Also has built-in Mood Whiplash when combined with the original intro video.
Idiot Plot: Jim Boumgarten. This segment revolves around a man who has a doppelganger living in the same city. He keeps getting mistaken by his townspeople for this "twin." Jim wants to know who this person is, so he decides to go on national TV to get to the bottom of this curious mystery...instead of just asking one of his neighbors who they were mistaking him for. It is still debated as to whether this was a gag segment.
Just Here for Godzilla: Many viewers, especially the younger ones, watched the show almost solely for its segments on the Unexplained, which were strange and fascinating enough to lead directly into...
Plenty of others prefer the "Missing" and "Unexplained Death" segments, despite freely admitting that they're terrified by them.
Crowning Music of Awesome / Hell Is That Noise: The theme song, which uses the phrygian musical mode to create what is unquestionably one of the creepiest songs in all television history. Go ahead: find it, put it on an MP3 player or iPod, and walk outside at night.
The originally-aired, non-symphonic version of the song had some subtle differences...that might have made it even creepier.
The ending credits music was also extremely haunting. Every single thing about the show's music was awesome, really.
The show itself used to acknowledge how awesome its theme music was by including a link to the Lifetime-era remix in their website (keep in mind this was during the 2008-2010 era, when said theme music was replaced by generic rock tracks). The site has since been redesigned.
Most Wonderful Sound: Anytime Robert Stack said "Update!" It usually meant that a mystery had been solved, or at the very least there was a good strong clue.
Unless of course, the resolution was a sad one—that a missing person had been found dead, or worse yet, was still missing.
Most Annoying Sound: Dear God, that stupid "telephone ring" sound heard in the Farina episodes, whenever a caption or subtitle appears on the screen! Whose idea was that?!
Replacement Scrappy: Dennis Farina, and really anybody who isn't Robert Stack, who unfortunately died in 2003.
The move to the Lifetime Network meant that nearly all of the scary/awesome paranormal segments were booted off to make room for more "missing loved ones" segments instead. Yup: say goodbye to Bigfoot, UFOs and ghosts and say hello to more women crying and hugging!
The 2008-2010 Spike TV run, which was basically comprised of Re Cut versions of the original episodes, with a plethora of unnecessary video/audio effects added, Robert Stack swapped out for Dennis Farina, and the original theme song and background music replaced with generic rock tracks.
A straight version would be a story of two girls who grew up in the same 1950s neighborhood and were close like sisters until one of the girls moved away with her family. Years later, it is discovered that the girls were sisters, but the one sister still continues to search for her long-lost sister.
The woman who suffered a brain aneurysm and lost 16 years of her memories! After leaving the hospital, she thought it was still 1960, but really it was 1976, her children had grown up, her husband looked different, certain family members or friends had passed away, her house was different, and to top it all off, she was fearful of admitting to her family she had lost her memory, until four years later. The segment ends with the host saying that doctors do not believe she will ever recover, or gain her memories back.
The Missing Person case that involved the New Kids on the Block turned out to be this. It featured a missing girl who was supposedly caught on tape in the video for My Favorite Girl, so the Knight brothers (Jonathan and Jordan) showed up on the show asking for info about her whereabouts. According to an update, however, the girl on tape was an Identical Stranger... and the actual one had been murdered the same day she disappeared. The only good thing is that the poor girl's killer was found and brought to justice.
Unintentional Period Piece: The heavily synthesized music and the graphics used in the various introductions are hopelessly stuck in the 80's/early 90's, but arguably not to the shows detriment. The fashions and attitudes in the cases themselves are also obviously of their time.
Values Dissonance: It may be a little jarring to viewers when cases that involve people growing marijuana are treated with the same level of horror by the show as criminals that commit murder, rape, robbery, etc.
A large number of the stories about adopted children looking for their parents always mention how they kid was often abandoned by their young mother. While being a single teen mother isn't ideal nowadays, it's not exactly "abandon your child" horrible.