Freddy's Nightmares (1988-1990)
Freddy's Nightmares was an anthology horror series hosted by Freddy Krueger. He rarely made actual appearances in the stories, but did do bumper segments, much like the Crypt Keeper. However, Freddy was the subject of two episodes in the first season, which I watched.
No More Mr. Nice Guy (Episode 1)
PLOT: Freddy Krueger has slain many children and teenagers, and is currently on the loose, but after a police officer catches Freddy trying to kill his daughters, Freddy is arrested. During the trial, the judge unfortunately discovers Freddy was never read his rights, so the judge must let him go, but it does not end there.
This is a prequel to the movies. We get to see what really happened when Freddy went free and the parents of Springwood torched him. Well, you see a different version. This has a lot of inconsistencies with the movies, both the ones before the series (1-4) and after (5-7). For starters, the first movie clearly stated the Freddy was set free because someone forgot to sign a warrant in the right place. This states it was due to him not being read his Miranda Rights. It also would have to be set no later than the mid-1970s (possibly even as early as the 50s based on how the timeline of the movies ends up being), but all the fashion and vehicles are from the late 1980s, when the series was shot. And lastly, not only were Nancy's parents (or any of the other parents from any of the movies) not involved, technically no parents killed Freddy. It was the cop who didn't read him his rights who poured the gas on him and lit the match. The parents were there, but didn't actually do the killing.
So we see the court hearing, which goes over the victims, and then Freddy being set free. The whole time, you never see his face. Tobe Hooper (director of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre) directed this, and he's able to build some suspense despite the unbelievably low budget and bad acting. The build up to seeing pre-burn Freddy's face and the glove is definitely the highlight of the episode. But this shit is SO low budget. It looks like it might be shot on tape, and 2nd gen recording at that, and you can still see boom mics, fire crews, and shadows pretty clearly. The episode follows the aftermath of the cop living with the guilt of killing someone, slowly being driven crazy by Freddy before being killed, along with a few of the parents involved.
Being that this was TV and cheap as fuck, all the gore is implied at best. Although the killing of Freddy has a shockingly long burn for a TV show. It's...not what I would call "great". Or even good. It does have some charm to it, though.
Sister's Keeper (Episode 7)
PLOT: In this sequel to the pilot episode, the twin daughters of the cop who killed Freddy are now being haunted by Freddy, so the twins plot to find a way to get Krueger out of their dreams for good.
In the first episode, it was as implied as much as you can that Freddy was either raping or molesting one of the twins when he was captured. It's never said how long this is after the death of their father, but she's still traumatized and barely speaks. It's also CLEARLY the late 80s. Not even attempting to be accurate to the timeline at all. This would have to be years before the first film, which is likely set in 1980. After a while, Freddy is able to use the dreams of one sister to fuck with the other. Example: Cutting one in the dream would result in the other being cut in real life. They then have to get their shit together to get rid of Freddy.
It's a pretty interesting concept that I think could have been a movie plot, or at least a sub-plot. In practice...well, it was better than the pilot. It still had terrible acting and effects, but it was certainly a more interesting story and significantly edgier. The twin who Freddy molested has a total cunt of a bully who picks on her all day at school. For having been molested by Freddy. And a few others, but this one girl in particular is just a ruthless piece of shit. This is a CBS TV show that features a girl making fun of another girl for being molested by a serial killer. It also has some salty language, Freddy playing the electric guitar, and plenty of sex jokes, titties in bras, women getting slapped. The show is complete ass when not in a dream sequence, but is at least creative during those. You have to realize that this show legitimately looks like it could have been made for $50. For the whole series. It's CHEAP. In fact, I have to imagine the vast majority of the budget went to Freddy's makeup, which was done by Kevin Yeager and is actually better looking than the makeup for parts 5 and 6. This started in 1988 and it's basically identical to the make up in part 4. If this had a budget and some decent actors, I can see this being a pretty solid episode. But it had neither.
It is what it is. SUPER low budget anthology horror with young actors getting their first shot at being on TV. It's bad. Not THAT bad, but pretty bad. You can see glimpses of something good in just about every episode, but the budget is just so low. I think my biggest issue is how terrible the lighting is. I think the whole show would have had a much better feel and quality to it if the lighting was closer to the movies. It's so garish and bright that it just exposes how cheap everything looks.
I find it crazy that New Line really thought they could do a movie per year and a TV series. I can't imagine how huge Freddy must have been at the time. Although it was only 44 episodes, it had some impressive young actors before they were famous, including Lori Petty, Brad Pitt, Mariska Hargitay, and Eva LaRue. The characterization of Freddy is pretty similar to that of part 3.
If you're a real savage, I have uploaded the entire series for your viewing pleasure. There are a couple of pretty solid episodes, if you can get over the ultra low budget nature of it all. I believe this is the only place online streaming the series as of the time of this writing.