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Bingeable: Into The Dark 

When? 2018 -

What's it rated? TV-MA

Where's it available? Hulu

click to enlarge SPOOKILY RELIABLE Each episode in the anthology horror series Into The Dark is consistently entertaining, although rarely remarkable. - PHOTO COURTESY BLUMHOUSE PRODUCTIONS
  • Photo Courtesy Blumhouse Productions
  • SPOOKILY RELIABLE Each episode in the anthology horror series Into The Dark is consistently entertaining, although rarely remarkable.

Jalapeño-flavored kettle-cooked potato chips are my all-time favorite snack food. But I don't buy them often because whenever I do, I lose all sense of self-control and eat an entire bag in one sitting. So, for the sake of my heart and my waistline, I buy pretzels to satiate my salty snack craving. They're always reliably satisfying, but rarely fantastic, so portion control is never an issue. Yet, when I need something to munch on, there's always a bag in my pantry.

To me, the anthology horror series Into the Dark is the pretzel of television. Each episode—all of which function as short movies with 90-minute run times and different casts—is consistently entertaining, but never phenomenal. Nonetheless, I'm eager to watch each new episode that's released.

The first episode of the series, titled The Body, was released on Oct. 5, 2018. Since then, one episode has been put out each month based on a theme related to a holiday in that month. This includes many of the more widely celebrated holidays, such as Halloween and Thanksgiving, but also more greeting-card focused occasions, like Father's and Mother's days.

Jason Blum's Blumhouse Television produces the series, which wrapped up its first season on Hulu with episode 12, titled Pure in September. The second season kicks off on Oct. 4, with another Halloween-themed episode. The first season's Halloween episode, which was about a hitman crashing a Halloween party, was mediocre at best. It was neither funny enough to be comedic nor scary enough to be horrific, but thankfully the series got better.

Aside from the first episode, most installments are pretty entertaining, with a few exceeding that level. So far, my favorite is Pooka!, which was released in December, and tells the story of an unemployed actor who slowly descends into madness after taking a job wearing a mascot costume to promote a new toy. It was one of the weirder and more experimental episodes. A close second favorite is They Come Knocking, which was released in June. It's more of a straightforward horror story about a father and his two daughters being hunted by some supernatural beings during a camping trip in the desert.

In addition to playing off monthly holidays, the series has also dished out some social commentary. Back in March, to recognize International Women's Day, the series released the episode Tree House, which was influenced by the #MeToo movement. And fittingly, on July 4, the series released the episode Culture Shock, which told the story of a woman fleeing Mexico to try to start a new life in the U.S. The series also took on the subject of internet trolling with April's release, I'm Just Fucking With You.

The social commentary—plus the cycle of a new episode with a new cast and director being released each month—makes each installment feel fresh and different. This format also allows for mistakes and second chances. If one episode falls short, there's always hope that the next month's could be better (two seasons, 90 min. episodes). Δ

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