Amazing Stories (TV series)

Amazing Stories (TV series)
Amazing Stories
Genre Anthology, fantasy, horror, science fiction
Created by Steven Spielberg (uncredited)
Developed by Steven Spielberg
Joshua Brand
John Falsey
Directed by Various
Theme music composer John Williams
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 45
Executive producer(s) Steven Spielberg
Production company(s) Amblin Entertainment, Universal Television
Original channel NBC
Original run September 29, 1985 – April 10, 1987
Related shows Family Dog

Amazing Stories is a fantasy, horror, and science fiction television anthology series created by Steven Spielberg. It ran on NBC from 1985 to 1987, and was somewhat erratically screened in Britain by BBC1 and BBC2 - billed in the Radio Times as "Steven Spielberg's Amazing Stories" - with episodes airing at any time from early on Sunday morning (such as "The Family Dog") to weekday evenings (like "Such Interesting Neighbors") to very late at night (for instance "Mirror, Mirror"); it later received a more coherent run on Sci-Fi.

The series was nominated for 12 Emmy Awards and won five. The first season episode "The Amazing Falsworth" earned writer Mick Garris an Edgar Award for Best Episode in a TV Series. It was not a ratings hit (ranking 40th in Season 1 and 46th in Season 2), however, and the network did not renew it after the two-year contract expired.

The series title licensed the name of Amazing Stories, the first dedicated science fiction magazine.[1]



The series list below is annotated with the Book numbers as they appeared in the US release on VHS; the Japanese LaserDisc and UK VHS (PAL) releases are indicated with volume numbers. Note that Vol. 7 and 8 are switched for the UK VHS release. All episodes have a running time of around 25 minutes, with the exceptions of "The Mission" and "Go To The Head Of The Class" (both running 50 minutes).

Season One (1985-1986)

Title Director Airdate US VHS
Europe VHS
1x01 "Ghost Train" Steven Spielberg 1985·Sep·29 Vol. 2
1x02 "The Main Attraction" Matthew Robbins 1985·Oct·06 Vol. 4
1x03 "Alamo Jobe" Michael D. Moore 1985·Oct·20
1x04 "Mummy Daddy" William Dear 1985·Oct·27 Vol. 1
1x05 "The Mission" Steven Spielberg 1985·Nov·03 Book One Vol. 1
1x06 "The Amazing Falsworth" Peter Hyams 1985·Nov·03 Book Three Vol. 2
1x07 "Fine Tuning" Bob Balaban 1985·Nov·10 Book Five Vol. 7
1x08 "Mr. Magic" Donald Petrie 1985·Nov·17 Book Four Vol. 6
1x09 "Guilt Trip" Burt Reynolds 1985·Dec·01
1x10 "Remote Control Man" Bob Clark 1985·Dec·08
1x11 "Santa '85"
a.k.a "One Amazing Night"
Phil Joanou 1985·Dec·15 Vol. 8
1x12 "Vanessa in the Garden" Clint Eastwood 1985·Dec·29
1x13 "The Sitter" Joan Darling 1986·Jan·05
1x14 "No Day at the Beach" Lesli Linka Glatter 1986·Jan·12 Book Three
1x15 "One for the Road" Thomas Carter 1986·Jan·19
1x16 "Gather Ye Acorns" Norman Reynolds 1986·Feb·02
1x17 "Boo!" Joe Dante 1986·Feb·16
1x18 "Dorothy and Ben" Thomas Carter 1986·Mar·02 Vol. 4
1x19 "Mirror, Mirror" Martin Scorsese 1986·Mar·09 Book Four Vol. 6
1x20 "Secret Cinema" Paul Bartel 1986·Apr·06
1x21 "Hell Toupee" Irvin Kershner 1986·Apr·13
1x22 "The Doll" Phil Joanou 1986·May·04 Vol. 5
1x23 "One for the Books" Lesli Linka Glatter 1986·May·11 3-tape-set
1x24 "Grandpa's Ghost" Timothy Hutton 1986·May·25

Season Two (1986-1987)

Title Director Airdate US VHS
Europe VHS
2x01 "The Wedding Ring" Danny DeVito 1986·Sep·22 Book One Vol. 2
2x02 "Miscalculation" Tom Holland 1986·Sep·29 Vol. 3
2x03 "Magic Saturday" Robert Markowitz 1986·Oct·06 Vol. 8
2x04 "Welcome to My Nightmare" Todd Holland 1986·Oct·13
2x05 "You Gotta Believe Me" Kevin Reynolds 1986·Oct·20 Vol. 8
2x06 "The Greibble" Joe Dante 1986·Nov·03 Vol. 3
2x07 "Life on Death Row" Mick Garris 1986·Nov·10 Book Three Vol. 5
2x08 "Go to the Head of the Class" Robert Zemeckis 1986·Nov·21 Book Two Vol. 1
2x09 "Thanksgiving" Todd Holland 1986·Nov·24 Vol. 5
2x10 "The Pumpkin Competition" Norman Reynolds 1986·Dec·01 Book Five Vol. 7
2x11 "What If...?" Joan Darling 1986·Dec·08
2x12 "The Eternal Mind" J. Michael Riva 1986·Dec·29
2x13 "Lane Change" Ken Kwapis 1987·Jan·12 3-tape-set
2x14 "Blue Man Down" Paul Michael Glaser 1987·Jan·19 Book Four Vol. 6
2x15 "The 21 Inch Sun" Nick Castle 1987·Feb·02 Vol. 8
2x16 "The Family Dog" Brad Bird 1987·Feb·16 Book Two Vol. 4
2x17 "Gershwin's Trunk" Paul Bartel 1987·Mar·13 3-tape-set
2x18 "Such Interesting Neighbors" Graham Baker 1987·Mar·20 3-tape-set
2x19 "Without Diana" Lesli Linka Glatter 1987·Mar·27 Book Five Vol. 7
2x20 "Moving Day" Robert Stevens 1987·Apr·03 Vol. 3
2x21 "Miss Stardust" Tobe Hooper 1987·Apr·10


In 1999 Varèse Sarabande released a CD containing a rerecording of the scores for the episodes "The Mission" and "Dorothy and Ben" (John Williams and Georges Delerue respectively) plus Williams' opening and closing themes, performed by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra conducted by John Debney.

In 2006-2007, Intrada released three volumes of original music from the series, covering the impressive lineup of composers who worked on it and featuring all of the most noteworthy scores (with the exception of Danny Elfman and Steve Bartek's "The Family Dog," because the masters could not be found - a brief suite is on Music for a Darkened Theatre: Vol. 2, however). The album is also notable for the premiere release of the music Williams composed for the Amblin Entertainment logo (although the logo music is not heard on the show itself).

Other than Williams, Bruce Broughton is the only composer to be represented on all three volumes. The running times below indicate the cumulative time for each score rather than the time of each track. (The series theme is not quoted in any of the episode scores, with the exception of "Ghost Train.")

Volume 1 (2006)


Amazing Stories Main Title - John Williams (1:02)

Ghost Train - John Williams (15:45)

Alamo Jobe - James Horner (10:01)

Gather Ye Acorns - Bruce Broughton (18:37)

The Doll - Georges Delerue (10:09)

The Amazing Falsworth - Billy Goldenberg (8:47)


Amazing Stories Bumper #1 - John Williams (:04)

Moving Day - David Shire (13:41)

Without Diana - Georges Delerue (12:39)

Mummy, Daddy - Danny Elfman & Steve Bartek (13:26)

Vanessa In The Garden - Lennie Niehaus (13:23)

Welcome To My Nightmare - Bruce Broughton (16:04)

Amazing Stories End Credits - John Williams (:29)

Amblin Logo - John Williams (:15)

Volume Two (2006)

CD 1:

Amazing Stories Main Title ­Alternate #1 - John Williams (1:03)

Boo! - Jerry Goldsmith (12:13)

What If...? - Billy Goldenberg (12:32)

Dorothy And Ben - Georges Delerue (10:10)

The Main Attraction - Craig Safan (12:09)

Such Interesting Neighbors - David Newman (17:13)

Thanksgiving - Bruce Broughton (12:14)

CD 2:

Amazing Stories Bumper #2 - John Williams (:04)

Hell Toupee - David Shire (13:41)

One For The Road - Johnny Mandel (8:40)

The Remote Control Man - Arthur B. Rubinstein (12:53)

The Greibble - John Addison (15:43)

No Day At The Beach - Leonard Rosenman (11:04)

Santa ’85 - Thomas Newman (13:05)

Amazing Stories End Credits - John Williams (:29)

Amblin Logo (Christmas Version) - John Williams (:15)

Volume Three (2007)

CD 1:

Amazing Stories Main Title ­Alternate #2 - John Williams (1:03)

Go To The Head Of The Class - Alan Silvestri (26:58)

The Wedding Ring - Craig Safan (12:51)

Mirror, Mirror - Michael Kamen (24:56)

Mr. Magic - Bruce Broughton (12:50)

CD 2:

Amazing Stories Bumper #1 - John Williams (:04)

Secret Cinema - Billy Goldenberg (7:56)

Life On Death Row - Fred Steiner (13:57)

The Pumpkin Competition - John Addison (14:29)

Grandpa's Ghost - Pat Metheny (11:06)

The Mission - John Williams (29:55)

Amazing Stories End Credits - John Williams (:29)

Amblin Logo (Alternate) - John Williams (:15)


One episode of the show, "The Family Dog", was spun off into its own series. Six years after Amazing Stories finished its run, Family Dog ran on CBS for ten episodes before being pulled off the schedule.

In 1985-86, TSR published six tie-in novels under the banner "Amazing Stories". They were branching (Choose Your Own Adventure style) books where the reader chose where to jump at key points.[2]

  • 1. The 4-D Funhouse by Clayton Emery and Earl Wajenberg. Cover by Jeff Easley.
  • 2. Jaguar! by Morris Simon. Cover by Jeff Easley.
  • 3. Portrait in Blood by Mary L. Kirchoff (credited as Mary Kirchoff). Cover by Jeff Easley.
  • 4. Nightmare Universe by Gene DeWeese and Robert Coulson. Cover by Jeff Easley.
  • 5. Starskimmer by John Betancourt. Cover by Doug Chaffee.
  • 6. Day of the Mayfly by Lee Enderlin. Cover by Doug Chaffee.

Home video and rebroadcasts

A selection of the original series episodes were released in the VHS format in 1993; these were titled "Book One" through "Book Five" in the US. In Japan and Europe episodes were cut together as movies and released in 8 volumes during the late 80s, early 90s. A 3-tape VHS (PAL) set was released in the UK in 2001.

Europe/Japan VHS series

  • Amazing Stories: The Movie (1987)
  • Amazing Stories II (1987)
  • Amazing Stories III (1988)
  • Amazing Stories IV (1988)
  • Amazing Stories V (1989)
  • Amazing Stories VI (1989)
  • Amazing Stories VII (1990)
  • Amazing Stories VIII (1990)

US VHS series

  • Amazing Stories: Book One (1993)
  • Amazing Stories: Book Two (1993)
  • Amazing Stories: Book Three (1993)
  • Amazing Stories: Book Four (1993)
  • Amazing Stories: Book Five (1993)

The Complete First Season (DVD) was released on July 18, 2006 in the US. The second season of the series has not been released on DVD in the US as of yet, but is available in Japan (Region 2, NTSC) and was released there on July, 8th 2009. The full series was also released on DVD in Germany (Region 2, PAL) with both English and German dubbed audio as 11 single DVDs or a boxset containing all episodes, which was released on November 20, 2009.

Three of the episodes (The Mission, Mummy Daddy and Go to the Head of the Class) were packaged together as an anthology film and released theatrically in several European countries such as Spain, France (July 10, 1986) or Finland (June 26, 1987), and also in Australia on September 17, 1987. It later appeared on LaserDisc in Japan as "Amazing Stories: The Movie" shortly afterwards.

As of 2006, the SciFi channel in the United States showed episodes on an irregular schedule. The MoviePlex channel also shows the series as a collection of "movies," which are blocks of three episodes.


  1. ^ Bennetts, Leslie (July 31, 1984). "Spielberg to Produce Adventure Series for NBC". The New York Times. 
  2. ^

External links

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