A Few Words About A few words about... Amazing Stories - The First Season

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Robert Harris, Jul 24, 2006.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    For those who weren't lucky enough to catch the series during broadcast, or on laserdisc, Universal Home Video is releasing the first season of the Steven Spielberg / Amblin produced series entitled Amazing Stories.

    Each of the 24 offerings in the set has something positive going for it. And while all were produced on requisite television sized budgets, they come up as greater than that.

    With the ability to select special talent for both behind and before the camera, the series reads like a "who's who" of the industry.

    As an example, my personal favorite, The Mission was directed by Steven Spielberg, written by Menno Meyjes, with a score by John Williams. The cast includes Kevin Costner, Anthony La Paglia and Kiefer Sutherland. The story, which I shall not go into, is pure Spielberg magic.

    Talent for the other 23 episodes was inclusive of:

    Directors - Steven Spielberg, Matthew Robbins, Peter Hyams, Bob Balaban, Burt Reynolds, Bob Clark, Clint Eastwood, Joe Dante, Martin Scorsese, Paul Bartel, Irvin Kershner, Timothy Hutton,

    Writers - Brad Bird, Steven Spielberg, Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel

    Composers - John Williams, James Horner, Lennie Niehaus, Jerry Goldsmith, Georges Delerue, Michael Kamen, Billy Goldenberg, David Shire

    Cast - Drew Barrymore, Lukas Haas, Sid Caesar, Loni Anderson, Dom DeLuise, Charles Durning, Fritz Feld, Beau Bridges, Harvey Keitel, Sondra Locke, Eddie Bracken, Bruce Davison, Evelyn Keyes, Tim Robbins, Helen Shaver, Sam Waterston, Eve Arden, Paul Bartel, Griffin Dunne, John Lithgow, Andrew McCarthy

    With a concept going back to the omnibus series of the 1950s, Amazing Stories, which had a run of two seasons and 45 episodes, is a worthwhile addition to one's home theater library.

    RAH
     
  2. Steven_J_H

    Steven_J_H Stunt Coordinator

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    Loved this show and picked up the dvd.
     
  3. Nicholas Martin

    Nicholas Martin Cinematographer

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    A 2 CD limited edition Anthology album of complete, original scores was released just prior to this DVD. It is available on Intrada Records, and is volume 1 of what will be probably three volumes - or how ever many it takes to release every single piece of music written for the entire series.
     
  4. Charles Ellis

    Charles Ellis Screenwriter

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    I loved ths show during its original run, very much a worthy successor to both Twilight Zone and Night Gallery. My favorite stories include Paul Bartel's "Secret Cinema" (a paranoid's dream come true!), "Hell Toupee", and "Boo"!
     
  5. Jeff#

    Jeff# Screenwriter

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    It's hard to think of Amazing Stories as a successor to the Night Gallery, because most of the AS stories are fantasies and not horror.

    Another reason is because the 1980s Twilight Zone series was a contemporary to this series.
     
  6. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    I've always had mixed feelings about this one since the set-up and premise are so visceral and real (reminding me of a similarly harrowing sequence with Richard Jaeckel from "Sometimes a Great Notion") that when a "fantastic" element is introduced, it feels like it devalues the whole enterprise.

    It was very cleverly shot, though. The dark lighting and art direction are very atypical for mid-80s TV productions, but make it seem much more cinematic while probably not busting the TV budget on which it was produced. Come to think of it, it probably would have looked great in black and white. Of course, a full orchestral John Williams score and a cast filled with future stars never hurts your production value either. [​IMG]

    A year later, Sutherland and Casey Siemaszko would be re-united as Ace and Billy in Rob Reiner's "Stand by Me"


    Regards,
     
  7. Stephen_J_H

    Stephen_J_H All Things Film Junkie

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    I will pick this up eventually. I actually taped about 90% of these off the air as a teenager. Can't wait for season 2, where the series really hit its stride.
     
  8. Stephen_J_H

    Stephen_J_H All Things Film Junkie

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    Well, I picked this up and was wondering if anyone had any inside information on production of the series? I had to wonder if it was shot on 16mm, because darker episodes look very grainy, but that may be partly due to film stock. The other thing I noticed was quite a bit of gate weave on the transfers.

    That being said, I'm glad to have these looking better than they ever did on VHS.
     
  9. Xenia Stathakopoulou

    Xenia Stathakopoulou Cinematographer

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    I have 1 question about this series, i just ordered this off amazon.Im wondering how this series holds up today, keep in mind i havent watched this since its original run.I only remember some very fuzzy memories of a handful of episodes like remote control man and fine tuning.Did this still seem like a good show for anyone who purchased it and hadnt seen it for years ? I remember that i would rarely miss a show.
     
  10. Jeff#

    Jeff# Screenwriter

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    Amazing Stories was OK as far as supernatural anthology shows go, and because of Steven Spielberg's involvement it was certainly more cinematic on an NBC TV budget than the Twilight Zone series over on CBS.

    But the problems with all anthology shows is that the stories vary greatly in quality, so AS is as much a mixed bag as anything else in the genre. There are going to some tales that are memorable (the comedy about a high school boy who become magnetizeds; Sid Caesar as a magician), while others (such as the animated "Family Dog") that are best forgotten.

    The most impressive thing about Amazing Stories is the slick animated theme music & montage. Although that was produced in a pre-digital era it beats anything made today.
     
  11. Xenia Stathakopoulou

    Xenia Stathakopoulou Cinematographer

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    Jeff, thats 1 thing i still kind of remember from the series , the opening theme montage.Cant wait to recieve this next week !
     
  12. Xenia Stathakopoulou

    Xenia Stathakopoulou Cinematographer

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    I recieved my set today, if the first episode is any indication for me to go by , this series for me is still as fun as it was back in the 80s.
     
  13. John Stuart

    John Stuart Agent

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    Hi folks,
    are there any plans to release the second season from Amazing Stories? I can't find it anywhere.
     

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