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“Goosebumps”: A Reboot Well Worth The Wait


Created By: Rob Letterman and Nicholas Stoller

Based on the “Goosebumps” books by R.L. Stine

Rating: 4.7 /5

With Halloween finally here, there is no better time than to dust off our favorite stories created by R.L. Stine. “Goosebumps” is back with a reboot of the original series which aired from 1995-1998. Disney+ and Hulu collaborated to release an updated version of the series that still has the same charm as the original.  

The “Goosebumps” franchise began with a six-book deal between R.L. Stine and the scholastic corporation in 1992; this number quickly grew with the success of the series, leading Stine to release a total of 62 novels. The books came to life in 1995 when R.L. Stine’s novels were adapted for a TV series. The original run of the show took a “Black Mirror” approach as each episode was based on a different book in the series. The show was wildly successful and is a staple in 1990’s television (and single-handedly kickstarted my fear of vampires).

In 2015, the film “Goosebumps” was released starring Jack Black as R.L. Stine and followed the Goosebumps multiverse coming to life. The film got a sequel in 2018, following the discovery of Slappy the Dummy, a main character in the “Goosebumps” franchise. All of these projects are geared toward a younger audience, but the 2023 “Goosebumps” reboot takes a much darker tone. “Goosebumps” 2023 creator Rob Letterman tells The New York Post, “We make nods to the 90s when the books first came out. Those original fans who loved the books when they were kids still love them to this day. And now, they’re in their 30s and 40s. We wanted the show to appeal to not only younger audiences but also adults — with or without kids.”

“Goosebumps” 2023, follows 5 high schoolers on a twisted journey after the death of a teen named Harold Biddle 30 years prior. The teens find themselves suffering the consequences of the “Goosebumps” multiverse and the dark paths of their parents. In a small town where everyone knows everything, the dark pasts of those who have been living there from their youth finally come to light. The series highlights the teenage experience as well, through high school sports, romance, and academic struggles. “Goosebumps” takes something whimsical and turns it cynical.  

This “Goosebumps” installment is nothing like audiences have seen in the past. While the original “Goosebumps” series had a different cast and story in each episode, the 2023 “Goosebumps” series will have one overarching plot with a different subplot in each episode. But “Goosebumps” fans don’t need to worry, each episode is based on one of the original books as well. Some of the most prominent stories are “The Haunted Mask” and “Say Cheese and Die!”. The series has a very dark color scheme, which is unlike the franchise’s past productions. With absolutely beautiful cinematography, the grim nature of the show jumps through the screen.

The cast is very young and, for the most part, “Goosebumps” is their only credit to date, but that does not diminish the talent of the rising actors. Ana Yi Puig stands out in episode two, “The Haunted Mask”. During this episode, Ana’s character Isabella comes across a mask. After wearing it to a Halloween party, Isabella starts to change and the mask allows her to act out of her most intrusive thoughts. It’s a very complex performance by Puig, and a standout episode of the season. 

While many fans of the franchise didn’t like the creative changes made during the 2023 adaptation, critics had the opposite feelings, Rotten Tomatoes claims “Goosebumps” is “Wickedly inventive enough to give viewers the creeps if not nightmares, Goosebumps solidly transplants R.L. Stine’s spooky stories into a serialized format”. Most critics nod to the older target audience and gritty tones. Critics also agree that perhaps new stories should be in order. But, unfortunately, a season 2 is yet to be confirmed. Rob Letterman said in an interview with The Direct, …The one thing I’ve learned in this industry is you just never know anything. You know you have to make the best thing possible and hope people respond. And so I mean, I loved making this. I love working with Rob. I love working with everyone on the show. And I love Disney, and Sony is fantastic. But I hope we get another season. This was fun.

Whether you are a superfan of the “Goosebumps” franchise like me or are new to the 2023 series, the 2023 reboot of “Goosebumps” is 100% worth the watch. The first seven episodes are currently streaming on Disney+ and Hulu, and the last three episodes will be released weekly until the end of November. 

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About the Contributor
Elizabeth Ippolito
Elizabeth Ippolito, Executive Producer: #THAT, Television Beat Reporter
Liz Ippolito is a Grad student studying Cinematic Production Management and recently graduated with her bachelors in TV, Film, and Media Arts with a Minor in Media Studies. She is from Oradell New Jersey and is returning for her second year as the Executive Producer on #THAT. Ippolito also serves as the Television beat reporter for the station.

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