to determine if his brother's disappearance is somehow connected to a series of similar incidents and a bizarre children's television show that aired at the same time.”
Already the synopsis sounds like something WHOLLY different from the thing that inspired it. There is no mention of message boards or puppets, more importantly there are elements in that blurb, a brother, child psychology, and similar incidents related to child disappearances that are NOWHERE in the source material.
I am going to give a fuller explanation of my issues, but right there is the first sign of something going wrong, the short bit of info about the show could not possibly be used to describe the original story. At all. Which means there wasn’t just additions to the source material, but that this story is going off in a totally different direction.
Which I guess could have worked.
Here is the trailer. Looks good. But not what I would expect.
To be Continued…
No joke, I planned to make this just one entry. I thought to just bang out my thoughts over a thin outline and be done with it. That was optimistic.
I got to 1700 words without a plot synopsis, compliments, or criticisms. The part that took up most of the space was the pretentious and totally necessary, the “What would I do section”. Sensing no way to edit it down to a palatable length I decided to break this up and put out the pieces over the course of this week… Because Halloween? More because I want more time to edit all this.
Or… OR! Better way to frame this: it was a miniseries; thus, it should be reviewed in a miniseries of blogs.
That’s the ticket.
Either way, I hope I am being mildly entertaining and that will encourage you to hang around.
Some Time Later…
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