TV Series Review: Freddy’s Nightmares – Season 1

It really is amazing that the phenomenon that is Freddy Krueger reached such heights that we actually got a TV series. It didn’t last long, two seasons only but out of that we got 44 episodes, 22 in each.

You can read our definitive list of the movie series here where you can also find individual reviews too. We’ve also done a short video review of the movie series too which you can check out below.

Season 1 premiered on October 8th, 1988 a few months after the release of A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master.

Freddy’s Nightmares would tell a different story every time that took place in the town of Springwood and in particular, on Elm Street; the same setting as the most of the films. What made Freddy’s Nightmares a bit different was how most episodes would feature two different stories. With the second story usually surrounding a character that played a role in the first.

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Freddy would occasionally play a part in the stories but most of them did not involve him. Instead each episode opens with Freddy (played by Robert Englund) introducing it like The Crypt Keeper. We won’t be going through every episode as they are 45 minutes long & there are 22 of them. This review would be way to long, so instead we will talk about some of the highlights & lowlights of the season. At the end of the review we will list the episode titles & our overall scores.

If you’re watching Freddy’s Nightmares for Freddy himself, prepare to be disappointed as he really is a bit-part player. When he does show up its normally to spit out an awful pun or do something ‘comical’. Such as when he is the DJ during Episode 10, The Bride Wore Red.

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It’s a pity as the pilot gets things started so well. No More Mr. Nice Guy is directed by Tobe Hooper & is all about Freddy & how he escaped justice. In court it is revealed that the arresting officer did not read Freddy his Miranda rights meaning the child killer walks free.

Basically, a Freddy origin story, free he returns home & plans his next murders while donning his infamous glove. The parents of his victims decide to take matters into their own hands. Initially the arresting officer tries to stop them as he believes in the law but after one too many taunts by Krueger he joins them in burning him alive.

“Tonight, the law is on vacation.”

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Ohhh…that’s some bad dialogue. Sometime later, the police officer is racked with guilt & keeps dreaming about Freddy. Then some of the other parents involved start winding up dead with slash marks on their bodies. The lines between reality & dream begin to blur resulting in Freddy getting his revenge during a trip to the dentist.

As a setup, this episode is pretty good! It’s retelling the same story that any Freddy fan should know but adds some extra detail such as the courtroom scene. That’s a pretty cool idea & Robert Englund hams it up as you would expect.

Episode 2 – It’s a Miserable Life is the debut of opening titles, a hilariously bad intro that has to be seen by all.

Here is the start of Freddy taking a backseat to other stories even though it is often implied he is responsible. The story surrounds a bored fast food employee who dreams of excitement but gets way more than he bargained for when Freddy decides to entertain him.

It’s a highlight of the series along with Episode 4 – Freddy’s Trick and Treats where a girl doesn’t know how to have fun on Halloween choosing to study instead of partying. When she is told about Freddy Krueger she dismisses it as nothing more than an attempt to scare her. Her lack of belief annoys him so he decides to make her believe.

Or Episode 5 – Judy Miller, Come on Down where we meet Judy who wants a better life but for that she needs more money. She watches game shows desperately hoping that it might be her one day. One night she is woken by the TV to see that she has been chosen to be on the popular game show, Beat the House.

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On the show things aren’t quite right as the questions are incredibly personal. Questions about who makes her miserable at home. Resulting in her having to watch as her in-laws are eaten alive by South American red ants. She purposely gets a question wrong to save her husband but still ends up winning a million dollars.

All her dreams have come true but as Freddy says…be careful what you wish for, you might just get it.

Then there is Episode 7 – Sister’s Keeper that is a sequel to the very first episode. It sees the twin daughters of the cop who killed Freddy haunted by the dream menace. One of the sisters is trying to move on with her life & doesn’t believe in Krueger but the other is scared that he will come back for them because of what their father did.

Ever wanted to see Freddy play an electric guitar? Now’s your chance!

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After switching places for a day to see how the other lives the two sisters learn more about each other than they expected. Freddy’s aim is to turn the girls against each other. Eventually the girls realise they can use the combined power of their twin-dreams to take on Krueger & banish him once & for all.

This is the last episode that will see Freddy be the pivotal plot point of the story.

Not that he is necessary as many of the series best episodes comes in the latter half. Episode 14 – Black Tickets sees a young Brad Pitt star as one half of teenage lovers who leave Springwood. Their car stalls & while arguing he is hit by a van. Needing a hospital, they stop an elderly couple who end up robbing them & then end up checking into a motel run by a couple of sinister hicks.

Events begin to spiral out of control with the line between reality & dreams becoming fuzzy. The one constant though is that they need to stop running away from their problems.

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Pitt isn’t the only star to play a role in the series as Episode 17 – Love Stinks has the excellent Jeffery Combs in it.

There are many low points throughout too. Episode 3’s story about a runner who has lost her edge & feeling pressure from the memory of her dead mother uses a magical charm to beat her rivals is very poor.

Episode 12 – The End of the World is terrible as Amy discovers that she can change events of her childhood in her dreams. These changes begin to have devastating consequences for the people she cares about. Eventually she begins to realise that she might be able to stop the accident that cost her mother her life.

This decision ends up costing her more than she could ever have thought & afterwards her dreams change gaining the attention of the CIA. In an odd turn of events, Amy is now in the position where she may be able to stop nuclear annihilation.

Then there is Episode 18 – The Art of Death where an aspiring artist pines after one of the popular girls who is dating a jock. He is beaten up by said jock after he draws an unflattering picture of him. Angered & humiliated the artist then draws a superhero avenger type that comes to life.

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These are just a few of the episodes that are a real struggle to get through which brings me to the series’ biggest flaw throughout. It’s just too long, each episode is too long with often barely enough story to cover the runtime. It results in a lot of lulls, a lot of filler and repeating of dream sequences.

These happen so often that it can be a real struggle to work out just where the story has gone now. It makes many episodes feel very disjointed especially when Freddy randomly decides to pop up and make yet another non-funny quip.

As you would expect, the acting is all over the place. It ranges from excellent to absolutely awful and often the poorer episodes are the ones dogged by bad dialogue and poor characters.

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Still, for its age Freddy’s Nightmares – Series 1 holds up well. It’s got some great effects and really clever styles. The use of colour makes the dream sequences feel that more vivid and while it isn’t particularly frightening it is reminiscent of the middle portion of the movie series.

Episode List:

Episode 1: No More Mr. Nice Guy (8/10)
Episode 2: It’s a Miserable Life (7/10)
Episode 3: Killer Instinct (4/10)
Episode 4: Freddy’s Tricks and Treats (7/10)
Episode 5: Judy Miller, Come on Down (7.5/10)
Episode 6: Saturday Night Special (5/10)
Episode 7: Sister’s Keeper (8/10)
Episode 8: Mother’s Day (6/10)
Episode 9: Rebel Without a Car (6/10)
Episode 10: The Bride Wore Red (4/10)
Episode 11: Do Dreams Bleed (5/10)
Episode 12: The End of the World (2/10)
Episode 13: Deadline (5/10)
Episode 14: Black Tickets (7.5/10)
Episode 15: School Daze (6/10)
Episode 16: Cabin Fever (5.5/10)
Episode 17: Love Stinks (7/10)
Episode 18: The Art of Death (3/10)
Episode 19: Missing Persons (6/10)
Episode 20: The Light at the End of the Tunnel (6/10)
Episode 21: Identity Crisis (6/10)
Episode 22: Safe Sex (7/10)

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Freddy's Nightmares - Season 1
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