The Munsters and The Munsters Today

The Munsters (1964-1966)
The Munsters Today (1988-1991)
Type: Spin Off

   Every once in a while a show comes along that makes you thankful you're alive and fills you with love for your fellow man. Then there are shows like The Munsters Today that make you wish you were never born and question the existence of God.

   Lets keep this quick. The Munsters Today is like a tragically deformed freak: if you consider it for too long your stomach will begin to turn. The Munsters was one of many 60's sit coms with a wacky "out there" premise. The Munster were a family who were all classic monster movie monsters: dad Herman was Frankenstein, mom Lily was Vampira, Grandpa was Dracula, and son Eddie was a werewolf. The only normal one was cousin Marilyn who was a beautiful babe. The thing was the Munsters and Marilyn herself thought Marilyn was the ugly freakish looking one. Aside from the way they looked and the various horror elements (a dragon in the basement, a creepy house, Grandpa's spell casting...) they behaved like a perfectly normal loving family.

   The Munsters did not last long on network TV but the two seasons of the show have played in syndication forever! What kid wouldn't love such an odd show? The show built itself up a place in peoples minds. And, hey, any show people have even an inkling of love for is in Hollywood's eyes worth dragging out and trying to revive. Or in this case dragging out, tying to the back bumper and driving it down the street in a shameful display of thoughtless abuse. I'm sorry. I'm not that huge a fan of the original show but I do hate the updated version with a vengeance.

   In 1988 The Munsters Today premiered in syndication. The wacky idea was that one of Grandpa's spells had gone terribly wrong and put the whole family to sleep for 20 years. Hahahaha. Oh that wacky Grandpa. When they woke up it was the eighties and they just went about life as usual. Only now there were new actors playing the Munsters who bore no resemblance to the original cast in either appearance or behavior. And where the old show was shot on an elaborate set on black and white film so that it looked like the horror movies it referenced, the new show was shot on a low rent set in color and on video tape. Eeeck! Wanna talk scary. Both the cast and filming changes utterly ruined the show but on top of these problems the writing on the show was just bad! All of this added up to one of those shows where you actually can't look at the screen without feeling bad. And even if you look away you are still assaulted by crappy dialogue. This show should be burned and the ashes buried in a lead lined containment dump for a century until it is no longer a threat to life.

   Believe it or not, I will say one good thing about the show. It did have a cast of good actors. They were good actors saddled with a show that had no hope of working. I mean the new Lily was Lee Meriwether! And John Schuck who played the new Herman is a good actor and a real nice guy. Knowing they were good actors trapped in such a bad show only made it even more unbearable to watch. I once saw a story on Entertainment Tonight that said Bonnie Franklin, formerly of One Day At A Time, was directing episodes of The Munsters Today and I just felt horrible for her. They might as well have said she had been hit by a bus. If you see this show pop up on the dial somewhere please please please, for your own sake, turn the channel. And then pray. Pray we never see its like again.

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