Cult TV

Cult Television Essentials: Eerie, Indiana

Eerie, Indiana was an American television series that originally aired on NBC from 1991 to 1992. The series was created by José Rivera and Karl Schaefer, with Joe Dante serving as creative consultant.

A total of nineteen episodes were produced. The final episode aired for the first time in 1993, when the series was syndicated on The Disney Channel. The show was rerun on The Disney Channel from October 7, 1993 to late-March 1996. In 1997, the show generated a new fan base, when Fox’s children’s programming block Fox Kids aired the series, gaining something of a cult following despite its short run. The renewed popularity in the series, encouraged Fox to produce a spin-off Eerie, Indiana: The Other Dimension, lasting only one season in 1998.

CAST

  • Marshall Teller, played by Omri Katz, is the protagonist of the series. With the help of his sidekick and best friend, Simon Holmes, he manages to unravel the many mysteries that plague Eerie, Indiana. Before moving to Eerie, Indiana, he and his family once lived in the city is filled with pollution and crime, which he likes. Though occasionally arrogant, Marshall is also intelligent, resourceful and quick-thinking, qualities that come in handy during his investigations. He is sometimes torn between hanging out with Simon and following his burgeoning instincts about girls. Marshall constantly compares Eerie to where he grew up in New Jersey, which is the epitome of ‘normal’ in his mind. He is a fan of the New York Giants.
  • Simon Holmes, played by Justin Shenkarow, is Marshall’s best friend. Due to the constant arguing between Simon’s parents, he chooses to spend most of his free time hanging out with Marshall. Prior to Marshall’s arrival, Simon was a lonely child, as most of his peers in Eerie shun him. Similar to Marshall, Simon believes that something is afoul in Eerie. In the episode “America’s Scariest Home Video”, it is revealed that Simon has a younger brother, Harley Schwarzenegger Holmes, who was never mentioned before and never appears again.

  • Edgar Teller, played by Francis Guinan, is Marshall’s father. Edgar works at “Things Incorporated”, a product testing company, for a living. According to Marshall, it was Edgar’s idea to leave New Jersey, and move to Eerie. During the course of the series, it is revealed that Edgar interned at the Smithsonian Institution before entering the University of Syracuse to do his undergraduate work in archeology. He later received a scholarship from NASA to attend M.I.T., where he worked on his thesis, “Matter: What is it Exactly?”. As Edgar is a scientist, many fans believe that his name was a subtle nod towards Edward Teller, an American nuclear physicist who helped develop the Hydrogen Bomb.

  • Marilyn Teller, played by Mary-Margaret Humes, is Marshall’s mother. Marilyn operates her own party planning business at the Eerie Mall. Ironically, as shown in “Foreverware”, Marilyn is not an organised person. In episode “Who’s Who”, she is briefly adopted as a mother by Sara Bob, who is trying to create a perfect family.

  • Syndi Marie Priscilla Teller, played by Julie Condra, is Marshall’s older sister. At the time in which Marshall introduces Syndi to the audience, she is practicing for her Drivers Ed. Test. Marshall often ridicules his sister for the awkward spelling of her name. Syndi aims to be a reporter and spends time with the Eerie police and fire department to gain experience. “The Loyal Order of Corn”, was the only episode in the series Syndi was absent for.

  • Dash X, played by Jason Marsden, is a character shrouded in mystery. First introduced in the episode “The Hole in the Head Gang”, Dash claims that he woke up in “Weirdsville” without any knowledge to how he got there. Dash has no memory of parents, hometown, past or his real name. Since Dash has no home, he is forced to live on the streets and eat out of Dumpsters. Dash is commonly referred to as “The Kid with the Grey Hair”. People would later go on to call him the “Sneaky Kid with the Hair” and “The Kid with No Name”. On some occasions, Dash would help Marshall and Simon solve some of Eerie’s mysteries, most notably by helping them infiltrate the Loyal Order of Corn cult. Dash X gave himself his name in the episode “The Loyal Order of the Corn”, as a reference to the mysterious ‘-‘ and ‘+’ markings on his hands which were shared by the extraterrestrial leader of the cult. Dash X may believe that the cult leader, played by Ray Walston may be his father, but he returns to his homeworld without revealing whether or not he is.

PLOT

The series revolves around Marshall Teller, a teenager whose family moves to the desolate town of Eerie, Indiana, population of 16,661. While moving into his new home, he meets Simon Holmes, one of the few normal people in Eerie. Together, they are faced with bizarre scenarios, which include discovering a sinister group of intelligent dogs that are planning on taking over the world, and meeting a tornado hunter who is reminiscent of Captain Ahab. They also confront numerous urban legends such as Bigfoot and a still-living Elvis Presley. Although the show was host to a plethora of jokes, it also featured a serious X-Files-like tone. After thirteen episodes, one of which did not air during the network run, the series was retooled with Jason Marsden’s “Dash X” added to the cast and Archie Hahn’s Mr. Radford is revealed to be an imposter, with John Astin revealed to be the “actual” Mr. Radford. The final produced episode was a tongue-in-cheek, fourth wall breaking sequence of events depicting Dash X’s attempts to take over as star of the show.

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