The Secret World of Alex Mack

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The Secret World of Alex Mack
AlexMackTitle.jpg
Genre
Created byThomas W. Lynch
Ken Lipman
StarringLarisa Oleynik
Darris Love
Meredith Bishop
Michael Blakley
Dorian Lopinto
Theme music composerJohn Coda
ComposerJerry J. Grant
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes78 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producers
  • Thomas W. Lynch
  • John D. Lynch
  • Robert Halmi Jr.
ProducersDavid Brookwell
Sean McNamara
Matt Dearborn
Gary L. Stephenson
Greg A. Hampson
Production locationsSanta Clarita, California
EditorCindy Parisotto
Running time24 minutes
Production companiesLynch Entertainment
RHI Entertainment
Hallmark Entertainment
Nickelodeon Productions
DistributorViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks
Sonar Entertainment
Release
Original networkNickelodeon
Original releaseOctober 8, 1994 (1994-10-08) –
January 15, 1998 (1998-01-15)

The Secret World of Alex Mack is an American television series that ran from October 8, 1994 to January 15, 1998 on Nickelodeon (part of the SNICK line-up).[1][2] The series was produced by John and Thomas W. Lynch of Lynch Entertainment, produced by RHI Entertainment, Hallmark Entertainment and Nickelodeon Productions, and was co-created by Thomas W. Lynch and Ken Lipman.

Plot[edit]

Alex Mack is an ordinary teenage girl, living with her parents, George and Barbara, and older sister, Annie, in the industrial town of Paradise Valley, California. While walking home after her first day of junior high school, she is nearly hit by a truck from the town's chemical plant, and during the incident, she is accidentally drenched with a top secret chemical called GC-161. She soon discovers that it has given her strange powers, including telekinesis, shooting electricity from her fingers, and the ability to dissolve into a mobile puddle of water. However, her powers prove to be unpredictable (occasionally, her skin glows a bright yellow when she is nervous). She confides only in Annie and her best friend Ray, choosing to keep her powers a secret from everyone else, including her parents, for fear of what the chemical plant's CEO, Danielle Atron, will do to her if she finds out.

Characters[edit]

Main[edit]

  • Alexandra "Alex" Mack (played by Larisa Oleynik) – Alex is an average teenage girl in Paradise Valley. While walking home from school, she is nearly hit by a truck carrying GC-161 and is doused with it, thus giving her extraordinary powers.[3][4][5][6] Among them are telekinesis, the ability to generate electricity from her hands and the ability to liquefy/travel from place to place in the form of a puddle of water.
  • Raymond "Ray" Alvarado (played by Darris Love) – Alex's best friend and next door neighbor, and the only one besides Annie to know about Alex's powers.
  • Annie Mack (played by Meredith Bishop) – Alex's older sister, and a scientific genius in her own right. Next to Ray, she is the only one who originally knows about Alex's powers.[7] She administers various scientific tests to ensure Alex's safety. She also hopes to one day present her research, in an effort to stop Danielle Atron.
  • George Mack (played by Michael Blakley) – Annie and Alex's father. He is a brilliant chemist who works for Danielle Atron at the Paradise Valley Chemical Plant.
  • Barbara Mack (played by Dorian Lopinto) – Annie and Alex's mother. She is a more down-to-earth woman who works in a public relations firm.

Recurring[edit]

  • Louis Driscoll (played by Benjamin Kimball Smith) – Alex and Ray's abrasive friend. At first Alex is jealous of Louis, but they finally become friends.
  • David "Dave" Watt (played by John Nielsen) – The dim-witted truck driver who was driving the truck that accidentally dumped the GC-161 chemical on Alex. As the only witness to the accident, Dave is often forced to serve as a partner to Vince Carter (see below) in trying to capture Alex. After seeing Alex using her powers while she was in high school, Dave keeps it a secret from Danielle to protect her as he knew what kind of horrible experiments Danielle had planned for her.
  • Scott Greene (played by Jason Strickland) – Alex's junior high school crush.
  • Jessica (played by Jessica Alba) – Scott's first girlfriend and Alex's first school rival.
  • Kelly Phillips (played by Hilary Salvatore) – Scott's second girlfriend and Alex's second school rival. Kelly deviously discredits Alex at every given turn, much to Alex's dismay.
  • Robyn Russo (played by Natanya Ross) – One of Alex and Ray's neighborhood friends. Though she possesses a sardonic sense of humor and is fun to be around, she suffers from low self-esteem.
  • Nicole Wilson (played by Alexis Fields) – Another of Alex and Ray's friends. An opposite personality to Robyn, has a take-charge attitude and rebellious demeanor.
  • Danielle Atron (played by Louan Gideon) – The owner/CEO of the Paradise Valley Chemical Plant who is the main antagonist of the series. She wants to market GC-161 as a radical new weight-loss drug, and has made it her mission to find the GC-161 child (who she does never know is Alex) and capture her, as both a test subject and a threat to the secrecy of her plans.
  • Vincent "Vince" Carter (played by John Marzilli) – The maniacal head of security at the Paradise Valley Chemical Plant, he makes it his obsession to find the GC-161 child (even after he gets fired from the Plant).
  • Lars Frederickson (played by Kevin Quigley) – A skilled chemist hailing from the Paradise Valley Chemical Plant's foreign branch in Vienna. He becomes Danielle Atron's chief subordinate after Vince gets fired. He is named after one of the members of punk rock group Rancid.
  • Hunter Reeves (played by Will Estes) – Hunter comes to Paradise Valley with an agenda concerning the disappearance of his father in relation to GC-161.
  • Jo (played by Jennifer Manley) - Jo is an overweight school bully who torments Alex, Ray and Robyn in several episodes throughout seasons 3-4.
  • Nathan "Creeper" Dean (played by Hank Harris) - Nathan is a shy, mentally disabled boy in Alex's film class who embarrasses Alex with a bizarre video project shown to the other students and teacher.

Episodes[edit]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
113October 8, 1994 (1994-10-08)February 4, 1995 (1995-02-04)
220October 14, 1995 (1995-10-14)September 28, 1996 (1996-09-28)
325October 5, 1996 (1996-10-05)March 4, 1997 (1997-03-04)
420September 23, 1997 (1997-09-23)January 15, 1998 (1998-01-15)

Filming locations[edit]

The series was filmed in Valencia, Santa Clarita and the Santa Clarita Valley. The Mack home and Paradise Valley Chemical Plant interiors were filmed in a converted warehouse used as a soundstage. The junior high scenes were filmed at Charles Helmers and James Foster Elementary Schools. Castaic Middle School was used for senior high scenes.[8] The house, used for exterior shots, is located in the Westford Place neighborhood of Valencia.

Television airing[edit]

The show premiered on Nickelodeon (part of SNICK line-up) in 1994 and ended in 1998. Internationally, it also aired on YTV in Canada, Kabel 1 in Germany, SVT in Sweden, France 2 in France, Viasat 3 in Hungary, Rai 1 in Italy, Fox Kids in Latin America, Channel 4 in the UK, NHK in Japan and was in the children's weekday lineup for much of the mid-to-late 1990s on the ABC in Australia. Repeats of the show aired in 2003 on The N, but it was soon replaced there. The show aired occasionally on TeenNick's 1990s-oriented block, The '90s Are All That.

Availability[edit]

The show's first season (consisting of 13 episodes on two discs) was released by Genius Entertainment on DVD format on October 2, 2007.[9] The set is noteworthy for giving Jessica Alba top billing on the package, most likely in an effort to sell more copies, even though she actually only appears in a supporting role, and only in a few episodes. This was then released in Region 2 on April 2, 2012 and in Region 4 on June 6, 2012.

The first and second seasons are available through Amazon.com's Instant Video section and through iTunes.

Mill Creek Entertainment released the complete series on DVD for the very first time on August 1, 2017.[10]

DVD Boxed Set Controversy[edit]

The Secret World of Alex Mack, during a British release of the series on a DVD boxed set, received a rating of '15' from the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), a rating considered restrictive, particularly since the series was initially aimed at preteens.[11] It had been speculated by some in the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) Trivia section for the series that this rating was applied due to a scene where Alex "morphs" back into her human form without clothes behind a clothesdryer in the pilot episode, or a season 3 episode titled "The Doctor", in which a doctor jokingly threatens to give comic relief character Louis Driscoll a "testicular spike".[12] It was eventually revealed by the BBFC that the '15' rating was actually applied to the boxed set because of a season 1 episode called "Shock Value" where Alex is seen climbing into the same clothesdryer from the pilot. According to the BBFC, "The presentation of this behaviour is comic and no negative consequences are shown which would warn young viewers of the potential dangers of hiding in such appliances. While fatal incidents of children trapped in washing machines or fridges are rare, there remains sufficient cause for serious concern. The distributor indicated that they would be happy to accept a higher certificate rather than cutting the episode. The TV series is rather dated and would not have much appeal to a young audience when compared to current children's TV programmes. In addition, as the work was being targeted at an adult 'nostalgia' market, children would not be the natural audience."[13]

Book series[edit]

A book series aimed at young readers was released along with the series. The first and last books of the series are novelizations of the first and last episodes, respectively. The rest of the series consists of completely original stories, tied into the main series through the mentioning of various plot points from the TV episodes. There were 34 books in total, all released predominantly as mass-market paperbacks from Simon & Schuster. Authors Diana G. Gallagher and Cathy East Dubowski were the predominant authors of the series, although other authors were recruited in between to write certain titles.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "SHOWS FOR YOUNGSTERS AND THEIR PARENTS TOO : Larisa Oleynik finds the secret is to have fun as 'Alex Mack'". The Los Angeles Times. 1994-10-02. Retrieved 2010-08-24.
  2. ^ Mangan, Jennifer (1994-10-05). "Magic 'Mack'". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2010-08-30.
  3. ^ "Morphing Magic". Sun Sentinel. 1996-08-03. Retrieved 2010-08-30.
  4. ^ "'Alex Mack' Star Just An Ordinary Teen". Chicago Tribune. 1995-10-19. Retrieved 2010-11-09.
  5. ^ "Zap! You're Famous; Tv Show Turns Actress Into A Star". Chicago Tribune. 1995-08-01. Retrieved 2010-11-09.
  6. ^ "Mack Attack For The Star Of The Secret World Of Alex Mack, Life Is More Than Being A Puddle Of Goo". Sun Sentinel. 1995-08-22. Retrieved 2010-11-09.
  7. ^ "Morphing Teen Plays To Kids' Fantasies In 'Alex Mack'". Chicago Tribune. 1996-06-10. Retrieved 2010-08-30.
  8. ^ Schubert, Mary. "NICKELODEON SHOW 'ALEX MACK' FEELS RIGHT AT HOME". The Los Angeles Daily News. March 23, 1997, accessed March 15, 2011.
  9. ^ "Secret World of Alex Mack - Season 1". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2011-01-30.
  10. ^ "The Secret World of Alex Mack - SCOOP: Press Release Announces 'The Complete Series' on DVD!". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Archived from the original on June 8, 2017. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
  11. ^ "The Secret World Of Alex Mack - Shock Value". www.bbfc.co.uk. The British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved 1 September 2021.
  12. ^ "The Secret World of Alex Mack (1994–1998) Trivia". www.imdb.com. The Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 1 September 2021.
  13. ^ Nissim, Mayer. "Alex Mack' DVD rated 15 for tumble drier scene, BBFC explains". www.digitalspy.com. DigitalSpy. Retrieved 1 September 2021.

External links[edit]