I have written about my love of anthologies before, so I won't retread that here. However, I've been re-watching episodes from some of my favorite anthology series and I thought I'd share some of them with you. All of these series fall into the sci-fi, horror or fantasy genres. I've pulled from several different series to make up this list. If you're a fan at all of short stories, I highly encourage you to check out each of these episodes.
And All Through the House -Tales From the Crypt: There are episodes I enjoy more than this one, but if I was to expose a stranger to Tales From the Crypt and they had never seen it before, this would be the episode I would start with. It has ironic mayhem and gallows humor by the bucketful-a classic episode. "After murdering her husband, a woman now has to deal with an escaped mental patient dressed as Santa Clause."
Usher II - Ray Bradbury Theatre: This series is truly wonderful, adapting many of Bradbury's short stories, and while most of the episodes are very good, I enjoy this one because it has touches of Fahrenheit 451 and pays homage to the movie monsters of the past. "In a society where books and movies are outlawed, a wealthy man crafts a house of horrors as a testament to the fantasists of the past."
The Tale of the Midnight Madness - Are you Afraid of the Dark: I used to really enjoy this series and it could be said that many of these episodes have not aged well, but I think it's best to bare in mind this was show written for young people. This episode has a special place in my heart though, because it introduced me to the F.W. Murnau classic, Nosferatu. "When a revival movie theatre is running out of luck, a strange man brings a special horror film to help bring in the crowds."
To See the Invisible Man - The Twilight Zone Revival Series: The Twilight Zone has been revived twice. Believe me when I tell you that the 80s version is the only one of these worth a damn. This episode's concept is priceless ... and believable. "For the crime of being anti-social, a man is sentenced to a year of invisibility. This means that he wears a patch on his forehead idicating that everyone should shun him."
Mummy Daddy - Amazing Stories: The first season of Amazing Stories is almost untouchable and includes many wonderful episodes, but I chose this one because it has everything you could possibly want in a short story-mummies, comedy, car chases angry townspeople. A wonderful throwback to the madcap comedies of the 1930s. [Sorry, couldn't find a link to this one. If you have NETFLIX you can watch it HERE]
Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up- The Twilight Zone: There are too many good episodes of the original TZ to count. I chose this episode because it has a wonderful stage play quality to it and could be counted on for real Twilight Zone-ness. Plus, it's usually brushed aside in favor of others like Eye of the Beholder and The Monsters are Due on Maple Street. "A bus load of people are held at a diner during a snow storm and one of them is suspected to be an alien."
The Black Cat - Masters of Horror: There were definitely episodes of this series I enjoyed more than others, but all of the episodes are entertaining (though gruesome) and while I have several favorites, this episode tops the list. The Black Cat sets itself apart from the rest of the series because it's set in the 1800s and stars Jeffery Combs' brilliant turn as Edgar Allen Poe. This episode has some gore, but is far more conservative than some of the others and really does pluck at those heart strings by the end.
Jerry Was a Man - Masters of Science Fiction: This was a spin off series that was mainly to focus on the writers unlike Masters of Horror which was really more about the directors. I have to be honest, that while I found a few of the episodes really well done, the majority of the series was weak. Nevertheless, Jerry was a Man really stands out for it's writing, direction and comedic turn by Anne Heche. "When a rich couple go to a roboticist to get a trophy pet, they end up with Jerry, a robotic janitor." [Sorry, they used to have this one on Watch instantly on NETFLIX, but now you have to get them through the mail HERE]
The Sand Kings - Outer Limits Revival Series: This was the two part pilot episode of the revival series and they certainly pulled out all of the stops. Featuring Beau and Lloyd Bridges, this episode is just simply wonderful, well-written, relevant science fiction. "A scientist researches life from Mars only to realize these small life forms revere him as a god."
Crouch End - Nightmares and Dreamscapes: This anthology mini-series was really well done. All of the episodes are well written, directed and feature top talent. This episode is special to me because it takes place in H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu universe AND features the beautiful Claire Forlani in the lead. "A couple traveling abroad in England become lost and cross over into another dimension."
If you're so inclined, you should tell me some of your favorite anthology episodes on our facebook page HERE.