TV Series Review: Channel Zero – The Dream Door (2018)

A horror anthology series created by Nick Antosca, Channel Zero first aired in 2016 on SyFy and has since had four seasons in total. As of January 2019, that is all we will get as the series has now been cancelled.

Each season of Channel Zero focuses on one particular story, each one based on Creepypastas. The first season was based on one of the most famous ones of all, Kris Straub’s Candle Cove. A good start, the unusual storytelling and horror visuals were what really stood out. However, it was a bit boring in places and lacked the emotional weight it wanted to clearly have. You can read our full review of Candle Cove here.

Candle Cove 1

The following year the next season aired (2017) and was based on Brian Russell’s The No-End House and was such a marked improvement over the first season. The story was insane, the visuals utterly transcendent but the characters and emotional weight of their plight was incredible. We loved it and you can read our full review of No-End House here.

House 1

Season 3 (2018) was called Butcher’s Block and based on Kerry Hammond’s Search and Rescue Woods. Butcher’s Block is the goriest and most violent of the bunch so far. That will be the over-riding memory most will have of it. Is it best one yet? No way. It’s going to take something unbelievable to top No-End House but this is way better then Candle Cove. You can read our full review of Butcher’s Block here.

The 4th and currently final season was released at the end of 2018 and is called, The Dream Door. Based on Charlotte Bywater’s ‘Hidden Door’ and directed by E. L. Katz, it stars Brandon Scott, Maria Sten and Steven Robertson.

The Dream Door is a very flawed series, arguably the most flawed of the four. The formula, while different, comes across a bit tired and the story is disappointingly bland.

It sees newlyweds Jillian (Maria Sten) and Tom (Brandon Scott) move into her childhood home. While tidying up they discover a strange door in the basement, something that harks back to Jillian’s childhood. She has a hidden power that can create doors, on the other side? Something that loves her completely and will do anything to protect her.

That wouldn’t be such a problem if she could control it but she can’t and as cracks begin to appear in the couple’s marriage, the threat becomes deadly.

The star of the show is a character/creature called Pretzel Jack (Troy James), cute but terrifying. A contortionist, its attempts to entertain Jillian are endearing but its singular goal of protection is what makes this a horror series. Violent moments are few and far between but when they come, they are brutalising. These are the highlights of the show, moments that you might find yourself desperately waiting for as the story drags its heels.

The problem is simply that there just isn’t enough depth to the plot to last the 6 episodes. Instead it seems like this would have been better as 2/3 part story. By time the penultimate episode arrives, it begins to feel like a chore and the final episode is painfully slow.

It’s not the fault of the cast but the characters they portray are not interesting. Maria Sten’s Jillian spends far too much time with her mouth open unaware of what is going on around her. Brandon Scott’s Tom is frustratingly secretive (yes, that is kind of the point but it doesn’t make it any easier to watch) and Steven Robertson’s Ian is far too predictable. The trio take up most of the screen time and the chemistry between them is just off.

It really is unfortunate to have to be this critical of the series but it just lacks in so many of the important departments. Even visually it doesn’t capture the imagination in the same way as previous series’ have. Does it look good? Yes, but it just doesn’t wow which is a real problem when the Channel Zero series as a whole has always managed to do that.

Simply put The Dream Door is probably the worst of the four seasons. Whereas Candle Cove was heavily flawed it was at least original feeling. Four seasons in and that wow factor just isn’t there now. So The Dream Door had to work harder but it doesn’t.




Channel Zero - The Dream Door (2018)
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    The Final Score - 4/10
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