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|Created by||Tom J. Astle|
|Theme music composer||Jon Cooksey|
|Opening theme||"In the Darkness" (performed by Mackenzie Phillips)|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||65 (list of episodes)|
|Camera setup||Film; Single-camera|
|Distributor||Buena Vista Television|
|Original network||Disney Channel|
|Picture format||480p (SDTV)|
|Original release||January 18, 1999– September 28, 2001|
So Weird is an American-Canadian television series that aired on the Disney Channel as a mid-season replacement from January 18, 1999, to September 28, 2001. The series was shot in Vancouver, British Columbia. One of the first Disney Channel Original Series to be shot in 16:9. In the first two seasons, the series centered on teenage girl Fiona Phillips (Cara DeLizia) who toured with her rock-star mom (Mackenzie Phillips), while encountering paranormal activity along the way. The series was compared to the Fox TV series The X-Files since it took a darker tone than any other Disney Channel show at the time. For the third and final season, Disney replaced DeLizia (due to her wanting to pursue future projects outside of Disney) with actress Alexz Johnson playing Annie Thelen. Production ceased after 65 episodes.
The season began with Fiona Phillips on tour with her famous rocker mother Molly, brother Jack, a skeptic, bus driver Ned, his wife Irene, and their son Clu. Stringing together all of Fi's paranormal encounters was her search to communicate with her father, who died when she was three years old. Fi first "encountered" her father in the second episode titled "Web Sight" where an unknown force sent her internet articles warning her of the future. From alien invasions, time warps, and ghosts, Fi faced 13 episodes worth of paranormal activity. Also encountered: one powerful tulpa, a Bigfoot, angels, and more significantly, the Will o' the Wisp. The season finale featured Jack becoming possessed by a hyperactive Scottish will o' the wisp, also known as a Spunkie. The Spunkie told Fi she could save her brother from his control by speaking his one true name, which was only seven letters. Fi found the spirit's one true name, Bricriu, therefore saving her brother. Bricriu had offered to protect Fi from evil spirits who had battled her father and had also offered to give her contact with her late father in return for being allowed to possess her brother. She thought he was lying therefore rejected his offer. He reappears in later episodes to keep her away from other spirits and people who claims are a threat to her, depending on how one reads it, this may be seen as evidence he was telling the truth, but this is questionable at best, especially since in one episode he tried to prevent her from talking to a person who knew her father and wanted to give her information.
The second season was even darker than the first, playing out over twenty-six episodes. The premiere picked up with Molly taking time off the tour to record an album. Fi and friend Candy meet a medium who is proven to be a fraud. However, the one who uncovers the fake is actually a medium himself who aids Fi in contacting her father through music on his old guitar.
The character of Clu was reduced during the season, as he went off to college, and his brother Carey was introduced to fill in the gap. Many legendary creatures surfaced within the season, including vampires, werewolves, banshees, trolls, sirens, and merfolk. In a pivotal episode, Fi learned that her father investigated the same kinds of supernatural events that Fi did. In fact, this was exactly what led to his death. Upon learning this, Fi is angered by her mother's deceit in covering up the truth about her father. Molly was eventually possessed by Bricriu, the same Will o' the Wisp as Jack was in season one. Fi discovered that Will o' the Wisps or other dark powers, though not necessarily Bricriu himself, may have killed her father, resulting in the accident that police had assumed took his life. In this episode Bricriu tried to kill a former firefighter who had been present at Rick's car crash and was aware that Fi's dad had been dead, with no apparent cause, before the car crashed. Following this episode, Fi had further contact with her father, as the answer to a troll's question – Faith – was revealed on her computer and a plethora of cell phones. Fi briefly time traveled to her third year, when her father was still alive, in episode 13, Fountain.
The season ended with Fi discovering her father's twin sister received encoded messages from him in her sleep. The messages led Fi to a rooftop where she was attacked by a three-headed demon and saved by the ghost of her father. He left her with a message that the spirit world was angry with her and would try to stop her investigation about the paranormal. At last, Fi got the proper farewell to her father that she had been searching for. Many DeLizia fans consider this a proper, if not entirely fulfilling, finale.
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After skewing somewhat dark and intricate in its second season, the show was forced into a lighter tone for its final batch of episodes. Cara DeLizia left after the first episode, which introduced family friend Annie Thelen. Fi had yet another encounter with Bricriu. In this episode her family turn into plants and animals and Fi has to go to Bricriu for help in saving them. He does and then he convinces her to give up investigating the occult to save her family, whom the spirit world threatened because of its anger at Fi's intrusions. Fi, who still didn't trust Bricriu even though he claimed he was trying to help, trapped him in a floppy disk. The attraction to the occult, manifested in the ring her father gave her, was passed on to Annie as Fi went to live with her aunt. Molly moved the family to a new, brightly colored house.
Annie's story arc was the mystery behind a spirit guide that followed her in the form of a panther. Her character was also musically talented, and episodes featured more of her singing than that of the older Mackenzie Phillips. The season's stories were a far cry from previous episodes, playing such plots as being sucked into a painting (which directly followed an episode of people being sucked into photographs), a stone from the Tower of Babel that causes xenoglossy, a recording studio owner who saps musical talent from the musicians who rent out her studio and gives the talent to her daughter (who doesn't want to steal others' talents to be famous), a loner boy who uses the power of magnetism to be popular, and a detention class that traps people in time. Cara DeLizia never reappeared in the season, however Fi was still prevalent in many episodes via e-mail. She made a brief appearance in the episode "Earth 101" by a lookalike, and in the final episode, although in the final it was only a rerun clip from the first episode of the season. The mystery of the panther was solved: when Annie was three and living in the Amazon she saved a young tribesman at risk to her own life. His tribe, in turn, saved her and his father took on the form of the panther to always protect her as thanks for her selfless act.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||13||January 18, 1999||April 26, 1999|
|2||26||August 27, 1999||August 19, 2000|
|3||26||August 28, 2000||September 28, 2001|
|Cara DeLizia||Fiona 'Fi' Phillips||Main||Guest|
|Mackenzie Phillips||Molly Phillips||Main|
|Patrick Levis||Jack Phillips||Main|
|Erik von Detten||Clu Bell||Main||Guest|
|Belinda Metz||Irene Bell||Main|
|Dave Ward||Ned Bell||Main|
|Eric Lively||Carey Bell||Main|
|Alexz Johnson||Annie Thelen||Main|
- Cara DeLizia as Fiona 'Fi' Phillips (seasons 1–2; guest star, season 3) – In nearly every episode, Fi sets up a website called So Weird. On this website, she posts her strange experiences and finds a community that shares her belief in the paranormal. Fi has a vast knowledge of all things paranormal and an eye for detail. In "Strangeling" and "Banshee," it is hinted that she is part witch on her grandmother's side. In "OOPA", it is shown that she has a psychic connection to an ancient computing device from Atlantis. Fi lost her father in a car accident when she was three years old. In "Strange Geometry", Fi learns that her father was obsessed with the same weird things that she investigates. The will-o'-the-wisp known as Bricriu says that this may have led to his death in "Destiny". Fi's father's death and its increasingly mysterious circumstances act as a double season-long story arc over seasons 1 and 2. She left at the beginning of season 3 to live with her aunt and try to have a "normal life".
- Mackenzie Phillips as Molly Phillips – Fi and Jack's mother, widow of Rick Phillips, and a singer-songwriter. She opened once in "Encore" instead of Fi. Molly had a bit of a rocky relationship with her father, apparently starting when she was a rebellious teenager. She wrote a song about him called "The Rock" in "Banshee" to make peace with him. She kept the knowledge that Rick also investigated paranormal activity secret from Fi, saying "he became obsessed with it". She doesn't share Fi's strong belief in the paranormal, but she does support her daughter. Bricriu possessed her in "Destiny" to stop Fi from learning the truth about her father's accident and supposedly to also protect her mother from the spirit world. But the part about protecting Fi is questionable since he goes so far as trapping a pyrophobiac mechanic (who pulled Rick from the car the day of his death) and Fi in a burning building.
- Patrick Levis as Jack Phillips – Although he is Fi's older brother, Jack doesn't believe in paranormal activity and is the series' most staunch skeptic. Jack is very protective of Fi, as well as Molly as seen in "Fathom." He once opened the show in the episode "Avatar" instead of Fi, and opened the episode "Dead Ringer" instead of Annie. Bricriu possessed him in "Will o' the Wisp" to supposedly "protect" Fi from others in the spirit world, others who didn't like her investigations of the paranormal. He meets his girlfriend Gabe in "Angels", whom he keeps in touch with long-distance and went to visit in "Fall".
- Erik von Detten as Clu Bell (season 1; guest star, season 3) – Carey's younger brother, Ned and Irene's son, Clu is more accepting of Fi's paranormal theories. She often takes him along when investigating. He got into college in "Mutiny". He tends to have a rather goofy laid-back attitude, much like his brother Carey but more so. Still, he can be rather responsible such as when he helped Jack study for his driver's license in "Rebecca".
- Belinda Metz as Irene Bell – Molly's band manager. She has a younger sister with whom she never got along after she washed her "ratty stuffed bunny" and made it into a "clean soft bunny", a brother-in-law named Kevin, and a young nephew named Danny, who pulled Clu, Fi, and Jack into his dreams because he wanted help to deal with "the monster" (it turned out he was having nightmares because of his parents constant fighting, something they resolved to try to fix for Danny's sake) in "Nightmare".
- Dave Ward as Ned Bell – Drives Molly's tour bus; he was possessed by a claustrophobic sea captain in "Mutiny". He went home to visit his childhood friend Sam, who was being haunted by a vision of their friend Pete, who had died in a bad fall over river rocks. He was Fi's, Clu's, and Jack's home school teacher while on the road. In "Troll", he mentions he has Viking ancestors.
- Eric Lively as Carey Bell (seasons 2–3) – Clu's older brother, he was introduced in "Siren". He goes along more with Fi's paranormal ideas, and sometimes comes up with his own, as shown in "Avatar". He dropped out of college and joined Molly's band against Irene's wishes in "Listen". When he was in the hospital for tonsillitis in the episode "James Garr", Fi discovers that his roommate had been cryogenically frozen.
- Alexz Johnson as Annie Thelen (season 3) – Family friend of the Phillips'. She moves in with the Phillips' after Fi leaves for her aunt's to try to have a "normal life". Fi gives Annie a ring that previously belonged to her father that serves as a gateway for Annie's adventure into the paranormal world. There is always a mysterious black panther around just as something 'weird' is happening, which she later finds out is her spirit guide.
Cast changes and guest appearances
- Erik von Detten was unavailable during the show's second season. While he was used in two network projects, the sitcom Odd Man Out and the fantasy series Dinotopia (both aired on ABC), von Detten returned in the third season in several guest spots. Eric Lively meanwhile replaced him.
- Despite many rumors, producers confirm that Cara DeLizia left after season two to pursue other projects before Disney had decided to revamp the show. DeLizia's departure was the first time that a Disney Channel original series' lead actor departed during its run (the only other series where this has occurred is Sonny with a Chance, whose lead actress Demi Lovato left due to health issues). In the season three episode "Earth 101," Fi's cameo appearance was done through past vocal footage and a look-alike stand-in. DeLizia had no part in the episode.
- In the first episode Irene Bell was played by Teryl Rothery.
- The Moffatts made a guest appearance in the episode "Destiny". SHeDAISY made a guest appearance in the episode "Listen".
- Mackenzie Phillips does not appear in two episodes of the series.
- Bo Diddley appeared in the episode "Blues" as Frank.
Music of So Weird
The series featured original songs sung by both Mackenzie Phillips and Alexz Johnson. Songs sung by Mackenzie Phillips included the theme "In the Darkness", "Another World", "Rebecca", "The Rock" and "Love is Broken". Each of the songs usually tied into the theme of the episode they were featured in. For example, "Rebecca" was featured in the episode "Rebecca" which dealt with Molly's former best friend of the same name who vanished when she was 13 years old. A compilation of Molly's songs was featured in the episode "Encore."
During seasons one and two, a music video that starts out with a talking scene between Jack and Clu and then Molly asks them and Fi to go to bed while they act jovial and happy, was aired. It featured over 62 clips from seasons one and two. It was the song "In the Darkness". It starts out with Jack and Clu fooling around, Clu howling and someone strumming a guitar. Molly comes to them in the RV and tells them it is time for her second show and that means bed. Fi closes her computer and says goodnight. She looks sad. Jack hugs Molly goodnight. Clu tells Molly to "knock em dead' or something or Break A Leg, Molly mocks his voice and says, "Thank you Clu" and shakes his hand. They leave. She goes out of the RV and starts to sing in a strange set.
"Last Night Blues," was the only occasion Cara DeLizia had to sing during her stint on the show. The song was supernaturally transferred to the characters from a murdered blues musician.
Season 3 mainly used the music of Alexz Johnson. One of Johnson's original songs, "Dream About You", was featured in the episode "Carnival." A music video by Alexz Johnson, "Shadows", was also featured near the end of the show's run on the Disney Channel.
The following is an incomplete listing of music from So Weird. With the exception of "Lorena" and occasional musical guest appearances, all music was original, created especially for the series.
Introduced in Season 1
Introduced in Season 2
Introduced in Season 3
A So Weird soundtrack was never released, but the executive producers of the series recorded studio versions of the songs. Some parts of the studio songs can be found in the end credits, like She Sells, Another World, One in a Million, Different Story, Dream with Me, New Math. Fans have made cover CDs of the songs, as have executive producers Jon Cooksey and Larry Sugar.
- She Sells (Extended Version)
- Rebecca (Piano Version)
- Questions (Extended Version)
- The Rock (Extended Version)
- In The Darkness (Extended Version)
- Another World (PKB Version)
- New Math (Extended Version)
- More Like a River (Jon Cooksey's Key Version)
- Last Night Blues (Mackenzie Phillips Version)
- Love is Broken (Revised Version)
After 65 episodes, Disney ceased production. After the show ended, reruns of the series were pushed further and further back in the schedule. In 2003, So Weird was removed from the Disney Channel schedule altogether, and has not aired since.