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Inside the Lightbox: Counting Your Lucky Stars

Inside the Lightbox is a sponsored feature where we mine the extensive Lightbox catalogue for cool shows you might like to watch. This Friday the 13th, Alex Casey lines up some television brought to you exclusively by Lady Luck (or not, in some cases). //

The 4400
If there is anything unluckier than being sucked up into the clouds by light beams and kept in captivity for 50 years, then give me a bell. This science fiction series looks to shed light on Earth’s ongoing missing person problem – finding a solution in the stars and beyond. Spanning as far back as 1946, civilians who have seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth get rudely dropped back to reality somewhere near Washington. They have not aged a day, nor do they remember anything since their time of disappearance. Imagine being a guy from 1946 and having to deal with an iPhone! Talk about unlucky.

As the 4400 people settle back into Earth, it becomes clear that they aren’t just your ordinary space and time travellers. The people on the NTAC (National Threat Assessment Command) are in charge of investigating their cases, discover that many of them possess telekinetic and telepathic powers. I won’t reveal the big twist at the end, but let’s just say you’ll be lucky if you pick it.

I Survived

This documentary series tells the stories of survivors who have found themselves in what can only be described as the largest of pickles. I’m talking bigger than a human-size pickle costume, and even bigger than this really big pickle statue. Using dramatic re-enactments and first-hand accounts, prepare to relive some of the most harrowing near-death encounters, and hear from the lucky folk that got a one way ticket out of Pickleville. That sounds jokey and salty and delicious, but some of the stories of survival are enough to make you never want to leave the house. And on Friday the 13th – why should you?

From strandings to kidnappings, toxic gas leaks to ferry sinkings – learn from those who have been there about how to outwit, outplay and outlast terrible situations. Be sure to check out the fourth episode of season one for the incredible story of a wrestler, a frozen lake and a broken snowmobile. It’s a show that is sure to equip you for any and all bad luck that comes your way.

Why Planes Crash
I have crunched the numbers here, and am happy to report that if you are flying today, there is a below average risk of crashing. Since 1945, there have been 2288 fatal airlines accident, only 8 of which fell on a Friday 13th. I’m no mathematician, but I think that gives you a 8/2288 chance of dying in the air. Please note that is not correct. Please also note that if you are in chopper, you mightn’t be so lucky:

For you superstitious folk out there with a fear of flying, why not further enhance the terror with the National Geographic series Why Planes Crash. Hear from passengers and pilots alike as they tell their harrowing tales of survival, wherein moments of “malice, human error or technical faults turn routine flights into nightmares.” We’ve got combusting planes, planes landing in water and planes losing cargo doors. Enjoy it all from the safety of your couch, where nothing bad can ever happen to anyone.

Masters of Horror
We can’t talk about Friday the 13th without mentioning the iconic franchise Friday the 13th. “But that’s a film,” I hear you cry – don’t worry, I’ll get to the television link shortly. Featuring the hockey mask-wearing killer Jason Voorhees, who stalks unfortunate camp-dwelling teens, the 1980s franchise is one of the most successful of all time. But not necessarily the most loved. One of the main criticisms of the films is that they simply rode on the coattails of John Carpenter, the man behind 1978’s Halloween who essentially single-handedly started the slasher genre. Which brings us to our last (very tenuous) Friday 13th link in Masters of Horror.

The anthology series was devised during a potluck dinner at horror director Mick Garris’ house. In attendance was John Carpenter (Halloween), Tobe Hooper (Texas Chainsaw Massacre), John Landis (The Twilight Zone) and many other incredibly twisted minds. Three years later, each had written and directed their own unique one hour special to go into this horrific series. It’s a heck of a trip through the minds of terror’s finest, and you’ll be lucky if you make it through without screaming at least once.

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