Ultra-quirky sitcom Eerie Indiana was notable for any reasons. Not only did it place the family sitcom in a unique setting and situation, its sophisticated handling of its paranormal elements also paved the way for later non-sitcom shows like The X-Files and Roswell.
The show focused on Marshall Teller, a young man who felt quite homesick when his inventor father, Edgar, uprooted the family from their New Jersey home and moved them to Eerie, a small town in Indiana. Also along for the ride were Marilyn, Marshall’s mom, and Syndi, his narcissistic older sister. Marshall’s post-move depression quickly gave way to bemusement when he took stock of his new surroundings.
The town of Eerie truly managed to live up to its name. Bizarre things went on night and day: Elvis Presley lived in a little suburban house, there were two young men who had remained teenagers since the 1960’s by sleeping every night in giant plastic containers called Foreverware, and the dogs in the pound were making an escape plan that could only be heard over a friend’s set of dental retainers.
Unfortunately, Marshall’s parents and sister either were too busy to notice or wouldn’t believe him when he pointed these things out. Luckily, he found an ally in Simon, another kid his age who also believed that strange things were afoot in the town of Eerie. Together, the duo would ride their bikes around town and keep tabs on all the unusual goings-on.
Although nominally aimed at children, Eerie Indiana was smart enough to be enjoyed by older viewers. The series’ eccentric sense of humor made frequent use of in-jokes related to television and film, touching on everything from Twin Peaks to Godzilla. Also, the show wasn’t afraid to play with the medium of TV itself, something it did memorably in an episode titled ‘Reality Takes A Holiday.’ In this episode, Marshall found a script for a television show in his mailbox and then realized his life was being turned into a show called ‘Eerie, Indiana.’
The show was canceled in April of 1992 after 20 episodes. However, it became popular again after the similar The X-Files became a hit, getting frequent reruns on various cable stations and building a cult of dedicated viewers. It remains popular with fans of the bizarre today for its mixture of eccentric humor and its sly knowledge of horror and science-fiction conventions.
Watch out too for some well known cult guest stars in the likes of Ray Walston (My Favorite Martian), Matt “Max Headroom” Frewer, Michael J Pollard, John Astin (from the Addams Family) and Rene Auberjonois.
USA / NBC – Unreality Inc – Cosgrove Meurer / 20×25 minute episodes / Broadcast 15 September 1991 – 12 April 1992
Creators: Karl Schaefer, Jose Rivera / Executive Producers: Karl Schaefer, John Cosgrove, Terry Dunn-Meurer
OMRI KATZ as Marshall Teller
JUSTIN SHENKAROW as Simon Holmes
JULIE CONDRA as Syndi teller
FRANCIS GUINAN as Edgar Teller
MARGARET HUMES as Marilyn Teller
JASON MARSDEN as Dash X (1992)