Saturday, October 24, 2020

Cathode Ray Mission 24 - Nightmare Cafe

Nightmare Café (1992)
S01E01 Pilot

Nightmare Café was a short-lived series that ran on NBC for just six episodes. It stars Robert Englund and has ‘Nightmare’ in the title, but if you are expecting something like a slightly more classy ‘Freddy’s Nightmares’ you are going to be disappointed. This isn’t strictly a horror series and Englund is charming but he’s deliberately playing against type as a more mischievous and lighter character.  I can see horror fans walking away after the first episode and that’s probably a large reason for the show’s short lifespan, or at least that exactly how I felt when watching this at 17. Still, I decided to give it another chance after all this time and found it to be rather fun.

The pilot sets up the whole premise but takes a long road to get there. Frank Nolan (Jack Coleman) and Fay Peronivic (Lindsay Frost) are to people who find themselves washed up on a riverbank, soaked and confused they wander into the titular Nightmare Café. There they find uniforms that fit and a strange old television set into the wall. After figuring out something is strange about the place, Robert England saunters in and teases them about where they are. Then both Frank and Fay are off reliving the moments that brought them to the café but now with a chance to set things right. It’s the first episode so of course, they succeed but they are now employees of the café and must attend to future customers.

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