A young boy is trapped between good and evil as the forces around him try to sway who he will become.
Sheriff Lucas Buck:
“Only two roads in this world. And if you’re listening to anyone but me, you’re on the wrong one.”
“All guilt is relative. Loyalty counts. And never let your conscience be your guide.”
American Gothic is a 1995 horror television series. The story revolves around Caleb Temple (Lucas Black), a 10-year-old boy, who loses his family to murder and suicide, but who is also the biological son of the towns Sheriff, Lucas Buck (Gary Cole) who seems to wield supernatural abilities which he uses to control and manipulate the people of Trinity, South Carolina. Sheriff Buck, believes with Caleb’s family out of the way, he will be able to get custody of the child and corrupt him, but his plan is thwarted when Caleb’s cousin Gail (Paige Turco) arrives and with the help of Dr. Matt Crower begin to uncover the truth behind Sheriff Buck. Caleb is also guided by the ghost of his sister, Merlyn (Sarah Paulson) who not only protects him, but shows him the truth of his past. Can Merlyn, Gail and Dr. Matt save Caleb from the evil influence of Sheriff Buck? Watch and find out!
This is one of those magical series that ended far too soon having only one season with a total of twenty-two episodes (some of which were never aired with the series). A combination of a wonderful story, great script with authentic yet haunting dialogue, beautiful visuals, mood setting music and a perfect cast, this show had it all. The overarching theme concerning the corruption of innocence was handled in a spooky and entertaining way. The dialogue was engaging, witty and poignant but never seemed forced or fake. The music by Joseph LoDuca was wonderfully composed appropriately setting the mood for each scene with haunting cherub like choral arrangements mixed in with the creepy melodies. The use of special effects was kept to a minimum and most of the power wielded by characters was subtle, grounding the series and making it feel real, but when effects were used, they were visually beautiful and added to the overall quality of the production.
The cast was perfectly chosen, with Lucas Black as ten-year-old Caleb Temple doing a fantastic job as a boy who has lost everything and seems to carry the world on his shoulders. He is intelligent and sensitive, with a world-weary nature and yet still boyish. Gary Cole as the charming Lucas Buck. He is charismatic, as all devils need to be, and you can see how people can be taken in by his personality. Buck ranges from a steel serious gaze to a kind of whimsy, but there is always a feeling of evilness personified behind it all. A very young Sarah Paulson (American Horror Story) plays Merlyn whose life is altered when she witnesses a horrific act and slips into emotional instability, this is juxtaposed with the angelic nature she embodies when she returns as a ghost. Her vocal qualities as she says in just the right southern twang, “Someone’s at the door” exemplifies the creepy yet good nature of the character. The rest of the cast is also amazing with characters like Selena Coombs, the overly sexualized elementary school teacher played by Brenda Bakke; and Jake Weber as Dr. Matt Crower whose own past haunts him and yet he is able to show love and caring while also being one of the few people to stand up to Sheriff Buck.
Created by Shaun Cassidy (The Hardy Boys) with Sam Raimi as executive producer, the show premiered on CBS in September of 1995, and was supposed to run for twenty-two episodes, but CBS cut four of the episodes out, which were later shown in syndication. The character of Dr. Matt Crower was replaced by Dr. Billy Peale (John Mese) to be a more formidable foe to Lucas Buck. Dr. Crower was written off the show, but the character was intended to be returning if the series was picked up for a second season. This was an amazing show that never found its loving audience and was cancelled far too soon.
This was such a well done show, it is a shame that it was not allowed to continue.
Forgotten Television: American Gothic
- Writing - 10/1010/10
- Storyline - 10/1010/10
- Acting - 10/1010/10
- Music - 9/109/10
- Production - 9/109/10
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