No, we’re not talking about a prospective Friday the 13th TV series for streaming today. We’re instead talking about Friday the 13th: The Series that aired from 1987 to 1990. It got three seasons of 26, 26, and 20 episodes each, for 72 episodes in total. Our main cast includes Chris Wiggins as Jack, Louise Robey as Micki, John D. LeMay as Ryan, and Steve Monarque as Johnny. The third season premiere gives us the best “logline” for the series out there:

Lewis Vendredi made a deal with the devil to sell cursed antiques. But he broke the pact, and it cost him his soul. Now, his niece Micki, and her cousin Ryan have inherited the store… and with it, the curse. Now they must get everything back, and the real terror begins.

Micki and Ryan decide to close the store after Lewis’s death and sell off the items from the store. Turns out that’s a big mistake. Jack, one of Lewis’s old friends, stops them from selling the rest of the items and tells them about how the items they’re selling are cursed. The rest of the series follows them as they try to get back these cursed items from the people who bought them or ran into them. Most of the time, the items are in possession of someone who knows the power of them, so they’re unwilling to give it up. The other issue is that the cursed artifacts are indestructible, so you can’t just break them to stop their power.

The Catch And Premise For The Items And The Series

The items have to be locked away in a magic vault underneath the store, now named ‘Curious Goods’. The series follows the manifest written by Lewis of all the items that are out in circulation. The catch with all the items is that they need a human sacrifice to use the magic. So whoever wants to wield the full power has to kill someone with the item or in a manner that’s related to the object’s history.

The series was a pioneer along with Freddy’s Nightmares in pushing the boundaries of violence and acceptable content for TV in the 90s. For a network television series, it was incredibly ahead of it’s time in the content that it showed and what was acceptable for a horror series.

Yeah, But What Does This Have To Do With Jason Voorhees And Friday The 13th

Friday the 13th

Nothing. It has nothing to do with that film series. It was originally called The 13th Hour, but the creators changed the name to capitalize on the popularity of that film series. There were rumored plans to have Jason’s hockey mask as one of the cursed items but those never materialized. Creators Frank Mancuso Jr. and Larry B. Williams wanted the series to stand out on it’s own from the film series.

Eventually the show was cancelled mid-way through it’s third season. The cancellation was a surprise to the cast and crew, so the series has no closure. It just abruptly ends with no fanfare. That’s a shame, because the show was hugely successful in it’s first season. It placed second during it’s first season in the male 18-49 demographic only to Star Trek: The Next Generation.

While the show doesn’t have anything to do with the actual movie series, it’s a fantastic horror series that you should check out. It’s theme of a different cursed object for each episode was inventive and gave the writers a new wrinkle for each episode. If you look hard enough, you can find the series on YouTube, or there are a couple DVD sets available.

Paving The Way For The Golden Age Of TV

To say that this is the reason why we have shows like The X-Files and Twin Peaks would be wrong. But, this show did pave a bit of the way for edgier horror content to make the way to our TV screens. This show influenced plenty of others after it, so give it some due this Halloween season. Some episodes are actually pretty frightening, particularly “Scarecrow”. If you don’t like scarecrows already, this one might not be for you.

The fact that it DOESN’T connect to Camp Crystal Lake or the Voorhees family at all is a benefit to the show. Sure, you might get people who are ragingly mad that the show shares the same title, but no other content. Through it all, it means that the show has it’s own identity.

As we all know, I love a good anthology show. This one in particular doesn’t change out the characters every episode, but each episode has it’s own flavor and story. So it’s halfway there to being an anthology. If you’re in the mood for some classic horror TV, find it streaming, or grab the entire series, it’s pretty inexpensive at the moment.

For more on horror, check out the full Fright-A-Thon marathon, or stay tuned to That Hashtag Show.