Channel Zero: Candle Cove , Syfy
Cast: Paul Schneider, Fiona Shaw, Natalie Brown, Luisa D’Oliveira, Shaun Benson
Creator: Nick Antosca
Producers: Max Landis, Nick Antosca, Craig William Macneill, Jan Peter Meyboom
Review by : Insha Fitzpatrick
I’ve been catching up on a butt load of television lately and man, this one was so good. Channel Zero, premiered on Syfy October 11, 2016, really had me at the first episode and kept me through all episodes until the end. I fell asleep at 4am. I have absolutely no regrets.
Channel Zero, created by Nick Antosca, focuses on popular creepypasta stories. If you’re familiar with creepypastas, they’re horror or scary stories that are legends/images that have been copies and pasted because of their popularity. These stories always range. They can go from murder, ghost, creepy legends and lost episodes. It’s amazing how much creepypastas seep into everyday life. The most legendary creepypasta character however is Slenderman. However, we aren’t talking about Slenderman this time around. Channel Zero takes its story from another legendary story, a television show called Candle Cove, a story originally written by Kris Straub. He wrote it as a “half remembered children’s television series from the 1970s.” The show featured a couple of pirate puppet characters, but the most memorable one was Skin-Taker, a figure who skins his victims. Children could only see the show. When they sat in front of the television, they would be watching the show through static for a good thirty minutes… never watching an actual program.
Channel Zero: Candle Cove focused on Mike Painter (Paul Schneider), a child psychiatrist, who is drawn back to his hometown, Iron Hill, about thirty years after a tragedy. An unsolved murder including five children who went missing and only four of them were found, but the last one, his twin brother Eddie, was never found and continues to be missing. Everything is drawing Mike back to Iron Hill with a force that he hasn’t felt since he was a kid. Over dinner one night with his old girlfriend Jessica (Natalie Brown) and friend Gary Yolan (Shaun Benson), a television show everyone would rather forgets come back. Mike catches Katie, Jessica and Gary’s daughter, watching Candle Cove on television, a show that he saw as a kid, but when everyone thought it was “cancelled” after the unsolved murder. Candle Cove, a legendary TV show that only kids could watch, but adults have never seen is back. It’s not only back, but it’s coming back with a vengeance and it doesn’t care who it kills in the process.
Now, let’s talk. I really enjoyed this first season of the Channel Zero. It was only six, one hour episodes in the first half of it’s season making it epically binge-watchable. I’ve always been one to be intrigued by what people can do with urban legends and lost stories to turn it on it’s head. It can be great or awful how people adapt things, but Channel Zero: Candle Cove stuck hard to it’s material. They were able to anchor a story around it to give it life, but not take away from the original legend. That’s the best thing about this show. It hits something in you as a kid, making you think back to all of those things that you think you saw. It played on your childhood fears and kept that creepy feeling that left you moving your shoulder to get something off of you.
At first, I was very iffy to watch because of Paul Schneider. However… he did a good job in this show! Not saying it was the most fantastic thing I’ve ever seen, but if you watch this against his Parks and Recreation days as Mark Brendanaquits, you’ll understand. He gave his all and he gave it in the most hazy way possible that’s absolutely perfect for what they were going for. His character goes through a lot. He suffered separation from his wife, a reconnection with his mum Marla (Fiona Shaw), an exit out of hospital and he’s having all kinds of f*cked up dreams, mostly about his brother. He’s having a bad crisis, he has to come back to a down he doesn’t even wanna be in, so his hazy mood is all the range and understandable.
Just like in Stranger Things, the kids really steal the show. They get creepier and creepier as the show goes along. You also realize how cruel kids really are to one another and the length that someone will go through in order to keep themselves protected. We all have those fantasies of standing up to bullies and making them pay, but in this, Eddie Painter takes that above and beyond, creating his own world and man, is it f*cking terrifying. Luca Villacis, not only played Eddie Painter, but he also played his own twin, Mike Painter. It was incredible to see this kid act and it’s definitely the makings of a great actor in process.
I haven’t heard anyone talk about this show a lot so I think it deserves a Watch It! It’s SUPER cleaver in its overall execution and plot. It follows the story of Candle Cove bringing it out to be apart of the bigger story at hand. It doesn’t lose it’s focus or sight in the least. It carries just have just enough of staying power throughout the episodes to keep you watching.