Greetings fellow movie goers from around the globe. Today’s review is an underrated series titled, “So Weird” that used to air on Disney Channel back when they didn’t make horrendous shows like “Hannah Montana” or anything related to production company, It’s A Laugh Productions. The is basically a kids version of “The X-Files” focusing on a preteen girl named, Fiona “Fi” Phillips who investigates supernatural or out of this world predicaments while her rock star mom travels across the country.
So Weird’s first season aired in 1999 (along with The Sopranos) on Disney Channel. The show became a hit among younger viewers spawning two more seasons until it ended in 2001. As a kid back when the show first aired, I had vague memories. I never cared about the characters, I was craving for some heebie jeebies. Ironically, So Weird never gave me night terrors.
Disney are working on a reboot of “The Haunted Mansion” with Tiffany Haddish, Owen Wilson, Lakeith Stanfield & Rosario Dawson onboard.
Today’s review contains no SPOILERS. I’m giving newcomers a chance to see So Weird. Feel free to read my non-spoiler article.
Positive & Negative Elements
Positive: The Main Cast including Cara DeLizia (who went AWOL since the show ended) & Mackenzie Phillips did a great job for their respective performances.
Henry Winkler served as an executive producer.
Cinematography never had any technical flaws.
If you’re a fan of “Dragon Ball Z,” David “Squatch” Ward A.K.A. The Ox King, plays Ned the tour bus driver. As a kid, I never fully realized it was Ox King. Right now, it gave me a mind screw. In a good way.
The show is like a cross between The X-Files & DC Comics’ John Constantine for kids.
For a kids show, The Tone contains a darker tone.
I think So Weird is a blueprint for “Gravity Falls” & “Stranger Things.”
Sometimes the humor can silly. I don’t mind a few jokes. Not as cringeworthy as anything by It’s A Laugh Productions.
In every episode, Fi narrates a subject based on her investigation.
Opening Theme has a catchy tune called, “In The Darkness.” Mackenzie did her own singing too. There’s a music video you can check out on YouTube.
Clu is possibly named after Kevin Flynn’s program from “Tron.” A wink to longtime Disney fans.
Negative: The show is dated with late 90s written all over it as in Fi’s website. Even a chat room was new back in the late 90s.
Some of the episodes have a few hiccups. Most notably, Special Effects.
Two episodes end with a Freeze Frame. I don’t like how any movie or show ends using this cliche. I tend to poke fun of it as a narrator on a cheesy soap opera.
Episode 1 – Family Reunion
Ascend: Shawn Levy (Night At The Museum Trilogy, Stranger Things, Free Guy) directs the pilot episode.
At a rehearsal, Fi encounters a ghost boy.
The pilot episode takes place in Chicago. The city where Christopher & Jonathan Nolan grew up.
For a kids show, Jack has a valid point about death.
In one scene, Fi said the title of the show. Never gets old when somebody title drops a a movie or show.
Descend: No flaws found.
Episode 2 – Web Sight
Upwards: Episode 2’s title is a play-on-word of website.
Fi receives a message from the future. Her laptop also has premonitions of audio and visual clips on what’s yet to come.
One character said, “No way.” The other replies, “Yes way.” A reference to “Bill & Ted.”
Molly reunites with an old friend.
Downwards: Nothing spotted.
Episode 3 – Memory
Unforgettable: On a hot day, Fi arrives at a local town in Oklahoma. The residents have repressed memories.
Forgettable: Aliens are obviously fake like anybody buying a costume at a dollar store. Disney was on a budget, because they couldn’t afford authentic costume designs.
A Freeze Frame pops up at the end.
Episode 4 – Sacrifice
Float: While camping, Fi gets lost in the woods as she investigates Bigfoot.
An old song from The 19th Century serves as a plot point.
A flashback shows a wounded soldier from The Civil War linked to Bigfoot.
Sink: Despite a few close-ups and glimpses of Bigfoot, there’s no full shot of his appearance. Bigfoot’s design in the Beastie Boys music video “Triple Trouble” is more authentic.
A Freeze Frame happened at the end yet again.
Episode 5 – Escape
Free: A ghost girl who looks like “Annie” (from the musical and movie) factors in.
Trapped: A Plot Hole involving a ton of people didn’t notice a girl literally passing by Fi. Are they blind like Ray Charles? I understand the girl can use astral projection, but how come Fi, Jack & Clu are the only ones who see her? Doesn’t make any gosh darn sense.
Episode 6 – Simplicity
Clean: Episode 6’s title is named after a town.
Gremlins are tearing technology apart.
Fi mentioned if we depend on technology too much, something will happen. She does have a point. Remember in 2014 when The Guardians Of Peace hacked Sony’s slate of upcoming films and employees’ personal info? If we use tech for the wrong reasons, consequences will drastically increase.
Tarnished: Molly used to write a dumb jingle. It’s addressed as obnoxious. I know the jingle factors in for one important scene, but I couldn’t stand it. Jim Carrey’s most annoying sound in the world from “Dumb And Dumber” is more comfortable.
A businessman acts like a total dweeb. Kinda feels outta place for a kids show with a darker tone featuring a nutty businessman.
Gremlins themselves never made a physical appearance. Except for one shot of an arm.
I swear to god I’m not kidding, Gremlins sing the jingle during The End Credits. They sound like “Alvin And The Chipmunks.” EGADS! I hate the live action movies.
Episode 7 – Angel
Right: Fi become suspicious of a man (not Brad Pitt as Joe Black) who may be The Grim Reaper.
In a crucial moment, Fi encounters The Grim Reaper. She makes a noble decision.
This episode gets serious.
Wrong: A farm girl is named, Gabe. Correct me if I’m wrong, is Gabe a unisex name?
Episode 8 – Strangeling
Approved: While attending a Shakespeare play, Fi discovers a mysterious book.
One character said my favorite word, “Faker.” I always use that word whenever I despise something terrible.
Eminem is mentioned. His album “The Slim Shady LP” came out in 1999.
A dragon factors in. He doesn’t look fake.
Denied: No flaws spotted.
Episode 9 – Rebecca
Immortal: Fi meets an ageless girl who was a childhood friend of Molly.
Episode 9’s title is named after Molly’s friend and a song named after her.
Unlike the rest of the episodes, this one is personal regarding Molly’s friend.
Mortal: No issues discovered.
Episode 10 – Tulpa
Sweet: Fi meets a boy with telekinetic powers.
Stale: No cons found.
Episode 11 – Singularity
More: This episode centers around a time portal. Kinda like a kids version of “Tenet.” Something tells me Christopher “Chris” Nolan went back in time to write an episode of a Disney Channel series.
Fi overcomes self-doubt using a new skill.
An old geezer is named, “Mad Max.”
Less: No boo boos spotted.
Episode 12 – Lost
Found: Fi attempts to wake up a comatose girl by using a computer. Wait a gosh darn second. This episode predates “Inception.” A person uses a device to locate an individual’s subconscious. First Tenet, now Inception? Did Chris Nolan worked as a script doctor on Disney Channel to finance “Memento?”
Kyla Pratt (Penny Proud) from The Proud Family guest stars as the girl in a coma.
Missing: Nothing bad occurred.
Episode 13 – Will O’ The Wisp
Light: Jack is possessed by the titular ghost.
Fi must solve a riddle if she wants to save her brother.
Season Finale takes place in a small town located in Texas. I’m giving the show an Extra Point. I’m a Texan myself.
Without giving too much away, the ghost swears he’ll meet Fi again. Setting up Season 2.
Dark: No flaws found.
The Final Verdict: B-
Despite a few blemishes, So Weird’s first season is an enjoyable start. If you wanna introduce your kids to this underrated Disney Channel series, stream the first season on Disney Plus. Then, try out the next two seasons.