Main cast: Aidan Quinn (Jeremy Bell), Kelly Rutherford (Marilyn Lanier), Paul Guilfoyle (John), Samantha Mathis (Diane Ballard), Ben Bass (Paul), Kim Hawthorne (Cheryl), Jason London (Richard Lansky), Blu Mankuma (Dooley), Emily Holmes (Amanda Bell), Julie Patzwald (Hallie), and Henry Rollins (The Host)
Directors: Keith Gordon and Yves Simoneau
Night Visions was one of the last anthology series in a dying age, and it was also a good example of a series killed by meddling from TV executives that never understood the series or cared for it in the first place. Don’t get me started about the pointless appearance of Henry Rollins as the host, who adds nothing but meaningless platitudes delivered in the most wooden manner. Still, let’s see how the heart and soul of the series – the episodes themselves – are like.
The first episode of this series bundles two shorter episodes together: The Passenger List and The Bokor.
The Passenger List sees Jeremy Bell, the arrogant and self-absorbed investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board, who just happens to be at the location of a plane crash. Apparently he couldn’t sleep, was bored… and somehow was out and about to see the plane go down. I’m sure you can already guess the twist ending just from this synopsis alone, and that’s the fatal flaw of this episode: it’s way too easy to predict what the twist will be. Everything else is just a variation of the ever-annoying “dream within a dream within a dream within a dream within…” formula that takes forever to deliver the twist that I’ve already seen coming from the get go.
Still, Aidan Quinn plays a pretty likable kind of asshole (quite a contradiction, I know, but his asshole character has his moments), and the whole thing is kind of watchable, if boring.
Next, The Bokor tells the story of a group of medical students who perform an autopsy on a Bokor, a male voodoo priest, and in the process destroy a tattoo placed onto the corpse to “block his evil powers”. Oops, it seems like he’s now back to life and is killing them one by one…
This episode is far less predictable than the previous one, although the story line resembles something rejected from Tales from the Crypt. Still, there is a campy charm to Samantha Mathis’s rather high strung acting. Some people will go EEEEE at the way this show treats voodoo but come on, this show was made from a different time and yeah, I find the whole thing too silly to be taken seriously. Still, this is a pretty decent, if forgettable, fare.
All in all, this isn’t exactly a show-stopper of a series opener, but at the same time, it’s not particularly dreadful. I’ll keep watching just to see what this one takes me.