The Steven Speilberg Horror Science Fiction Fantasy Series Kids Need To See

By Brian Myers | Published

Anthology shows are great vehicles for showcasing a broad array of writers’ ideas without committing them to feature film time slots. The stand-alone episode approach to storytelling was one that attracted the attention of Steven Spielberg when he launched the short-lived 1980s series Amazing Stories, a show that combined elements of science fiction and fantasy, with a smattering of mild horror. The show might not have been a ratings success, but its critical accolades for its writing and acting have helped it stand the test of time and should be a part of the next generation’s diet of classic television.

Spielberg’s TV Experiment

Amazing Stories began its two-season run in the fall of 1985. Over 45 episodes, Spielberg brought in some of the greatest TV directors of the era and put them to work with many of the most notable and talented performers. The family-friendly show introduced audiences to a half-hour of brilliant storytelling each week, each show weaving great humor into plotlines that often taught solid life lessons.

Weekly Surprises

Viewers never knew what to expect when they tuned in each week. Amazing Stories might detail how two mischievous boys meet their match with a new babysitter that is well-versed in voodoo. Or perhaps audiences will see a housewife terrorized by a creature that comes to life from her son’s drawings one rainy day and have her entire afternoon upended by the clumsy monster’s voracious appetite for inanimate objects.

Horrific Headless Chase

But the one of the most popular Amazing Stories episodes was one of its forays into horror. In “Go to the Head of the Class,” two students grow tired of their domineering English teacher (Christopher Lloyd) and cast a spell on him. The spell winds up severing the man’s head, resulting in his body (head in hand) chasing the couple throughout the rest of the chilling episode.

Genre-Bending Success

Visions of a killer seen only in reflective surfaces, a house haunted by its former occupants, and a teenaged boy figuring out that he and his parents are visiting aliens from a faraway galaxy made for a well-rounded show that crossed multiple genres. Amazing Stories was rewarded for its efforts multiple times at the Prime Time Emmys, garnering 12 nominations and five wins.

Star-Studded Lineup

The list of stars on Amazing Stories is seemingly endless with every episode containing a familiar guest star. Veteran actors David Carradine, Jeffrey Jones, Haley Mills, Charles Durning, Danny DeVito, and John Lithgow were among the bigger names that delighted viewers each week. The show also gave early looks at Andrew McCarthy, Keifer Sutherland, Tim Robbins, Forest Whitaker, and Mary Stuart Masterson.

Amazing Stories also used many of the talented child stars of the day. Benji Gregory (ALF), Gary Coleman (Diff’rent Strokes), Seth Green (Family Guy, Robot Chicken) and Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer) are a few young faces that the series hosted

Series Made 80s TV Fun

The series represented so much about what made 1980s television fun to watch. No matter how fantastic the tale, the characters were always believable and the predicaments they found themselves in left audiences with a feeling of possibility.

Amazing Stories is not currently available on demand or on any streaming services, but you can purchase both seasons on Vudu, Prime, AppleTV, and Google Play.