Amazing Stories (2020 TV series)
|Based on||Amazing Stories|
by Steven Spielberg
|Theme music composer||John Williams|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||5|
|Original network||Apple TV+|
|Original release||March 6, 2020 –|
Amazing Stories is an American streaming television anthology series based on the 1985 television series of the same name created by Steven Spielberg. The series is produced for Apple TV+ and its executive producers for the series include Spielberg, Edward Kitsis, Adam Horowitz, Darryl Frank, and Justin Falvey. It premiered on March 6, 2020.
The name Amazing Stories is taken from the first science fiction magazine, which was launched in 1926 and has continued in various formats for decades.
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date |
|1||"The Cellar"||Chris Long||Jessica Sharzer||March 6, 2020|
|In present day Iowa, Sam Taylor (Dylan O'Brien) and his brother Jake (Micah Stock) begin restoring an old farmhouse. Sam discovers a matchbook and photo in a hidden container. When a derecho strikes the area, Sam heads to the cellar to reset the electric, but is suddenly transported back to 1919. Evelyn (Victoria Pedretti), the woman from the photo, chases him from the house. Evelyn's domineering mother (Sasha Alexander) plans to wed Evelyn off to a wealthy widower to secure their financial future. Sam impresses Evelyn at her engagement party and uses the code word written in the old matchbook to get them inside a local speakeasy. The two fall in love and he resolves to bring her back to 2019, secretly seeing her as he waits for another derecho. When the storm finally strikes, Sam is beaten by Evelyn's fiance and he is transported back to 2019 by himself. Reviewing newspapers from 1919, he discovers Evelyn was later killed in the derecho and is consumed with returning to save her. However, he travels to the future when the storm again intensifies, discovering Evelyn is a successful singer and has a young son named Sam. Returning to 2019, he again travels to 1919, where the cellar has begun to flood. Trapped by a falling beam, Sam sends Evelyn to 2019 alone. In her old cellar hiding place, Evelyn and Jake discover letters from Sam addressed to them. Stuck in the past but content with his life, Sam urges Evelyn to live her life anew. He also sends Jake a highly valuable Honus Wagner T206 card (which Sam had obsessed over finding as a child) to provide him the capital to buy a home and grow his business. In the future, hearing Sam's brief visit, Evelyn becomes emotional.|
|2||"The Heat"||Sylvain White||Chinaka Hodge||March 13, 2020|
|Track athletes Tuka (Hailey Kilgore) and Sterling (E'myri Crutchfield) dream of earning college scholarships. Leaving a nighttime car meet, Tuka is struck by a car and killed, awaking as a spirit outside her memorial service unsure why she is still on Earth. Listening in on Sterling and Lee (Shane Paul McGhie), Tuka learns her death is an unsolved hit-and-run. Realizing she can eavesdrop on conversations for evidence, Tuka discovers where the car that hit her has been stashed. At track practice, Tuka is able to briefly connect with Sterling and tell her where the car is stored. Sterling finds the car and is confronted at gunpoint. While chasing Sterling, Tuka bumps into DJ (Ezana Alem), another spirit stuck on Earth. Tuka and Sterling are finally able to connect while running and she begins training Sterling for the track meet. Before the meet, Sterling is attacked by the car's driver and his crew, who severely injure her knee. Despite warnings that she could further damage her knee, Sterling decides to run in the meet. Leading most of the race, Sterling pulls up lame and finishes in last place. Her college dreams over, Sterling confides that she has always been in love with Tuka, causing Tuka to seemingly begin fading into the afterlife. Instead, Tuka awakes in the street after being hit by the car. Given a second chance at life, she tells Sterling to kiss her. Tuka cleans up DJ's memorial and recalls his help, causing him to finally ascend to the afterlife.|
|3||"Dynoman and the Volt!"||Susanna Fogel||Peter Ackerman||March 20, 2020|
|With Halloween approaching, superhero-obsessed Dylan (Tyler Crumley) is forced from his bedroom when grandpa Joe (Robert Forster) moves in following surgery. Joe, insistent his recovery will be short, is asked to retire from his longtime woodworking job. Joe and Dylan find a ring Joe had ordered from a Dynoman comic nearly 60 years ago has arrived in the mailbox. Though Joe derides the ring as a toy, he and Dylan quickly discover it has imbued him with super-strength. Joe triumphantly returns to work, but Dylan is discouraged when photos of his superhero costume are spread throughout his class. Joe cheers Dylan up by promising to accompany him trick-or-treating in lieu of attending a school dance. The ring also gives Joe super-speed, which he puts into use by claiming he can fulfill a customer's next-day demand, snubbing Dylan's Halloween plans. Joe is chastised for abandoning Dylan by his son Mike (Kyle Bornheimer), who admonishes him for years of putting himself above family. After Mike angrily leaves, Joe loses his powers. Back at home, Dylan makes a mask for Dynoman's archnemesis the Volt from the remnants of a workbench Joe had destroyed, giving him superpowers. At the school, Dylan attempts to put the principal's car on the roof, echoing a prank Joe had claimed to have pulled as a teen, but Dylan loses the mask and is trapped in the teetering car. A powerless Joe tries to save him, but the two fall off the roof in the car, only to be saved by Mike, now wearing the ring. Mike flies the three away; their bond now reaffirmed, the trio bury the ring, which sprouts a glowing sapling. Note: This episode was dedicated in memory of Robert Forster, who died in October 2019.|
|4||"Signs of Life"||Michael Dinner||Leah Fong||March 27, 2020|
|When Sara (Michelle Wilson) miraculously awakes from a six-year coma, her now adult daughter Alia (Sasha Lane) rushes to her bedside and is disappointed when Sara apparently does not recognize her. Alia begins to take note of her mother's unusual behavior: she barely recognizes Alia and their old routines, speaks fluent Spanish, and begins to recite complex equations in her sleep. At Alia's apartment, a box of old items trigger memory flashes in Sara, as does a ribbon in Alia's hair. Alia, who plans to move to California with her boyfriend Cody, finds him bloodied in her apartment after he was robbed while dealing weed to raise the cash to leave. Alia opens up to her mother, revealing that she dropped out of school and turned her back on a bright future. Suspicious of her mother and her friend Wayne (Josh Holloway), Alia tracks down Wayne's wife in Alabama, who tells Alia Wayne also awoke from a coma and acted unlike himself before he left town. Connecting her story with Sara's notes about an "A. Stone," Alia discovers that an Alexandra Stone also awoke from a coma. Sara and Wayne scout a secure facility, where Stone was taken after she was arrested for breaking into the CDC seeking undisclosed information. Angry at her mother's deception, Alia decides to go through with her move to California. Wayne and Sara break Stone out of the prison transport using otherworldly powers and bring her to a satellite array. There, the three are revealed to be ethereal alien lifeforms inhabiting the bodies of coma patients. Stone uses the array to travel back to their home planet, but Sara refuses, having connected with Alia. Sara catches up to Alia and Cody stealing the cash from the safe at the diner where Alia works. Sara is shot protecting Alia from Cody's weed supplier and dies, but is brought back to life by the alien lifeform at the cost of its own life. Weeks later, Sara and Alia to acclimate to life together again.|
|5||"The Rift"||Mark Mylod||Don Handfield and Richard Rayner||April 3, 2020|
|On a rural highway outside Dayton, Ohio, Mary Ann (Kerry Bishé) saves the pilot of a World War II-era fighter plane that mysteriously appears and crashes in a nearby creek. The pilot, Lt. Theodore Cole (Austin Stowell), tells Mary Ann that he was shot down over Burma and is shocked at the sight of a Dayton water tower. Mary Ann's stepson Elijah (Duncan Joiner) sneaks into Cole's room, who tells him he was flying on Christmas Eve 1941 when he was shot down. Cole gives Elijah a Whiz bar and asks him for his help; upon discovering the candy bar was last produced 30 years ago, Elijah asks Mary Ann to visit the local police station and finds a photo of Cole from 1938. Cole escapes the hospital and pursuit by Kaminski (Edward Burns) and Bowman (Juliana Canfield), who claim to be from the NTSB. Elijah successfully convinces Mary Ann to help Cole. Mary Ann brings Cole to his former home, where he learns his wife Pauline remarried and had children after his death. Mary Ann finds his obituary, which reveals Cole survived the Burma crash but was found and killed. Kaminski and Bowman surround the home, claiming Cole can return to his wife, but Elijah helps Cole escape again. Elijah reveals his personal interest in Cole's safety is due to his father, a soldier killed in Afghanistan. Kaminski and Bowman inform Mary Ann that the "rift" that brought Cole to the present is one of a series of events that has caused catastrophic earthquakes and disasters. Mary Ann helps find Cole, who agrees to return to his own time. The two tell Cole that he traveled to his hometown for a reason, which spurs him to visit Pauline again. The two share a tearful reunion and a final dance. Cole urges Mary Ann to stick with Elijah, rather than leave him with his aunt. He flies back through the rift, averting disaster. Inspired by Cole, Mary Ann and Elijah continue on to California together. Note: This episode is adapted from a 2017 graphic novel of the same title by Don Handfield, Richard Rayner, and Leno Carvalho.|
On October 23, 2015, it was announced that NBC was developing a reboot of the 1985 anthology television series Amazing Stories created by Steven Spielberg. Bryan Fuller was expected to write the pilot episode and executive produce alongside Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank. Production companies involved with the series were slated to consist of Universal Television. At that time, Spielberg was not expected to be involved with the series.
On October 10, 2017, it was announced that Apple Inc. had given the production a series order for a first season consisting of ten episodes. It was further announced that Amblin Television would serve as an additional production company for the series.
On February 7, 2018, it was reported that Fuller had stepped down as showrunner of the series over creative differences. It was unclear as to whether Fuller would have a different role in the production going forward but it was clarified that he had not delivered a script to Apple before his departure. Later that day, it was also reported that executive producer Hart Hanson was exiting the series as well. On May 22, 2018, it was announced that Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz had joined the production as executive producers and showrunners. On December 4, 2018, it was reported that Mark Mylod would direct an episode of the series executive produced by Edward Burns.
On December 4, 2018, it was announced that Edward Burns, Austin Stowell, and Kerry Bishé would guest star together in an episode. On October 11, 2019, it was announced that Robert Forster would appear on the show and would be his final role after his death in the episode "Dynaman and the Volt." On January 19, 2020, it was announced that Dylan O'Brien, Victoria Pedretti, Josh Holloway, and Sasha Alexander would also appear on the show.
Principal photography for the series began in November 2018 in Georgia, US. Filming took place in various locations around the state that month including Alto, Forsyth, Griffin, Dobbins Air Reserve Base, and Downtown Atlanta. In December 2018, the production was shooting in areas such as Sandy Springs, Smyrna, Kirkwood, and Flowery Branch. In January 2019, the series was working out of locations in Atlanta including the Starlight Drive-In Theatre, Emory University's Briarcliff campus and the Centennial Olympic Park.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the series has an approval rating of 40% based on 35 reviews, with an average rating of 5.07/10. The website's critical consensus states, "While Amazing Stories' aspirations are admirable, it feels more like a dated retread than a heartfelt reboot." On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 51 out of 100, based on 14 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
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