An Episode Guide to Monsters (The TV Show)
Posted by Trixter on October 11, 2014
The 1980s was defined by trends, one of which was the rise of the classic horror movie. This manifested itself in the form of several “horror” TV shows that combined elements of The Twilight Zone (including a Twilight Zone remake itself!), A Nightmare On Elm Street, and elements of traditional horror. These were sometimes hard shows to make, as they had to be sufficiently scary, disturbing, surprising, etc. while not violating any television broadcasting codes. Many episodes used humor to disarm some of the more unsettling themes. Due to the content, many of these shows were broadcast only in the late evening between midnight and 2am.
Two of these horror anthologies, Tales from the Darkside and later Monsters, were produced by Laurel Entertainment, the brainchild of George Romero and Richard P. Rubinstein. Tales was pitched to networks based on the success of Laurel’s Creepshow, which WGN bought and syndicated. When it ended, Laurel started Monsters. Monsters is very much like Tales, except it focuses more on horror, whereas Tales delved into sci-fi, fantasy, and modern-day “ironic twist” stories similar to The Twilight Zone.
Being the month of Halloween, there’s no better time to check out Monsters. It was recently released on DVD, and you can find the entire series online if you look hard enough. To help you experience only the good stuff and skip terrible episodes, I’ve created Trixter’s Totally Subjective and Spoiler-free Guide to Monsters (The TV Show). It’s presented as a Google Docs spreadsheet with some filters for your convenience.
By “spoiler-free”, I mean I’ve created a column that describes the basic plot of the show without giving away anything that would ruin any surprises, twist endings, etc. If you want to only check out notable guest stars, there is a “notable guest stars” column. If you are only watching Monsters because you were a fan of Tales from the Darkside, there is a column for that too: Because both shows were created by the same production company and most of the same people, many Monsters episodes feel more like TFTD, so you can filter on that if you were only a fan of the former.
But if you’re really short on time, just use the filter on the Grade column and watch anything graded A. Some of those are just bananas.