F is for Friday the 13th: The Series
Overviewed by Kerry E.B. Black
As a young person, I worked closings at Pasqualino’s Pizza Shop in Penn Hills. My Daddy waited up for me, and sometimes we would watch late, late night television together. Our favorite show to bond to was “Friday the 13th: the Series,” a Canadian-American horror series that ran three seasons from October of 1987 until May of 1990.
Cousins Micky (Robey) and Ryan (John D. LeMay) inherited an antiques shop from their uncle, but soon they discovered a terrible family secret. Their uncle, Lewis Vendredi, brokered a deal with the Devil. He would sell cursed items for the Lord of Hell in exchange for immortality and magical powers. Worse, he broke this pact, resulting in his death.
When the unsuspecting inheritors came to the antiques shop, they decided to sell off the merchandise and close the door. However, a great number of objects in their Curious Goods shop were the Devil’s cursed artifacts, many of which the young proprietors unknowingly sold before learning the truth. Their friend, Jack Marshak (Chris Wiggins), helped Micky and Ryan recover the indestructible antiques and lock them in a magical vault.
The bloody (sometimes graphically so) episodes focused on the recovery of one cursed item a week. Many of the cursed antiques possessed intelligence and demanded human sacrifice to operate. Several of the wielders, instead of being empowered by their finds, became victims of the antiques’ evils. The selection of cursed items and their powers were varied and documented in Uncle Lewis’ manifesto. Everyday items like radios or televisions joined mirrors, jewelry, and dolls as objects of interest, enticing humanity to fall to sin. Several episodes dealt with spirits or evil doers, including the increasingly evil Uncle Lewis himself, instead of object recovery.
Micki started out a bit self-absorbed. She broke off a wedding engagement during her story arc, though, as she realized the importance and dangers involved in dealing with darkness and evil. A cursed coin caused her death, but her friends used wit to resurrect her. As the series progressed, she developed intuition and strength which aided in facing the perils of cursed object recovery.
Despite being cousins by marriage, Ryan often hit on Micki. Her firm rebuffs did not dissuade his infatuation, and as the series continued, his feelings for her grew. In the third season, he fell victim to a transformation into a youngster.
Jack acted as mentor and father figure to Micki and Ryan. His wisdom and experience with magic and the occult helped recognize and gather the immortal objects. Later in the series, a young man named Johnny (Steve Monarque) found Micki’s charms appealing and joined their adventures. Johnny’s contacts in the police department proved useful, though his impetuous and weak-willed nature propelled the action of several episodes. Despite being nominated for two Emmy Awards (1988 and 1989), garnering a number or other nominations, and winning other awards, the series’ third season ended abruptly, never resolving a number of loose ends.
For “regular” television, “Friday the Thirteenth: The Series” pushed the envelope of acceptable viewing. Although the acting lacked at times, the characters grew to be likable, and the special film effects intrigued.
Besides, I’ll always cherish the time I had watching the show with my Daddy.