AKA: Friday's Curse (1987) [British title]
AKA: Friday the 13th (1987) [Short title]
AKA: The 13th Hour (1987) [Working title]
AKA: Misterio para tres (1987) [Spain]
AKA: Aaveita ja kummituksia (1987) [Finland]
AKA: Vendredi 13 (1987) [France]
AKA: Venerdi 13 (1987) [Italy]
(Release Date: September 28, 1987)
Friday the 13th: The Series was way off by a country mile. I can only imagine how many douchebag teenagers crowded around the old boob tube way back in the year of our Lord 1987 to check out the new series that was all about Jason Voorhees and his mother with a big, bubbly cup of Coca-Cola in one hand and a huge bag of popcorn in the other only to feel their smile slowly fading as this first episode debuted as they slowly muttered the words "... the hell?"
Yes, friends, Friday the 13th: The Series had about nine million different kinds of "NOTHING" to do with the film series that kicked off in 1980 with Friday the 13th! Instead, this TV series is something of a "situation drama" with supernatural elements all about a pair of cousins who inherited (hence this first episode's title) a crappy old Antique shop and have to hunt down certain Satanic artifacts that may have escaped.
But why jump the gun, kids? See, we kick off with this creepy old Antique store (yes I said "Crappy" the first time and that's not a typo) run by some creepy (and probably crappy) old guy named Lewis Vendredi (R.G. Armstrong) who had some bizarro pact with the devil to sell antiques.
Yeah... that's right... Fucko made a deal... with Beelzebub in the bowels of hell to sell old crap to stupid people... and he even fucked that shit up. Well, technically it got more fucked up when some creepy talking doll came to life and killed some teenaged jerks (okay, dead teenagers, that's ONE connection with Friday the 13th).
SO what the hell happens next? Well, next it's time to introduce the series regulars, naturally. See, old Lewis, who had such an easy job and fucked it up, left his delapidated store to two cousins in his family, Micki Foster (Louise Robey here, somehow, credited simply as "Robey") and Ryan Dallion (John D. LeMay) and they're the two clowns who have to track down the evil items that managed to get sold from the creepy (and crappy) old antique shop.
Does that sound ANYTHING like the Friday the 13th series that we know? I mean ANYTHING at all? Let me answer that for you... No, no it doesn't.
So how the hell did this thing get named "Friday the 13th without being sued by then-producer Frank Mancuso, Jr.? Because Frank Mancuso, Jr. was ALSO the producer (and co-creator) of Friday the 13th: The Series. Yeah, you see, homeboy created a new horror show, tentatively entitled The 13th Hour with Larry B. Williams and then realized it had about forty different chances to get cancelled before it ever went to air unless there was some kind of cool-ass gimmick or commercial invitation to beckon fans to watch the TV show. Thus he boggarted the name of the Movie property that he already controlled but refused to merge the universes.
Yeah, he didn't want any hockey masks or Jason involved in any way so as not to distract from the new mythos they were creating in the series. Yeah? Then why the hell did you call it "Friday the 13th: The Series"? Do the words "Bait and Switch" mean anything to you, you goofball? Oh, really? You call the show "Friday the 13th" intentionally to pull in viewers, but then you refuse to make any little connection to the Voor-Whore because you don't want to dilute your vision? You're RIGHT in LINE, pal!
As for the actual first episode of the misnamed series, I have to be both fair and honest... for a 1987 First-Run Syndication TV series, it's really not so fucking bad. I mean, yeah, sure, it's got all of the ridiculous tropes that one might expect in a 1987 First Run Syndicated series, but considering the budget and what it was, it wasn't terrible either. Further, there were other First-Run Syndicated TV shows that debuted in 1987 that are, indeed, vastly better. What am I talking about? Oh, just a little show called Star Trek: The Next Generation. While most people would point to that show as a shining example of just why Friday the 13th: The Series sucked and could have been so much better, take note... Star Trek: The Next Generation didn't get REALLY good until the third season. Friday the 13th: The Series only lasted three seasons and didn't have the budget that its big Paramount brother did.
But I digress. The very premise of needing to track down artifacts sold over years and years from a prolific antique shoppe is most assuredly limiting when it comes to years on the air, but it's also not uninteresting either. Adding the elder, more experienced character of Jack Marshak (Chris Wiggins) also helps add an air of authority and believability to this somewhat cheesy franchise show dealing with the occult and similar creepy crap.
And, to be fair, this one also debuted yeas before The X-Files made such things mainstream, so the cast and crew did their very best with what they had, not to mention the amazing enticement and baggage that the series title carried with it.
In short, it's not great, at least not in its pilot episode, but it's not so freakin' bad either, pilgrim!
Could the series go anywhere? Well, apparently it did go... for a full three seasons in syndication and influenced a few shows along the way... Where it did NOT go, however, was, of course, Crystal Lake and while that could have made for an excellent episode (just one, kids, just one), that never happened and Friday the 13th: The Series continued to have about nine billion kinds of NOTHING to do with Friday the 13th. That said, for all its tricks and traps in its late 1980s big hair, cheesy synthesizer and oddball premise kind of way, it's not that bad of a show and it's worthy of around Three Stars out of Five, you know?
And I, for one, am glad that the damned thing exists. Why? Because I promised you jerks a new Friday the 13th movie every single Friday the 13th bar none and I ran out of Jason movies a long-ass time ago, kids. This show should keep me out of the funny farm for a few years, at least. Yeah, I realize, it's June 13th, Jason's actual birthday and it'd be great to give him some kind of great tribute, but you know what? FUCK HIM! Fuck Jason Voorhees! I'll see YOU in the next reel!!!
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reviewed by J.C. Mašek III
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You can't spell Friday the 13th: The Series... without... you know what? FUCK YOU in the ASS!