TV / Streaming

Remembering ‘So Weird’: One Of The Disney Channel’s Darkest Shows

Fi Phillips and her family take on spirits, big foot, and aliens in this Disney Channel show from 1999.

So it’s time for Weirdier Tides! Running down our list of favorite horror flicks and shows. Warning now that some of the movies and tv shows we will be discussing carry heavy themes and strong visuals.

Oh, and of course spoilers!

“Demons come from every side
Out of the shadows of my life

In the darkness is the light
Surrender will win the fight
This girl’s walked on fire and ice
But I come out on the other side of paradise

That was the promise of the 1999 Disney Channel original series, So Weird, and oh boy did it deliver.

Disney Channel

Starring Cara DeLizia as Fiona “Fi” Phillips, a teenage girl who is traveling with her famous rockstar mother Molly (played by singer Mackenzie Phillips) while she is on tour. Fi and her skeptic brother, Jack encounter bizarre and extreme paranormal events ranging from aliens and possessed cars, to bigfoot, demons, and so much more. Along for the ride was their tour bus driver Ned, his wife Irene, and their goofball song Clu (later their other goofball son Carey). the ever-present goal of the journey for Fi’s was to make contact with her deceased father while chronicling her adventures on her blog called “So Weird.”

Did I mention this show was made in 1999
(Disney Channel)

The show was awesome!

When it was on it got all kinds of comparisons to the X-files, which was high praise at the time and well deserved. The show’s episodes covered a huge variety of paranormal and sci-fi topics. Each story was a surprise and it wasn’t really like any other children’s show at the time. So Weird could get dark, like really dark, and that was pretty cool if you were a kid and grew tired of the way other children’s horror shows at the time spoke down to you. Something I feel most kids eventually realized whenever your older siblings let you watch a horror movie that you were too young for or you caught sight of a poster in your local comic book shop for an upcoming slasher, was that most kids horror shows at the time had the same plot. Good kid who is open to believing and older kid, usually a teen, who doesn’t believe and gets punished for it. Along the way maybe learning the lesson of being young and believing is important.

So Weird both did and didn’t do that.

The special effects are kinda dated to put it kindly.
(Disney Channel)

So Weird made you feel like you were finally getting a deeper spooky story despite it still be coated in the tidings of Disney. Fi was a determined and inquisitive young woman who was open to believing the paranormal, a desire driven by wanting to connect with her father. Jack skepticism even in the face of utter proof of the extraordinary was all in effort to protect his little sister and the mechanic of having the siblings traveling due to their mother’s tour was the perfect way to experience different stories and monsters of the week.

Disney Channel

For two whole seasons. So Weird provided strong plots and memorable episodes. Then the third season happened and fans are still divided to this day about it.

See, without giving away spoilers, at the end of the second season, Fi’s narrative was more or less done. It left the direction of the third and final season a bit in the air, but fans were still excited. What we ended up getting was a lot of big changes to the show though.

Disney Channel

First, Fi left after making a deal with (some would call it being threatened by) a spirit to stop chasing the supernatural. She leaves to go live with her aunt, never mentioned before friend, Annie Thelan (played by Alexz Johnson) taking her place traveling with the Phillips family. The show stopped being as dark, getting lighter in theme and narrative concepts. It became worse to some, the show started feeling kinda cheesy. While most blame that on the lighter plots, it really hit a weird point when Annie’s ties to the paranormal was revealed.

New protagonist Annie
(Disney Channel)

I feel like a lot of the criticism of the third season, especially Annie, to be unfair but each fan has the right to their own opinion. Annie had big shoes to fill and for kids, new replacement characters can be tough to accept. Annie was a character that could have been interesting to know. She was musically talented which gave her a connection the Fi’s mother and her friendship with Jack was fun to see as it painted him in a bit of a different light.

So Weird would end and with that, it kinda faded to memory. It was officially removed from the Disney Channel line up shortly after its completion and hasn’t been reaired or mentioned since 2003. It hasn’t stopped the show from developing a loyal fanbase, or in my case recommending it to all my friends non-stop.

Horror fan? Stay-tuned to Nerdier Tides for more Weirdier Tides! Like other stuff? We go that too! All the other stuff you could ever need!

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About Tai

Editor-in-Chief of the Tides. He has contributed articles and helped write for sites across the wide expanse of the internet. Comic book craving, video game playing, Star Wars fanboy at your service. Mention all forms of geekdom and you will have a friend in him.

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