41. Tales Of The Unexpected

Air Dates: March 24, 1979 - May 13, 1988
Network: ITV
Best Episode: "The Landlady" (April 21, 1979)

Airing exclusively in England, Tales Of The Unexpected was catnip for fans of Roald Dahl's literature. Dahl, for the uninformed, was the author behind some of the scariest children's stories ever written (Charlie And The Chocolate Factory), as well as less frightening but equally memorable works (Fantastic Mr. Fox, James And The Giant Peach).

For Tales Of The Unexpected, based on many of the author's short stories, Dahl prefaced the episodes with “What inspired me to write this story” monologues, providing a glimpse into his eccentric mind. And over a nine-season stretch, audiences saw firsthand just how bizarre the guy's brain worked. In “Georgy Porgy,” a sleazy preacher sees naked women as he speaks; “Vengeance Is Mine, Inc.” finds a couple of has-been actors terrorizing a particularly harsh critic; and “Never Speak Ill Of The Dead” shows what can happen to an unfaithful wife.

Dahl wasn't a full-fledged horror writer, though, so, keeping with the tradition of his writings, Tales Of The Unexpected featured several upbeat episodes, but the ones that darkened the mood did so in peculiarly demented manners.

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