Feb 25, 2021

The New "Are You Afraid of the Dark": Are They Afraid of Beefcake?

Everything old is new again on Nickelodeon.  The venerable children's network is brushing off several long-lost shows and giving them a 2019 treatment:
All That
That's So Raven
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers

And most recently, Are You Afraid of the Dark, the anthology series that aired from 1990 to 1996: in each episode, the Midnight Society gathers to hear a ghost or paranormal story recited by a member, and acted out for us. 

I didn't care for it.  We learn almost nothing about the lives of the Midnight Society members.  They gather, exchange a few words, tell the story, and "the end."  It would have been much more effective if the stories had some connection to their real-life problems. 

But I had to admit, the actors were photogenic:  intellectual group leader Ross Hull, bad boy Jason Alisharan, nerd Nathaniel Moreau, and my personal favorite, the massively gorgeous Daniel DeSanto.

The reboot, a three part miniseries premiering in October 2019, breaks the cardinal rule of the old series:  the paranormal events are just stories, not real. 

Now they are.

New girl on the block Rachel (Lyliana Wray),who is having mysterious, disturbing dreams, shows up at school, where both the geek Gavin (Sam Ashe Arnold, top photo) and the geekier Graham (Jeremy Ray Taylor, left) hit on her. 

They invite her to a meeting of the Midnight Society, which apparently has only four members.  The other two are girls, Akiko and Louise.

Rachel tells her story, about a sinister carnival that rolls into town, and a manager, Mr. Tophat (Rafael Casal), who steals kids' souls (apparently she's been reading Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes).

To their surprise, a sinister carnival does roll into town, and the Midnight Society must fight real paranormal peril.

As you may have noticed, the miniseries is rather beefcake-deficient:  only two boys, neither likely teen idol material.

I did find Brandon Routh down the cast list as "Mysterious Handsome Man."

So who's looking at his face?

And since personal lives of the original Midnight Society were absent, it was easy to read them as gay.  Not here: the two male Midnight Society boys are aggressively heterosexual.

I give it a C-.

See also: Are You Afraid of the Dark?>


  1. Brandon Routh? Super! Sadly, the censored bulge is just urban legend.

    Anyway, the Midnight Society is just a framing device, à la the Crypt-Keeper.

  2. Carnival that steals kids' souls? Getting awfully close to the old libels about the Roma.

    I would assume some Nick remade All That for the same reason they're remaking iCarly, and we can all agree to a Schneider-free version of those shows.

  3. Sam Ashe, would be so georgeous man!!!


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