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Maniac Mansion [tv]

Entry updated 4 April 2017. Tagged: TV.

Canadian/US tv series (1990-1993). Atlantis Films for YTV (Canada), The Family Channel (US). Created by Paul Flaherty, John Hemphill, Eugene Levy and Martin Short. Based on the Videogame Maniac Mansion (1987). Produced by David Flaherty and Jamie Paul Rock. Directors included Paul Flaherty, Hemphill and Perry Rosemond. Writers included Bob Carrau, Paul Flaherty, Elena Lesser, Cliff Ruby and Alan Templeton. Cast includes George Buza, Joe Flaherty, John Hemphill, Avi Phillips, Kathleen Robertson, Deborah Theaker and Mary Charlotte Wilcox. 66 30-minute episodes. Colour.

Eccentric Scientist Fred Edison (Flaherty), his wife Casey (Theaker), teenage genius daughter Tina (Robertson), son Ike (Phillips) and toddler Turner (Buza) live in the titular mansion in an upscale neighborhood of Cedar Springs. Also living with them are Casey's brother Harry Orca (Hemphill) and his wife Idella (Wilcox). While many episodes centre on traditional situation comedy storylines, the series features some strong, continuing sf elements. Fred's basement laboratory is powered in part by a mysterious meteorite his grandfather Louis had discovered; this sometimes provides Fred with temporary Superpowers of various kinds. He regularly performs unusual experiments which sometimes go badly awry. In an ongoing subplot beginning with the debut episode, an experiment involving Matter Transmission results in Harry and Turner undergoing Identity Exchange and leaves Harry as a normal-sized housefly with a human head. The latter was an obvious Satire on The Fly (1958), and indeed Harry almost falls prey to a spider on at least one occasion. The pair's respective conditions were left unresolved when the series concluded.

The gaming community was generally not pleased with the considerable liberties taken with the source videogame on which this Television programme was very loosely based. [GSt]


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