TV Review: Night Stalker Premiere

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Night Stalker premiered tonight on ABC in the 9/8c time slot. The show is a remake of a 70's cult classic of the same name. This show follows crime reporter Carl Kolchak as he investigates the cases of unknown and weird crimes - mostly of a supernatural or unexplained nature. He does this on this show as a crime reporter for The Beacon, a Los Angeles newspaper. He works with senior crime reporter and skeptic Perri Reed.

This week we see Kolchak jump right into a case of a woman's murder. The suspect is her husband, but Carl jumps into this case so fully, Perri decides to look into The Beacon's new reporter's past. She finds out his own wife died a year and a half before, and he was also suspected of his wife's murder. That was back in Vegas. Kolchak's wife's murder has a striking resemblance to the current murder case here in Los Angeles.

After the woman's body is found and identified by her brother and sister-in-law, something strange happens. That night something breaks into the room the family is staying in, attacking the mother and kidnapping the little girl. The police think the little girl is dead, but Kolchak knows she is still alive. At this point, it becomes clear that some type of animal is behind the murder and disappearance. The newspaper's photographer took some pictures, and it appears paw prints are at the scene.

When there is another animal sighting, the three go to investigate and Perri is attacked by the creature. Kolchak saves her by hitting it with his car, and the animal looks like some evil dog out of hell. However, they don't get to prove that because the animal is labeled as a coyote and cremated before they can get their own look at it.

Kolchak somehow uses a chemical he sprayed at the site of the sighting to track the animal to where he thinks he took the little girl, a cave out in the desert. The cave happens to be near where the previous victim's body, the little girl's aunt, was found. They do find the little girl, and after a few scary moments, Kolchak rescues young Julie.

However, when he writes his story up, he leaves out the occurrence with the animal and this raises concern with Perri, but she keeps quiet. Kolchak had told Reed a story about how all these people with this similar mark are being killed - each in some strange supernatural manner. Kolchak investigates each crime that occurs where the symbol is involved. Kolchak also mentions that women that are pregnant are particularly affected by this phenomenon. He also has the same marking on his arm as we see at the end of tonight's episode while we hear a voice over speech by Kolchak.

I never watched the original of this show when it aired in the 1970s. It aired before I was even born, but I have to say I loved this show. It has two wonderful well known actors cast. Stuart Townsend plays Kolchak, and Perri Reed is played by Gabrielle Union. Both actors with film acting credits behind them. The way the show is filmed even feels a bit movie like, and I think the casting done here is excellent.

The show also has a minor X-files feel to it. We have the believer in Kolchak and the skeptic in Reed. Very Mulder and Scully, but this isn't a rip off of the X-files. This is very much its own show. The only similarity here is the relationship to the supernatural these murders have. This show has definitely won me over to at least keep up with it next week. Let's see if it keeps me as a viewer in the episodes to come.


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