Saturday, April 17, 2010
Shitty TV Review - Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction
In the late '90s when Fox used to have shows like The X-Files and classic Simpsons, they also had a little show that failed to find it's audience called Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction. For about an hour, the show, originally hosted by James Brolin but more memorably by Commander Riker, Jonathan Frakes, wasted viewers' time with five stories, some of which were fact, some of which were fiction, but they left the viewers guessing until the end. But in the end it never really mattered which were true or not, since they were all B.S. no matter how much research existed to verify their factuality. The show was really about how ridiculous TV could be.
First of all, the show had a host and a narrator, both of whom introduced themselves. They actually attached their names to this product, as if they had faith in it. For the first of its four seasons Beyond Belief was hosted by James Brolin, with the following three seasons hosted by Jonathan Frakes. The original narrator was Don LaFontaine, with the last season narrated by Campbell Lane. After each segment, Jonathan Frakes would recap each story, finishing off with one of the worst puns ever written that somehow tied into each story. The subsequent story recap would then try to steal the crown from the previous pun. And every time he did this, he did it with the biggest shit-eating grin on television. For that alone, the show was worth it.
Story segments usually had a supernatural slant to each of them, but all were poorly acted and staged. Imagine the reenactment segments on America's Most Wanted, but whereas they tried to make them look real by filming it on video, Beyond Belief instead put the same over/non-acting on film. I'd be surprised to hear if anybody featured in the story segments went on to have bigger, better careers.
Sister C's and my favorite segment is the one aptly titled, "They Towed My Car." In the episode, a guy in a dirty, seaweed covered suit wanders around the town muttering, "they towed ... my car." Nobody helps him except for this one kid. The guy leads him to a car and indicates that he wants the kid to open the trunk. When the kid does as he is told, the trunk opens to reveal the guy in the suit, dead. Now was this fact? Or were they just towing you along. Damn, I guess writing shitty puns is harder than it sounds.
The Dick Clark produced Beyond the Belief is unavailable on DVD, unless you count the bootlegs by the shows large German fan base. However it can be seen on the cable-only Chiller Network if you so dare, and dare you should.
My shitty TV rating: 9 turds out of 10. The stuff of legends.