If you have never seen Disney’s So Weird, let me tell you, you’re missing out. All the episodes are on Youtube, so go watch a couple and come back. I’ll wait. Oh, and this article will be spoiler-filled. Again, waiting.
Okay, now that everyone is caught up, you know that Fi Phillips lives a weird life, no pun intended.
Fi’s mother, Molly, is a traveling singer. Fi’s father, Rick, died in a car accident when Fi was a child. While the first season was more or less a serialized weekly romp, where Fi, brother Jack, and friend Clu would run into the paranormal entity of the week, the last episode of Season 1 did something I never saw a Disney Channel show do—it opened up a story arc.
Jack was taken over by a Will-o’-the-Wisp named Bricriu. While Fi is attempting to free Jack by finding out the spirit’s name, Bricriu lets Fi know that there are spirits out there that are upset with her “meddling around”.
To a child, this threat was huge. No longer is this series just playful skips through Paranormal Lane. The door has been opened to make a legit story.
So why am I focusing on this for In Brightest Day? Usually my column addresses disability studies.
Well, later in Season 2, it’s revealed that Rick Phillips was killed because he too was a paranormal investigator. Fi finds this out after getting a chance to bring Rick back into the human world.
So why is that big news? Fi is considered an outcast from her family. Even though every week something weird happens, no one will accept that the universe is bigger than what they perceive as normal. Jack is constantly making jokes on Fi’s behalf, even after she saves him from possession. Suddenly, the one person who would accept all this spiritual findings, her father, could’ve been brought back to support her.
Obviously, because it’s Disney, the dead stayed dead, and Fi was able to recover. But what if Disney would’ve let this already dark show go just a tad darker? What if Fi became obsessed with finding another way to revive her father, going so far to make deals with anything, ranging from evil spirits (already recognized by the show to exist) to demons and, eventually, Lucifer himself?
Disney already acknowledged the existence of angels in an earlier Season 1 episode. Demons and Satan aren’t a far jump. Suddenly, Fi becomes a tortured warrior fighting for family. Any of this sound familiar?
Disney was in position to make So Weird be in 2000 what Supernatural is today, before Supernatural was even conceived. Disney could’ve used So Weird, and in a larger scale Zoog Disney, to do the tortured teen family melodrama before it became popular. Just goes to show how things are usually inches away in either direction from a cult classic to a hit TV show.
I know I sound like a broken record, but I feel like there have been so many missed opportunities for producers of fantasy to create ground-breaking pieces. So Weird writers Jon Cooksey and Ali Matheson have said in interviews that the show would’ve delved much darker if Disney didn’t get cold feet, eventually leading Fi to fight Satan for her father’s soul. A lot of the story ideas created for So Weird were used for Canadian supernatural drama The Collector, and I suggest you take time to check that out too.
Instead, Disney watered down the final season of So Weird, and the show faded into obscurity. However, the show always holds a special place in my heart as the piece that introduced me to the supernatural genre.