The New ‘Are You Afraid of the Dark?’: Family-Friendly Scares for You and Your (Possibly Imaginary) Kids

In 1991, Are you Afraid of the Dark? was one of many cool, extremely Canadian series on Nickelodeon (yes, Ryan Gosling made an appearance) I was extremely there for it at age 10, and even the thought of the memorable title sequence fills me with joy. That’s why I immediately glommed onto the reboot, which is running for three Fridays on Nickelodeon throughout October.

Fellow light-horror dweebs, it did not disappoint! The show was mildly spooky, had great twists, and revealed more about the actual members of the rebooted Midnight Society. This is the gossip I need. They used to show us little glimpses of their lives on the original, and I envied this group of impossibly savvy, cool teens who snuck out of their house to tell ghost stories in the woods at midnight. Perhaps most importantly, they definitely still do the thing where they throw some stuff into the fire and it sparks up real high before beginning their tale. So atmospheric!

I’ve never regretted not having children until I saw this show, because if I did it would be a really fun show to watch with my alleged family. My imaginary children love to spend time with me; they turn down social activities to do so. Parents will feel nostalgic delight, and kids will like it because it shows other kids doing amazing things. There’s enough plot to keep everyone entertained as we follow new girl Rachel around and to her very first meeting of The Midnight Society.

It was a great setup for the rest of the series. The Midnight Society is a group of wordly teens who love to scare the daylights out of each other– but it seems Rachel may be able to do more than just write stories. Her stories…become real! Her scary story about a Carnival of Doom run by a scorpion-eating, kidnapping madman called Mr. Tophat may have just actually landed in their new town! Eek!

The one of the show reminded me of similar moderately scary tween fare like Goosebumps, Goosebumps 2, Light as a Feather, Hocus Pocus and Disney made for TV movies like The Phantom of the Megaplex. I’m an adult who has, as mentioned, imaginary children. But I’ll still tune into the rest of the Are You Afraid Of The Dark?  limited series for some lightly scary fun.

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Kristin Clifford

Kristin Clifford is a comedy writer in Los Angeles. She started in Chicago, studying improv and performing stand-up, but has traded the stage for the page. Recent projects include writing for season 2 of Cathy in Real Life.

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