If you’re planning on spending the majority of the Halloween period in front of the television, I can imagine your prospects are reasonably low.
Looking back at the 90s, we could rely on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sabrina the Teenage Witch and re-runs of The Addams Family for great TV when approaching the Halloween season. So what has the 21st century brought us in comparison?
Let’s start with the Friends episode – ‘The One With The Halloween Party’ that aired in 2001 and is no stranger to our screens each year as it comes to the end of October. Yes, it features a costumed Halloween party but at the same time provides humour, familiarity and Ross dressed as an Earth satellite – in this respect you can’t go wrong. Although ‘The One With The Halloween Party’ works with the theme well, it doesn’t really stand out from the other episodes, but still delivers in a way that only Friends can.
Channel 4 gave us a Come Dine With Me Halloween Special which featured a number of recipes with questionable Halloween pun names (‘Prawn of the Dead’ being one of them) and four separate dinner opportunities for Z-list celebrities to dress up in costumes. The slight friction between the guests allowed for good television and the odd voiceover comment from Dave Lamb kept the show going, all in all an averagely enjoyable Halloween special.
Last year witnessed the Halloween two part special Derren Brown: Apocalpyse that featured the set up of an unsuspecting individual to believe a meteor shower hitting earth had caused the end of the world. Although undoubtedly entertaining to watch him battle through zombie wasteland in Brown’s attempt to prove the victim’s capability as a decent and responsible human being, the whole ordeal was certainly far-fetched.
However, with each episode pulling in 4.5 million viewers, it’s clear the show certainly grabbed the public’s attention and evoked endless debate and conversation in regard to its legitimacy. Derren Brown: Apocalpyse entertained us, scared us (at times) and made us talk – therefore proving itself as a memorable Halloween special. It’s likely the illustionist will be returning to our screens soon for more trickery.
The noughties has also witnessed Halloween TV specials from Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy, The Simpsons, Family Guy, The Big Bang Theory and many more. And generally, television during Halloween is in a word, undemanding. You’ll probably find yourself watching something slightly predictable and repetitive and not in the least scary. But you might as well put your feet up and enjoy it for what it is.