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American Gothic: The Series (1996)
Movie Review by The Gravedigger

American Gothic: The Series (1996) Although actor Gary Cole (THE BRADY BUNCH movies) is good as the evil Sheriff Buck, the 22 episodes of this 1995-1996 television show is so uneven that it fails to leave much of an impression.

The premise is that Sheriff Lucas Buck is either the devil or some type of minion, and he manipulates the inhabitants of the town of Trinity. Foremost on his agenda is influencing the orphaned ten-year-old Caleb Temple. It turns out that Buck is his illegitimate father and Caleb has inherited some of those evil powers. Also on board are Gail Emory (Paige Turco of TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES 2 & 3) as his newspaper reporter cousin, who wants to uncover the death of her parents, and Dr. Matt Crower (Jake Webber of MEDIUM), who is trying to run away/make amends for his past.

Sometimes Buck seems to have little power other than blackmail, yet in the very last episode he summons the spirit of The Boston Strangler, who then goes on a killing spree.

There's also Caleb's dead sister, Merlyn (Sarah Paulson), whose powers are also all over the place. At first she's intangible, then is able to take on a solid form/persona the middle of the season - and then by the end of the season seems to be like a guardian angel. Yet throughout the whole year some incidents happen that lead us to believe she's finally at rest, or vanished, then she appears again, inexplicably, in the next episode. The same happens with Dr. Crower in an episode where Sheriff Buck manages to have him committed to in insane asylum and at the end of that particular episode the impression is that he's there to stay for the long haul. Yet in the next episode he's back at the hospital, no explanation. The one thing that really did not work with the series is having the character of Gail become sexually involved with the evil Sheriff, making her go towards "the dark side".

AMERICAN GOTHIC has it's glimmers of possibilities but the producers weren't able to pull it all together in any satisfying way.

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