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So Weird
Soweird
Intertitle
Format Teen Drama
Science Fiction
Mystery
Paranormal
Neo-noir
Thriller
Created by Tom J. Astle
Starring Cara DeLizia (seasons 1-2)
Alexz Johnson (season 3)
Mackenzie Phillips
Patrick Levis
Erik von Detten
Eric Lively (seasons 2-3)
Belinda Metz
Dave "Squatch" Ward
Theme music composer Jon Cooksey
Opening theme "In the Darkness" (performed by Mackenzie Phillips)
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 65 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive
producer(s)
Henry Winkler
Tom J. Astle
Michelle Davis
Alec Griffith
Ali Marie Matheson
(seasons 1-2)
Jon Cooksey (seasons 1-2)
Larry Sugar (seasons 2-3)
John Mandel
Bruce Zimmerman
(season 3)
Camera setup Film; Single-camera
Running time 30 minutes
Production
company(s)
Sugar Entertainment, Ltd. (seasons 1-2)
Equal No. Entertainment, Inc. (season 3)
Fair Dinkum Productions
Disney Channel Original Productions
Broadcast
Original channel Disney Channel
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
First aired January 18, 1999 (1999-01-18)
Last aired September 28, 2001
Status Ended
External links

So Weird is a television series shot in Vancouver, British Columbia that aired on the Disney Channel as a midseason replacement from January 18, 1999 to September 28, 2001.

The series at first centered around teenage girl Fiona Phillips (Cara DeLizia) who toured with her rock star mom (Mackenzie Phillips), encountering paranormal activity along the way. Acting as an X-Files for the younger crowd, the series took a darker tone than other Disney Channel Originals. The third and final season saw the replacement of Cara DeLizia with actress Alexz Johnson playing Annie Thelen in a revamped, lighter version of the show. After 65 episodes, Disney Channel halted production on the series due to their strict 65 episode-maximum policy.

Main characters

  • Cara DeLizia as Fiona 'Fi' Phillips (seasons 1–2; guest 3) - The series' main protagonist, who left at the beginning of season three to live with her aunt and try to have a "normal life". Fi set up a website called So Weird, which was shown in episode one and appeared until season three. On this website she posts her strange experiences and finds a community that shares her belief in the paranormal. Fi has a vast knowledge of all things paranormal and an eye for detail. In "Strangeling" and "Banshee," it is hinted that she is part witch on her grandmother's side. In "OOPA," it is shown that she has a psychic connection to an ancient computing device from Atlantis. Fi lost her father in a car accident when she was three years old. In "Strange Geometry", Fi learns that her father was obsessed with the same weird things that she investigates. The will-o'-the-wisp known as Bricriu says that this may have led to his death. Fi's father's death and its increasingly mysterious circumstances acts as a double season-long story arc over seasons 1 and 2.
  • Mackenzie Phillips as Molly Phillips - Fi and Jack's mother, widow of Rick Phillips. She opened once in "Encore" instead of Fi. Molly had a bit of a rocky relationship with her father, apparently starting when she was a rebellious teenager. She wrote a song about him called "The Rock" in "Banshee" to make peace with him. She kept the knowledge that Rick also investigated paranormal activity secret from Fi, saying "he became obsessed with it". She doesn't share Fi's strong belief in the paranormal, but she does support her daughter. Bricriu possessed her in "Destiny" to stop Fi from learning the truth about her father's accident, going so far as trapping a pyrophobiac mechanic (who pulled Rick from the car the day of his death) and Fi in a burning building.
  • Alexz Johnson as Annie Thelen (season 3) - Family friend of the Phillips', she moves in with the Phillips' after Fi leaves for her aunt's to try to have a "normal life". Fi gives Annie a ring that previously belonged to her father, that serves as a gateway for Annie's adventure into the paranormal world. There is always a mysterious black panther around just as something 'weird' is happening, which she later finds outs is her spirit guide.
  • Patrick Levis as Jack Phillips - Although he is Fi's older brother, Jack doesn't believe in paranormal activity and is the series' most staunch skeptic. Jack is very protective of Fi, as well as Molly as seen in "Fathom." He once opened the show in the episode "Avatar" instead of Fi, and opened the episode "Dead Ringer" instead of Annie. Bricriu possessed him in "Will o' the Wisp" to supposedly "protect" Fi from others in the spirit world, others who didn't like her investigations of the paranormal. He meets his girlfriend Gabe in "Angels", whom he keeps in touch with long-distance and went to visit in "Fall".
  • Erik von Detten as Clu Bell - Carey's younger brother, Ned and Irene's son, Clu is more accepting of Fi's paranormal theories. She often takes him along when investigating. He got into college in "Mutiny". He tends to have a rather goofy laid back attitude, much like his brother Carey but more so. Still, he can be rather responsible such as when he helped Jack study for his driver's license in "Rebecca".
  • Eric Lively as Carey Bell (seasons 2–3) - Clu's older brother, he was introduced in "Siren". He goes along more with Fi's paranormal ideas, and sometimes comes up with his own, as shown in "Avatar". He dropped out of college and joined Molly's band against Irene's wishes in "Listen". When he was in the hospital for tonsillitis in the episode "James Garr", Fi discovers that his roommate had been cryogenically frozen.
  • Belinda Metz as Irene Bell - Molly's band manager. She has a younger sister with whom she never got along after she washed her "ratty stuffed bunny" and made it into a "clean soft bunny", a brother-in-law named Kevin, and a young nephew named Danny, who pulled Clu, Fi, and Jack into his dreams because he wanted help to deal with "the monster" (it turned out he was having nightmares because of his parents constant fighting, something they resolved to try to fix for Danny's sake) in "Nightmare".
  • Dave Ward as Ned Bell - Drives Molly's tour bus; he was possessed by a claustrophobic sea captain in "Mutiny". He went home to visit his childhood friend Sam, who was being haunted by a vision of their friend Pete, who had died in a bad fall over river rocks. He was Fi's, Clu's and Jack's home school teacher while on the road. In "Troll" he mentions he has Viking ancestors.

Episodes

Main article: List of So Weird episodes

Plot

Season 1

The season began with Fiona Phillips on tour with her famous rocker mother Molly, brother Jack (Scully to her Mulder), bus driver Ned, his wife Irene, and their son Clu. Stringing together all of Fi's paranormal encounters was her search to communicate with her father, who died when she was three years old. Fi first "encountered" her father in the second episode titled "Website" where an unknown force sent her internet articles warning her of the future. From alien invasions, time warps, and ghosts, Fi faced 13 episodes worth of paranormal activity. Also encountered: one powerful tulpa, a Bigfoot, angels, and more significantly, the Will o' the Wisp. The season finale featured Jack becoming possessed by a hyperactive Irish Will o' the Wisp, also known as a Spunkie. Fi found the spirit's one true name - Bricriu - and therefore saved her brother. Bricriu had offered to protect Fi, and while it is understandable that Fi initially believed he was lying, subsequent events in the show proved that Bricriu may have been telling the truth. However, this is questionable at best.

Season 2

The second season was even darker than the first, playing out over twenty-six episodes. The premiere picked up with Molly taking time off the tour to record an album. Fi and friend Candy meet a medium who is proven to be a fraud. However, the one who uncovers the fake is actually a medium himself who aids Fi in contacting her father through music on his old guitar.

The character of Clu was reduced during the season, as he went off to college, and his brother Carey was introduced to fill in the gap. Many classic beasts surfaced within the season, including vampires, werewolves, banshees, trolls, sirens, and merfolk. In a pivotal episode, Fi learned that her father investigated the same kinds of supernatural events that Fi did. In fact, this was exactly what led to his death. Upon learning this, Fi is angered by her mother's deceit in covering up the truth about her father. Molly was eventually possessed by Bricriu, the same Will o' the Wisp as Jack was in season one. Fi discovered that Will o' the Wisps or other dark powers, though not necessarily Bricriu himself, may have killed her father, resulting in the accident that police had assumed took his life. In this episode Bricriu tried to kill a former firefighter who had been present at Rick's car crash and was aware that Fi's dad had been dead, with no apparent cause, before the car crashed. Following this episode, Fi had further contact with her father, as the answer to a troll's question - Faith - was revealed on her computer and a plethora of cell phones.

The season ended with Fi discovering her father's twin sister received encoded messages from him in her sleep. The messages led Fi to a rooftop where she was attacked by a three-headed demon and saved by the ghost of her father. He left her with a message that the spirit world was angry with her and would try to stop her investigation about the paranormal. At last, Fi got the proper farewell to her father that she had been searching for. Many DeLizia fans consider this a proper, if not entirely fulfilling, finale.

Season 3

After skewing extremely dark and intricate in its second season, the show was forced into a lighter tone for its final batch of episodes. Cara DeLizia left after the first episode, which introduced family friend Annie Thelen. Fi had yet another encounter with Bricriu that ended with him convincing her to give up her innate attraction to the paranormal in order to protect her family. Fi, unable for whatever reason to see that Bricriu was acting in her best interests, trapped him in a floppy disk. The attraction, manifested in the ring her father gave her, was passed on to Annie as Fi went to live with her aunt. Molly moved the family to a new, brightly colored house.

Annie's story arc was the mystery behind a spirit guide that followed her in the form of a panther. Her character was also musically talented, and episodes featured more of her singing than that of the older Mackenzie Phillips. The season's stories were a far cry from previous episodes, playing such plots as being sucked into a painting (which directly followed an episode of people being sucked into photographs) and a detention class that never ended. Cara DeLizia never reappeared in the season, however Fi was still prevalent in many episodes via e-mail. She made a brief appearance in the episode "Earth 101" by a look-a-like, and in the final episode, which was a clip show of the third season. The mystery of the panther was solved: when Annie was three and living in the Amazon she saved a young tribesman at risk to her own life. His tribe, in turn, saved her and his father took on the form of the panther to always protect her as thanks for her selfless act.

Cancellation

After 65 installments, Disney canceled the show as was standard practice at the time no matter how popular a series it was. After the show ended, the series' reruns were pushed further back on the schedule. Before it was taken off completely, the show was airing at 3:00 AM in late 2002. Starting in 2003, Disney Channel completely overhauled its line-up and So Weird re-runs were gone.

So Weird has not aired in the United States since 2002; but in March 2009, the television listings website TitanTV incorrectly listed the So Weird episode "Avatar" as airing on Nicktoons Network, confusing the episode title with that of the Nickelodeon animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender; this error occurred periodically since then, on March 7, 2009, September 26, 2009, December 25, 2009, October 20, 2010, November 26, 2010, December 30, 2010 and most recently June 27, 2011.

Unaired plots

Executive producers Jon Cooksey and Ali Marie Matheson had plotted out a very different and dark third season. Season two would have ended with Rick being thrown off the roof rather than having a tearful farewell with his daughter. Season three would then pick up with stories including Bricriu making a reappearance, possessing Fi who would later be saved by Molly's priest brother. Fi would have continued to investigate the paranormal but the encounter on the rooftop would have made her more cautious; the Phillips witch ancestry would be delved into; the alien thread from the past two seasons would have come full circle; Jack would have been revealed to have lived a past life as a knight (subtly alluded to in past episodes); Molly's past alcoholism (the subject of "In the Darkness") would have been addressed; an episode where Fi helps the spirit of a dead girl go to Heaven was planned, and Rick's story would have continued through to the series finale where Fi goes to Hell to rescue her father.

However, Disney would not allow the dark themes to be included in the show. They instead opted for a lighter tone to dominate the final season. This led to executive producers Cooksey and Matheson leaving the show. However, most of the planned plots would not have been possible because Cara DeLizia had already made the decision to leave and pursue other projects.

The other known incidence of Disney rejecting proposed stories was the unproduced episode "Chrysalis." The episode would have featured Carey helping a friend who was a victim of addiction. The episode would have also introduced the backstory of Molly's alcoholism. The episode "Avatar" was aired instead of Chrysalis.

Cast changes and guest appearances

  • Erik von Detten was snatched up by Disney when the show was in its second season. While he was used in two network projects, the sitcom Odd Man Out and the fantasy series Dinotopia (both aired on ABC), von Detten returned in the third season in several guest spots. Eric Lively meanwhile replaced him.
  • Despite many rumors, producers confirm that Cara DeLizia left after season two to pursue other projects before Disney had decided to revamp the show. DeLizia's departure was the first time that a Disney Channel original series in which the lead actor departed a series during its run (the only other series this has occurred is Sonny with a Chance, whose lead actress Demi Lovato left due to health issues). In the season three episode "Earth 101," Fi's cameo appearance was done through past vocal footage and a look-alike stand-in. DeLizia had no part in the episode.
  • The Moffatts made a guest appearance in the episode "Destiny." SHeDAISY made a guest appearance in the episode "Listen."
  • Mackenzie Phillips does not appear in two episodes of the series.

Music of So Weird

The series featured original songs sung by both Mackenzie Phillips and Alexz Johnson. Songs sung by Mackenzie Phillips included the theme "In the Darkness", "Another World", "Rebecca", "The Rock" and "Love is Broken". Each of the songs usually tied into the theme of the episode they were featured in. For example, "Rebecca" was featured in the episode "Rebecca" which dealt with Molly's former best friend of the same name who vanished when she was 13 years old. A compilation of Molly's songs was featured in the episode "Encore."

During season one or two, a music video that starts out with a talking scene between Jack and Clu and then Molly asks them and Fi to go to bed while they act jovial and happy, was aired. It featured over 62 clips from season one and two. It was the song "In the Darkness". It starts out with Jack and Clue fooling around, Clu howling and someone strumming a guitar. Molly comes to them in the RV and tells them it is time for her second show and that means bed. Fi closes her computer and says goodnight. She looks sad. Jack hugs Molly goodnight. Clu tells Molly to "knock em dead' or something or Break A Leg, Molly mocks his voice and says, "Thank you Clu" and shakes his hand. They leave. She goes out of the RV and starts to sing in a strange set.

"Last Night Blues," was the only occasion Cara DeLizia had to sing during her stint on the show. The song was supernaturally transferred to the characters from a murdered blues musician.

Season 3 mainly used the music of Alexz Johnson. One of Johnson's original songs, "Dream About You", was featured in the episode "Carnival." A music video by Alexz Johnson, "Shadows", was also featured near the end of the show's run on the Disney channel.

The following is an incomplete listing of music from So Weird. With the exception of "Lorena" and occasional musical guest appearances, all music was original, created especially for the series.


Introduced in Season 1

  • "In the Darkness"
Music by Annmarie Montade
Lyrics by Jon Cooksey
Sung by Mackenzie Phillips
  • "More Like a River"
Music by Brent Belke
Lyrics by Jon Cooksey
Sung by Mackenzie Phillips
  • "Rebecca"
Music by Annmarie Montade
Lyrics by Jon Cooksey
Sung by Mackenzie Phillips
  • "She Sells"
Music by Annmarie Montade
Lyrics by Jon Cooksey
Sung by Mackenzie Phillips

Introduced in Season 2

  • "Origami"
Sung by Mackenzie Phillips
  • "New Math"
Sung by Mackenzie Phillips
  • "The Rock"
Sung by Mackenzie Phillips
  • "Love Is Broken"
Sung by Mackenzie Phillips
  • "Last Night Blues"
Sung by Mackenzie Phillips and Cara DeLiza
  • "Another World"
Sung by the fictional Phillips Kane Band, and by Mackenzie Phillips. Alternate version sung by David Steele

Introduced in Season 3

  • "One In A Million World"
Sung by Mackenzie Phillips and Alexz Johnson
  • "To Dream About You"
Sung by Alexz Johnson
  • "Never Give Up"
Sung by Alexz Johnson
  • "What You Do (Voodoo)"
Sung by Mackenzie Phillips
  • "Thinkin' About Tomorrow"
Sung by Mackenzie Phillips
  • "A Different Story"
Sung by Mackenzie Phillips
  • "Push Me, Pull You"
Sung by Alexz Johnson
  • "'Cause You're Watching Over Me (Shadows)"
Sung by Alexz Johnson
  • "While I Stare"
Sung by Mackenzie Phillips

Other songs

  • "Lorena" (folk song fragment)
Sung by Mackenzie Phillips
  • "Star-Dot-Star" (fictional jingle)
Sung by cast (and by gremlins)
  • "Jack's Lullaby"
Sung by Patrick Levis
  • "Questions"
Sung by Jewel Staite
  • "Little Goodbyes"
Sung by SheDaisy
  • "Misery"
Sung by The Moffatts

Soundtrack

A So Weird soundtrack was never released, but the executive producers of the series record studio versions of the songs. Some parts of the studio songs can be found in the end credits, like She Sells, Another World, One in a Million, Different Story, Dream with Me, New Math. Fans had made covers CDs and the executive producers Jon Cooksey and Larry Sugar did as well.

Larry Sugar:


CD 1:

  • In The Darkness (Version 1)
  • In The Darkness (Extended Version)
  • In The Darkness (Version 2)
  • In The Darkness (Bricriu's Version)
  • More Like a River (Jon Cooksey's Key Version)
  • More Like a River (Piano Version)
  • More Like a River (Guitar Version)
  • Lorena (Mackenzie Phillips Extended Version)
  • Star-Dot-Star Jingle (Extended Version)
  • Rebecca (Piano)
  • Rick's Melody (Extended Version)
  • She Sells (Extended Version)
  • Questions (Extended Version)
  • New Math (Extended Version)
  • The Rock (Extended Version)
  • Last Night Blues (Mackenzie Phillips Extended Version)
  • Chicago Blues (Mackenzie Phillips Extended Version)

CD 2:

  • Origami
  • Another World (Mackenzie Phillips Version)
  • Land of Free (Extended Version)
  • Love is Broken (Original Version)
  • Love is Broken (Revised Version)
  • One in a Million World (Extended Version)
  • What You Do (Extended Version ft. Alexz)
  • What You Do (Alexz Johnson Version)
  • Never Give (Extended Version)
  • To Dream About You (So Weird Version)
  • To Dream About You (Alexz CD Version)
  • Thinkin' About Tomorrow (ft. Alexz)
  • Different Story (ft. Alexz)
  • Push Me, Pull You (Extended Version)
  • 'Cause You're Watching Over Me
  • While I Stare (ft. Alexz)

Jon Cooksey:

  • She Sells (Extended Version)
  • Rebecca (Piano Version)
  • Questions (Extended Version)
  • The Rock (Extended Version)
  • In The Darkness (Extended Version)
  • Another World (PKB Version)
  • New Math (Extended Version)
  • More Like a River (Jon Cooksey's Key Version)
  • Origami
  • Last Night Blues (Mackenzie Phillips Version)
  • Love is Broken (Revised Version)

Fan reaction

So Weird was popular amongst older audiences, more so than most other Disney Channel Original Series. Most fans had latched on to the first two seasons with its dark mythology, especially when led by central character Fiona Phillips.

When the lighter tone of season three came around, it seemed to alienate most fans (many of whom still continued to watch). In fact, many fans separate the eras as two different series. However, as Disney had hoped, younger audiences became attracted to the show in its final season, thanks to its lighter stories and marketable new music talent Alexz Johnson filling in for DeLizia. However, many fans were also angered by the fact that Disney seemed to completely ignore the show's past in the final year, dropping all previous threads and not including clips from seasons one and two in its finale clip show.

External links

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