BibleMan: The Fiendish Works of Dr. Fear
Today, I’m continuing my week-long marathon of the Bibleman franchise as part of Secular Students Week. If you make a donation to the Secular Student Alliance this week, and I’ll cover a movie of your choice.
“The Fiendish Works of Dr. Fear” marks the third entry into “The Bibleman Adventure,” which is the second incarnation of the franchise.
“The Fiendish Works of Dr. Fear” is once again directed by Eric J. Smith, who also took the reins on the previous episode, “The Incredible Force of Joy.” Willie Aames, who also plays Bibleman, co-directs, and the writing for the episode is credited to Marion Rose Wells.
The central villain of “The Fiendish Works of Dr. Fear” is, of course, Dr. Fear. However, the character is once again played by the same actor, Brian Lemmons, who portrayed the previous two villains: The Master of Misery and The Shadow of Doubt, a fact that is pointed out once again by his self-aware sidekick, Ludicrous. This time, Dr. Fear appears to be partially cybernetic, which gives him a little more interesting appearance. The evil computer program, “L.U.C.I.,” who appeared in the live version of “The Incredible Force of Joy,” also shows up as an accessory villain.
Both the intelligent computer, U.N.I.C.E., and a sidekick, Coats, appear alongside Bibleman in “The Fiendish Works of Dr. Fear,” just as they did in the previous two “Bibleman Adventure” installments.
The story of “The Fiendish Works of Dr. Fear” follows Bibleman as he leads the “Clean is Cool” campaign to keep kids off of drugs (or something like that). Meanwhile, a new villain named Dr. Fear plots to fill people with anxieties and destroy their self confidence, even taking aim at Bibleman himself. I assume that also has something to do with drugs, but I wasn’t entirely clear on that point. Bibleman, as per usual, has to figure out the villain’s plan and overcome his own fears to win the day.
“The Fiendish Works of Dr. Fear” shockingly kicks off with Bibleman dancing to a swing number with lyrics about saying ‘no’ to drugs. I can’t even make this kind of ridiculous thing up, that is actually how the episode starts.
This episode also features the first (but not the last) time that Bibleman appears on a televised talk show. Of course, Dr. Fear uses this opportunity to strike Bibleman with some sort of fear ray, which sets off his anxieties about appearing on camera, leading him to briefly botch the interview.
For once, Bibleman actually takes a fair amount of damage in the combat sequences, particularly thanks to Dr. Fear’s ranged attack. Speaking of which, why exactly doesn’t Bibleman have a way of fighting from a distance? You would think that with the amount of technology at his disposal, he would have some sort of plan for this kind of thing. He ultimately figures out a way around it, but it wouldn’t have been as much of an issue if he just had some sort of bible-themed projectile for combat.
The humor here is still cringe-inducingly awful, and bows to a number of lazy stereotypes for no discernible reason. The plot also isn’t as entertainingly cheesy as other episodes, which, combined with yet another lackluster villain, makes for a pretty dull watch on the whole. The most amusingly terrible thing in the episode is the swing dance in the opening sequence, which passes pretty quickly. “The Fiendish Works of Dr. Fear” definitely isn’t on the top of my list for Bibleman episodes, but it is also far from the worst. It also features a brutal villain death for Dr. Fear, but it generally pales in comparison to most of the other episodes.
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