It all starts with antique dealer Uncle Lewis. He made a deal with the devil to help His Evilness to distribute cursed and evil objects through his store. Objects included Jack The Ripper’s scalpel. Finally Satan comes to collect Uncle Lewis and his tattered soul, leaving his niece Micki (Robey) to clean up the mess. She and cousin Ryan (Le May) have the unenviable task of tracking down these items and sealing them safely away so they can do no more harm. They were often assisted in their task by Jack (Wiggins) who knew something of the occult. The series ran from 1987 to 1990 and never made more than a ripple in the ratings. The show included Steve Monarque as Johnny Ventura starting in the second season.
The final season of this bizarre series begins with a two part European jaunt episode as Jack ends up in France searching for none other than Satan’s copy of the Bible. Other artifacts in the final year include: a cursed wheelchair, a hearing aid that allows the user to hear other people’s thoughts, a coin that can bring back the dead, a car radio that does double duty as a time machine (must have come from a Delorean), a cross that burns vampires alive, a film reel that can bring the movie’s femme fatale to life, a pen that turns a writer into one of his serial killer characters, an embalmer’s tool that trades one life for another, a necklace that allows one to switch bodies with someone else, and a dog leash that lets its owner merge his dog and wife into a single creature. The series ends with Micki going through a time portal and face to face with the Marquis de Sade. And that’s all folks. Series over.
If you come to this DVD set in the hopes of discovering something to do with Jason or even his machete wielding mama, you will be very disappointed. There is no Camp Crystal Lake, and no one’s wearing a hockey mask. The fact is that this series, syndicated from Canada, had absolutely nothing to do with the film franchise. They have no characters in common. They have no connection to the stories in the film franchise. Basically the name is the only thing they share.
Each episode of Friday The 13th is presented in its original broadcast full frame format. There’s not a lot of good that can be made of this presentation. The picture often looks like a dub with excessive grain and wear. Black levels are pretty weak, and that’s not good when the series is more often than not shot at night. Even if you’re a fan of the show, you’ve got to be disappointed that no effort was made to provide any restoration of the prints.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 track is basically serviceable. You can hear the dialog, and that’s pretty much all there is anyway. Some of the music contains elements of distortion, and it’s all very mid heavy.
Truth be told, it is one heck of a surprise that this thing went three years. It took a ton of retooling and moving things around. Anyone could see it was hanging by a thread from the very beginning. Such is the advantage of being a first run syndication series. There isn’t just one person or group making the decision. So long as you can find stations to cover the costs, you have a shot of staying on the air. Except that first run syndication has all but vanished today. In 2009 this show wouldn’t have even gotten past a cheap pilot. And now you’ve got three sets of DVD’s to collect. The series had its good times as well as lows. The problem, of course, was that it could “never be free of that damned movie”.