While you weren't looking, the latest chapter of the usually thrilling Syfy series, Channel Zero, has booked its return.
In an unusual move, Dream Door is considered the second half of Channel Zero Season 2 and will be airing all six of its episodes on succeeding days beginning October 26 through October 31.
Since the premiere of Channel Zero: Candle Cove, the series has done much to prove horror can be done well on network television. The key is short, focused seasons and an anthology format.
There needed to be a bump in the road eventually, and Dream Door doesn't live up to the others.
The Dream Door installment of Channel Zero is based upon a creepypasta short story titled "Hidden Door" by Charlotte Bywater.
From what I understand, there are liberties taken with all of the stories, so this review isn't a judgment on the original story that I haven't read. It's only about the story that takes place across the six episodes of the Syfy production of Dream Door.
The cast is well suited for the material, and as the first episode began, there was a desire to get to know the characters as a result.
Brandon Scott returns to Channel Zero for his second go around. He previously played the Sheriff's son, Luke, during Channel Zero Season 3: Butcher's Block, the extraordinary series incorporating horror with schizophrenia.
Here, Scott plays a newlywed husband named Tom who returns to his childhood home with his wife, Jillian (Maria Sten). The two have chemistry, but the writing fails to support it for long although the story ultimately relies on it to survive.
The horror of it is exciting. One day, Tom goes into the basement and discovers a door on the wall that wasn't there before. His first assumption is both he and Jillian don't remember it.
Maybe the blank wall was a false memory as a result of the Mandela Effect (last visited on The X-Files Season 11 Episode 4, "The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat").
Of course, nothing is ever that easy on Channel Zero, and it doesn't take long before situations in their home and elsewhere in their lives begin spinning out of control.
Although the newlyweds have known each other all their lives, their marriage begins to dissolve before their eyes.
It soon becomes apparent that just because they have known each other forever doesn't mean they had the intimate information needed to get married so soon after reuniting as adults.
Their struggles to keep their marriage together and deal with the worsening situations as a result of the door brings into their lives a menagerie of other characters.
There is a witless therapist played by the normally more effervescent Steven Weber, Tom's determined best friend, Jason (Nicholas Tucci), and a conveniently always-available neighbor named Ian (Steven Robertson).
Horror queen Barbara Crampton even has a role as a mysterious character well beneath her value. My fingers are crossed that like Scott, now that she's present in the Channel Zero universe, she'll be around for another installment that puts her talents to better use.
Once the door gets presented, it becomes relatively easy to predict what's coming. After an initial reveal, there were no surprises left thanks to glaring clues scattered throughout like a trail of breadcrumbs for viewers to follow from revelation to revelation.
At a certain point, I was watching to get to the end instead of for enjoyment, rather daring someone (too late, obviously) to pull out a surprise that I wouldn't have already guessed.
Right down to the credits rolling on the final episode of the last episode that will air on Halloween night, I already had it pegged. As I had previously been in the dark about so many things with previous outings, it was shocking.
The best I could guess was that it was why this particular set of episodes was tied to Channel Zero Season 2: No-End House and scheduled on consecutive nights during one week rather than taking up six weeks on the schedule.
Perhaps the event-like feel of it won't be as disappointing when everyone is watching together and sharing the fun of the monsters (who are, granted, oddly appealing) with others across the country.
My disappointment in piecing together the mystery shouldn't keep you from watching, though. To be honest, I was one of the first people in the theater years ago who knew Bruce Willis was dead when watching The Sixth Sense.
When you watch as much Investigation Discovery as I do (not that I did back then), mysteries become a lot easier to solve. That could be why all of the pieces of Dream Door fell together so quickly for me.
Then again, this could be the installment that shakes out not to be that great across the board. You're all fanatics. You watch as much as I do, so you might find yourself wondering why it took so long for things to progress when you knew the answer so much earlier than the characters.
With a title like Channel Zero: Dream Door, this one had a lot of potential but didn't ultimately live up to everything the imagination could offer.
Channel Zero: Dream Door begins airing on Syfy Friday, October 26 at 11/10c.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.