With all the special effects on display, this revival of The Munsters would’ve been one of the most expensive TV series of all time. Did we really need special effects to show the arrival of Grandpa and Lily, both coming out of “moving” boxes and brought to life by rats and mist, respectively? There’s no way there would be explicit scenes of animal/monster attacks or long shots of creepy creatures every episode. Also, I had vague memories of the wackiness of the original series, but mastermind Bryan Fuller tried to give a little too much seriousness to a silly premise.
Fred Gwynne made Herman a memorably shambling yet imposing goofball. Jerry O’Connell doesn’t do much with his Herman. Maybe this Herman’s an underwritten part. In an hour time slot, there’s little room to truly get to know the family. Marilyn (Charity Wakefield) has the same 1960s wardrobe as in the original. However, the point of Marilyn was that she’s contemporary to us regular folks in contrast to her ghastly relatives. Her fashion sense is a campy miscalculation resulting in Marilyn looking almost as odd as her kin. Eddie Munster tries to come to terms with his freaky heritage. He refuses to eat meat and gets angsty about his “werewolf at camp” incident, of which he can’t remember. It’s like Fuller was trying to say “Have a Heart.”
Speaking of which, Eddie Izzard is front and center as Grandpa who’s finding a new heart for his son-in-law. He finds his sucker in a Scout leader (Cheyenne Jackson). Grandpa gets his heart and also some fresh blood for himself. With no follow-up coming, we won’t know Marilyn’s true purpose in life or discover is Portia de Rossi and O’Connell will find chemistry. Mockingbird Lane may have been better off as a movie where the characterization can catch up to the special effects. Eh, whatever. This is a dead show that didn’t leave behind a lot of watchable fun.
Watch the full episode below (may be country and time-restricted):