Friday, September 30, 2005

TV: Night Stalker

Genre: Creepy
Logistics: ABC, 8 p.m. CDT Thursday
Premiere verdict: &&1/2

If nothing else, the new TV season has confounded my expectations, with shows I anticipated becoming fast favorites, such as Night Stalker and Invasion, falling a little flat. Night Stalker, my most anticipated show this season – in years, actually – failed to live up to the promise of its legacy in Thursday's premiere. The source material – a 1972 TV movie, The Night Stalker, and a 1974 series, Kolchak: The Night Stalker – inspired my all-time favorite series, The X-Files. I really wanted to enjoy the premiere, in which newspaper reporter Carl Kolchak (Stuart Townsend) begins a new job at an L.A. newspaper as he tracks mysterious killings in which something wolf-like is preying upon women. The same creature apparently killed his wife, sending him on a journey into the unexplained. Kolchak initially butts heads with senior crime reporter Perri Reed (Gabrielle Union), but they will become – dare I say it – a new Mulder and Scully of sorts as Kolchak investigates dark mysteries each week. In the premiere, though, the action sequences delivered predictable jolts; the creature aspect of the show just wasn't very compelling; and the scenes in the cave verged on lame. The elements of a good show are there, however. With former X-files executive producer Frank Spotnitz among the key players at the helm here, those elements may eventually gel. But, saddled with a timeslot opposite CSI, will it have time? For now, a bigger mystery than what really happened to Kolchak's wife is how many weeks this show will escape cancellation.

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