The Best Episodes of the Original Amazing Stories
It took 30 years and two networks, but the Amazing Stories reboot is finally going forward at...Apple? That’s right, Apple is jumping into the original programming game with a $50 million commitment to the first season of Amazing Stories. At $5 million an episode, that’s going to make them a player in Peak TV.
Via The Verge, The Wall Street Journal was the first to report that American Gods’ Bryan Fuller has signed on to executive produce the new incarnation of Amazing Stories alongside Steven Spielberg. It was Spielberg who created the original Amazing Stories for NBC in 1985 as a then-modern riff on The Twilight Zone’s anthology tales. Presumably the new series will keep that format intact.
Now, there are some questions about Apple’s plans for the series, and if they’ve even thought this through. Apple made this announcement without any concrete details about how they’re going to make money off of it. There’s always iTunes, but this kind of money suggests grander ambitions. Perhaps Apple is even planning to make its own streaming service for original programming. If anyone could challenge Netflix, it’s them.
For fans who have never seen Amazing Stories, we’ve put together a primer on some of the show’s best episodes. If Fuller and company are looking for inspiration, there’s no better place to start than here.
If "Ghost Train" looks and plays like a miniature Steven Spielberg film, that’s because it pretty much is what it appears to be. Spielberg wrote the story and directed the pilot episode about a supernatural train that delivers a very different kind of ghost story.
Now this might be the very best Amazing Stories episode of them all. "The Mission" was a double length episode that was once again directed by Spielberg, who also contributed the story, Kevin Costner starred as the captain of a World War II bomber plane on its way home that seemingly has no way of safely landing. It’s one of the more intense episodes of the series, although the ending is somewhat divisive.
Gather Ye Acorns
Three years after Return of the Jedi, Mark Hamill played a collector who saved the childish things that he loved even when it cost him almost every that he had. There’s also a tree troll who encourages Hamill’s character along the way, and it seemed to predict the rise of the collector’s culture that we have today.
Martin Scorsese directed one of the series’ scariest episodes, as Sam Waterston played a horror novelist who saw a terrifying face in every reflection that he saw. And there was no getting away from this creature, because he carried it around inside of him.
Go to the Head of the Class
Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale, and Christopher Lloyd reunited for this darkly comedic horror tale about a pair of students who use a spell on their teacher, and inadvertently bring him back to life. Lloyd played the teacher, and he literally gets the last word in the episode.
Amazing Stories was the proving ground for Brad Bird, before he went on to become a great animation director. Family Dog was written and directed by Bird, and it not only opened more doors for his career, it also led to a Family Dog animated series!
In another standout episode, Bob Balaban portrayed a lyricist who literally called upon George Gershwin’s ghost to write a new musical for him. The twist at the end is beautifully executed, and it had a very Twilight Zone-like resolution. Let's just say that it's always a bad idea to use the black arts in a creative pursuit!
Hopefully the new Amazing Stories series will also deliver some classic episodes. But there’s no word yet on when it will debut on Apple.