horror · television

Retro Rundown: Disney’s Original Series “So Weird”

Today is a definite stroll down memory lane. I forgot this show existed and one day it popped in my head and I thought… I wonder if Disney has this available and it should because it is a Disney Original and boom, there it was.

All 3 seasons. And yet I don’t remember the third season, barely the first two.

What I did remember is the main cast, especially the lead protagonist Fiona aka Fi and she had a laptop and ran a website called So Weird and the opening theme song.

So this is a show that I don’t think ever re-ran on air after it’s three season run. This is a hidden gem on the Disney platform and I wonder how many watched this show. Of course I did because I love the spooks and paranormal/supernatural aspects of the show then. Now as an adult, I still enjoy that but I was taken aback by the writing, acting and how mature and dark this series was.

I’m gonna discuss the first episode of Disney’s Original Series, So Weird.

soweird_1

In the darkness is the light…

Catchy song, I told you. So like I said before, I have not seen or thought about this show up until a few days ago and was interested in rewatching with fresher adult eyes and shit, there’s a lot that I in 1999 did not pick up on. At this time, I was about 12 so a little younger than the main character Fiona/Fi is but I remember being in awe of her. She had a laptop and she had a website for the strange and unusual and basically was living on the road with her family. 106182845622150f6e_w

A big, big takeaway from this re-introduction to the series was the tone. The tone around this show, this is more mature than what was on at the time like The Famous Jett Jackson, Lizzie McGuire, Even Stevens, That’s So Raven which these shows did tackle serious topics but overall is a designated comedy or action/adventure style show.

The first episode, Family Reunion, introduces us into Fiona’s world. She’s on a tour bus with her mother Molly (Mackenzie Phillips), her brother Jack (Patrick Levis) and filling out the rest of the supporting characters are Molly’s manager, her husband and son. The adventures will mostly be circled around Fi, Jack and their friend Clu. Molly is concerned about how her children are handling the tour and the major changes, especially with Fiona and Jack… well Jack truly doesn’t know she’s handling things until the end of the episode. The plot is Molly and her team are arriving to Chicago for a show, the performance taking place near SS Eastland, which rolled over its side in 1915, a lot of lives were sadly taken.

Fiona has attracted the attention of a ghost, who at first was thought to be a victim of the Great Chicago Fire but instead of the 1915 SS Eastland tragedy.

The child is attracted to Fiona, wanting her help, and she goes on a journey with Clu and reluctantly her brother Jack, to uncover the truth. And all the while, you see a huge disconnect with Jack and Fiona. Fiona is a believer in life after death, in spirits, in the ideas of your loved ones are never really gone whereas Jack is a huge skeptic and is almost angry at his sister for believing in such things after their father’s passing. I do remember how wrong he is eventually and Molly believes in Fiona if she believes, even mentions that sometimes she feels like her husband is there with her when she plays guitar. It’s a comforting notion, especially after Fiona is given the chance to reunite said lost ghost child with his family. soweird_2

It’s a sweet ending but very mature over all. Like I said before, the tone of the episode clearly went over my head and I was just excited about the spooky shit and not the heartfelt, emotional, realistic-ish family dynamic.

There are some comedic moments, mostly between Jack and Clu but it doesn’t overshadow the episode. It’s here, it’s there, it’s gone within the next scene.

If you haven’t seen this show, please check it out. It is available on Disney+ with all 3 seasons I believe. It isn’t too late to check it out and come along the journey of seeing how the dynamic changes when your young lead goes off the show and is eventually placed by Alexz Johnson (aka Jude Harrison from Instant Star but that is not about horror!)

Episode 1, Family Reunion, gets a 4 out of 5. It’s a tossup between 3.78 or even a 3.9, it’s very close to a 4. This episode was directed by Shawn Levy who also did episodes of Stranger Things, the recent hit Free Guy and tons more. Like… tons more. The episode (and series) stars Cara DeLizia, Mackenzie Phillips, Patrick Lewis, Erik Von Detten, Belinda Metz and Dave Ward.

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