Eerie, Indiana: The Original X-Files

read more: The X-Files Binging Guide

Marshall Teller was a kid from New Jersey whose parents decided to downgrade and move to the small town of Eerie, Indiana to raise their family in a safer environment. Marshall hates the town of Eerie because it’s not the dirty, crowded city he was born in. Statistically speaking, it’s the most normal place in the country. But, as Marshall himself states in the opening narration for the pilot, “statistics lie.” The more time he spends there, the more he realizes that the town has a lot more going on underneath its surface than anyone cares to notice.

To pass the time, Marshall takes up a new hobby that’s more of a quest. He starts investigating every act of weirdness in Eerie to find out why it is the way it is. He claims pieces of evidence from each “case” he looks into, storing each one in a dark locker tucked away in the corner his secret attic room. His new best friend – Simon Holmes, a younger boy who has an unhappy home life and not a lot of friends – joins Marshall in his endless crusade to prove that Eerie is weird as sh*t.

Each episode followed the same plot template: Marshall and Simon check out the latest supernatural Twilight Zone flavored mystery of the week and learn something new about the town or themselves (or both) in the process. Even so, there was a distinct self-awareness Eerie, Indiana had that made it a richer experience than your average two-dimensional programming at the time. Ongoing storylines were hinted at by winks, nods, and easter eggs sprinkled throughout the course of its only season. Each reference or gag was a reminder that Eerie, Indiana had a good memory and a sense of humor about itself to boot.

If you want to get deep, this show could pass as commentary on how the small town was dying alongside the American dream from the ‘50s and ‘60s. The ‘90s were finally here. It was almost the future! But what did we have to show for it? Eerie, Indiana was the pop culture backwash that played with this state of mind, using this lens as a motif to tell timeless stories about growing up with an imagination in a boring capitalist society. With the combined talents of Jose Rivera, Karl Schaefer, and Joe Dante, the show became a nostalgic love letter to adults who grew up in the golden age and a source of inspiration for a new generation of kids growing up in the pre-millennial era.

The cast was incredible. For many of you out there, Omri Katz is forever Max from Hocus Pocus. For the rest of us, he is Marshall Teller until the bitter end. Katz brings such passion to the role, perfectly capturing an air of treehouse mystique, and usually steals any scene he’s in. That’s quite a feat, since he has a lot to compete with. Justin Shenkarow did a bang-up job as his right hand man Simon Teller, a character that slightly changed from a youthful innocent to wisecracking sidekick as the series progressed. Shenkarow never seemed to lose a step no matter what, which added an extra dash of Eerie, Indiana self-awareness to the role.

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