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Series / Goosebumps

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"Viewer beware — you're in for a scare..."

Running from 1995 to 1998, Goosebumps was a television adaptation of R. L. Stine's book series of the same name, originally airing on both Fox Kids and YTV. Like the books the show was an anthology series and focused on a different group of characters each episode, though there were a few recurring elements, such Slappy from the numerous Night of the Living Dummy stories. Goosebumps was a joint Canadian/American production and was shot in both Ontario and Washington.

The show reran for two years on Cartoon Network (usually around Halloween timenote , but it lasted a bit longer in 2007 due to the Writers' Guild going on strike and producers scrambling for filler programming until the strike ended), then aired on The Hub Network in the early 2010s alongside R.L. Stine's then-new anthology series, The Haunting Hour. The entire show can now be found on Netflix.


For tropes from individual episodes based on the original books, see the book pages.

The TV series in general provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Alternate Ending: The TV adaptation changed a few endings from the books. Most of them make the ending happier, but A Night in Terror Tower alters the end to suggest the Lord High Executioner is still able to come after them.
  • Adaptational Karma: Some of the Karma Houdini characters from the book series get punished for their actions in the TV episodes. This includes Judith from Be Careful What You Wish For, who is Taken for Granite, Mr. Saur from Say Cheese and Die — Again! who loses all his hair thanks to the camera while everyone laughs at him, the older brother from The Barking Ghost who is the only one who gets turned into a chipmunk.
  • Adaptation Distillation: Even though most of the original books were fairly short, a number of them had pretty complex plots. So much so that even the ones that required two-parter adaptations mostly retain the basic outlines of the books. Calling All Creeps, for instance, streamlines the story by removing a set of flashbacks.
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  • Adaptation Expansion: This happens sometimes, mostly due to the source story being too thin. The Haunted Mask II, for instance, adds a subplot about the original Haunted Mask returning to try and claim Carly-Beth as a host again.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Quite a few of them, just like the books, with the most notable examples including the sister in Click and Tara in The Cuckoo Clock of Doom.
  • Asshole Victim: Several. Major McCall from Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes, Ritter from Deep Trouble, Judith in Be Careful What You Wish For, Mr. Wright from A Shocker on Shock Street and Adam from The Blob That Ate Everyone.
  • Canada Does Not Exist: Toronto, Canada was one of the series' primary filming locations, but most episodes were set in a vaguely American town.
  • Compressed Adaptation: The Adaptation Distillation of the books sometimes would amount to this if necessary, especially if said episode was only a one-parter. Night of the Living Dummy II, for example, omits the majority of Slappy's pranks, compressing them to a single act.
  • Content Warnings: The Fox Kids run coincided with the rise of the American TV rating system, so many episodes started with a warning that "Goosebumps is rated TV-Y7, because it may be too spooky for kids under seven." Originally, it had their own rating called "GB-7," but when the FCC and the television industry created the content ratings that were imposed on all TV shows (except for news shows and sports), they had to conform to that. During the broadcasts on the Hub, the warning returned, stating, "The following program is rated TV-Y7-FV. Some scenes may be too spooky for children under 7. We recommend watching together as a family."
  • Genre Anthology: With the exception of some sequel episodes, each one is based off of one of the Goosebumps books and are thus their own contained stories.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The TV series implies that it's actually R.L. Stine himself who's behind everything in all the stories (in a meta sense he is) and the ultimate evil of the series, even though he doesn't appear in any of them. In the intro, a man in black walks up to a town, and his briefcase (clearly marked with his name) flies open. The papers fly out and morph into the Goosebumps logo, which proceeds to spread misery around the town until it reaches a creepy mansion, which then shows clips of some of the stories. In the intro of the last season, he has the ability to turn into a swarm of bats.
  • Here We Go Again!: Several of the endings, in correlation with the books. In fact, the adaptation of My Hairiest Adventure ends with this trope being quoted word-for-word.
  • Named by the Adaptation: The episodes will sometimes give the characters last names that the book did not mention, such has Mark Rowe in How I Got My Shrunken Head. They will also give the parents first names, such as Mark's mother Alice.
  • Synchro-Vox: A frequent special effect, used in The Haunted Mask, Strained Peas and My Best Friend is Invisible.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: In the show's intro, when the G of the Goosebumps logo passes over a dog (the dog form of Larry at the end of My Hairiest Adventure), and the dog's eyes turn gold.

"More Monster Blood" provides examples of:

"Chillogy" provides examples of:

  • And I Must Scream: Karl tries to turn one of the kids he torments into a sentient plastic figure.
  • Baleful Polymorph: In the first part,Karl convinces Jessica to sell lemonade for exorbitant prices by artificially driving up demand. Then he exposes her and turns her into a Pig Man for being a "greedy little pig".
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The townspeople decide to cut Jessica up and eat her after she's turned into a human-pig hybrid, simply because she scammed them out of money.
  • Egopolis: Karl Knave makes his residence in a miniature town he rules called Karlsville.
  • For the Evulz: Karl, the ruler of a miniature toy town aptly called Karlsville. He's never given a back story but when asked why he's bothering to turn one of the main characters into a plastic slave, Karl simply states "Everyone needs a hobby." His hobby is to turn kids into his slaves.
  • Karma Houdini: Karl. At the end the heroes believe that one of the miniature figures they're burning in the fireplace has to be Karl, but it turns out he escaped the destruction of Karlsville unharmed. The episode ends with him laughing evilly at his apparent luck. note 
  • Karmic Transformation: Jessica uses her lemonade stand in Karlsville to try to scam the townsfolk by holding back her supply to drive up the demand. When this is revealed and she's called a "greedy little pig", she turns into a Pig Girl.
  • Population: X, and Counting: The miniature town of Karlsville, which draws people into it through various means. Whenever this happens, the population sign automatically changes. When the two protagonists from the first two episodes must re-enter Karlsville in order to save the younger brother of the male protagonist, they manually change the sign in order to transport themselves there.
  • Recursive Canon: A few of the books can be seen on the bookshelf in the background of part two.
  • Ultimate Authority Mayor: Justified, as Karl is the mayor of a miniature town that sucks kids into it so he can torment and kill them. Since Karlsville itself is a supernatural environment controlled by Karl, he's a full-blown Reality Warper while inside of it.

Other episodes provide examples of:

  • Cassandra Truth: In the Night of the Living Dummy series, every kid tries to tell their parents that their ventriloquist dummy happens to be alive, but no one believes them.
  • Informed Ability: Slappy claims that reading the incantation not only brings him to life, but makes the one reading it his "slave". We're never given any indication that this is the case. His second and third appearances at least give him the power to sort of back this up (he can turn people into dummies and possess people), but in both cases, these powers are shown being used against people who didn't summon him.
  • They Killed Kenny Again: No matter how many times Slappy gets destroyed, he's somehow able to be repaired by the next episode.


Video Example(s):


Goosebumps [Gwendolyn's Reveal]

Scene from the Goosebumps tv series, thirty sixth episode - Vampire's Breath. Freddy and Cara wind up chased into an underground lair where Nightwing's vampire minion rest. They run into a girl, Gwendolyn, who claims she's a human slave of the vampires and offer help. When Nightwing capture Cara and holds her hostage for his vial of Vampire's Breath. Gwendolyn calls for Freddy to throw him the vial which he does... only for her to reveal her true nature.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / FaceRevealingTurn

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