You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Secret World of Dreams

Host: Stefanie Powers.

Cast: Allen Ric Perada, Melodee M. Spevack, Katrinka Wolfson.

Host: Stefanie Powers.

No secrets are revealed in “The Secret World of Dreams,” an inherently engaging but overlong documentary that errs on the side of speculation. “Nocturnal visions” are a fascinating topic since most everyone has them. Yet if two hours on the subject are to fascinate, audiences must be fed more than oddities, coincidences and common sense.

Producers opt for a provocative pep rally using reenactments of unusual dreams and interviews with the dreamers. While there’s commentary from lots of Ph.D.s and M.D.s, very little factual information is imparted.

Much is made of the “real meaning” of six common dreams: Dreams of flying indicate a longed-for sense of freedom; being chased means you’re running away from something feared; being unprepared for a test is about fear of failure and judgment; a dream in which you’re paralyzed is about powerlessness; dreaming you’re naked in public reveals feelings of vulnerability and self-exposure; and finally, falling in a dream signals a fear of losing status or security.

These prosaic interpretations hardly live up to their hyperbolic billing. They’re actually used as teasers on either side of commercials.

First segment features someone who dreamt he had throat cancer before it was diagnosed. The nightmares of a Vietnam vet (who once held a knife to his wife’s throat while dreaming) lead to discussion of how the debilitating effects of dreams can be worked through.

A woman who had a heart and lung transplant dreamed about her anonymous donor (including his name) and started craving his favorite foods. Two unconvincing examples of dreams that predicted the future are offered, and we meet a man who served time for a murder he only dreamt about.

Some unscientific research on telepathic dreams is included, as are testimonials on the power of dreams to help people move beyond grief, and of erotic dreams to play a positive role in relationships.

Tour concludes with talk about how to utilize the power of dreams. Through lucid dreaming for instance, one woman claims to have lost weight by dreaming of eating. Jonathan Bach, author of “Jonathan Livingston Seagull,” exhorts us to pay attention to the “incredible power of dreams.”

Writer-producers Bruce Nash and Mike Fleiss must get royalties on each viewer who goes away determined to be mindful of his or her dreams. It’s like an ad campaign from the dairy board: “Drink milk”; No dream is meaningless and your life will be dramatically altered if you heed your dreams. ]

The large production team has put together a decent package. Perhaps because of their content, the dramatizations can look pretty ridiculous. Host Stefanie Powers, who earns her fee, looks out of focus in some long shots.

Despite vigorous efforts to make it tantalizing and entertaining, it’s hard to say whether viewers will stick with “The Secret World of Dreams” past the first hour. They may well start conducting their own research.

The Secret World of Dreams

(Fri. (12), 9-11 p.m., NBC)

Production: Filmed and videotaped in Los Angeles by Nash Productions Inc. and DBA Entertainment, Inc. Executive producers, Bruce Nash, Dave Bell; producer, Dave Harding; co-producer, Mike Fleiss; directors, Bell, Adam Friedman, Johanna Demetrakis, Leslie Hill, Jay Russell, Joe Ravetz, Bob Wise; writers, Nash, Fleiss.

Crew: Camera, Neal Brown, Felkis Parnell, Antonio Soriano, Stan Taylor, Michael Crain; editors, Diana Jenkins, Michael Lorenzo, Laronda Morris, Scott Schlichter; art directors, Fu Ding Cheng, Pamela Moffat, Judeth Lowey, Scott Carruth, Ron Franco; sound, Jamie Ledner, Fred Howard; music, Scooter Pietsch.

Cast: Cast: Allen Ric Perada, Melodee M. Spevack, Katrinka Wolfson.

More TV

  • Emmys statue

    TV Academy to Eliminate Emmy DVD Screeners in 2020

    The Television Academy will eliminate distribution of DVD screeners for eligible shows beginning with the 2020 Emmy cycle. Designed to eliminate both monetary and physical waste, the move will have a substantive impact on the strategy of Emmy marketers. It also makes the academy the first major entertainment-industry organization to bar physical screeners. “This is [...]

  • Super Bowl LII - Tom Brady,

    Verizon Plans Multiple Ad Plays Leading to Super Bowl Commercial

    If Verizon gets its way, its Super Bowl advertising plans will include a 60-second commercial during the game – and a half-hour documentary that gives viewers even more of what will be discussed in the ad. The telecommunications giant is often scrutinized for the communications resources it provides its customers, but its Super Bowl campaign [...]

  • Mj Rodriguez, Nico Santos to Announce

    Mj Rodriguez, Nico Santos to Announce GLAAD Media Award Nominations

    Mj Rodriguez and Nico Santos are set to announce the nominees for the 30th annual GLAAD Media Awards. The “Pose” star and “Crazy Rich Asians” funny man will make the announcement during a live-stream from the AT&T Hello Lounge at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday, Jan. 25. “The images and stories recognized by the [...]

  • Naomi Watts

    Naomi Watts to Star in Jason Blum-Produced Quibi Series 'Wolves and Villagers' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Naomi Watts has been cast in the lead role in the upcoming Quibi series “Wolves and Villagers,” Variety has learned exclusively. The exact plot of the short-form series is being kept under wraps, but Quibi co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg has previously described the show as “Fatal Attraction 2.0.” Jason Blum is executive producing the series, with [...]

  • HBO's 'Breslin And Hamill' Documentary Drops

    HBO's 'Breslin And Hamill' Documentary Drops Trailer

    “Revolutionary,” “superstars,” “the voice of true New Yorkers” — that’s how Spike Lee and other influential figures describe journalists Jimmy Breslin and Pete Hamill in the trailer released for HBO’s “Breslin and Hamill: Deadline Artists” documentary. The film, which premieres Jan. 28 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, follows the two newspaper columnists whose dedication and wit [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content