Director: Shelley Levinson
Writer: Haskell Smith
Cast: Charles Levin, Colleen Camp, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Nate Esformes, and Paul Sparer
Composer: None (Stock Music)
Air Date: 1/13/1985
In this ridiculous episode, newlyweds Danny and Connie Squires (Charles Levin and Colleen Camp) purchase a lamp containing the spirit of an uncouth genie (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar). After the eponymous djinn gripes continuously about his ten-thousand-year imprisonment, Connie devises a simple but clever solution to the genie’s predicament.
Often considered the worst entry in the series, “Djinn, No Chaser” should be avoided by all but the most tolerant of Tales from the Darkside fans. Horror enthusiasts may find this episode disappointing given its stunning absence of suspense/subtlety, while even those who enjoy comedic efforts will derive little value from this juvenile offering.
While Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s booming voice suits the genie quite nicely, his clumsy delivery of Haskell Smith’s Ali Baba inspired dialogue leaves much to be desired. This minor issue can be excused given Abdul-Jabbar’s lack of formal training as an actor; however, Charles Levin’s obnoxious performance as a good-natured but irritating husband effectively kills any humor that might have arisen from an already weak premise. Though Levin clearly intended to portray Danny as a typical “nice guy” who refuses to allow bad circumstances to dampen his spirits, many viewers will be left wondering how such an ineffectual character managed to attract a quality wife given his whiny, passive demeanor.
Despite its original take on the Aladdin narrative, “Djinn, No Chaser” fails on just about every conceivable level. In fact, aside from the genie’s rude, insulting personality acting as a contrast to the benevolent stereotype, this episode lacks a single aspect that can be considered unique or memorable, with the possible exception of a cute but underwhelming twist in the final sequence.
“Djinn, No Chaser” lacks a compelling story to compensate for its atrocious humor. Young children may find certain features of the genie to be amusing, though anyone with a refined taste in comedy should avoid this episode at all costs.
Overall Quality: 1/10
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