Friday, October 07, 2005

The (cough) Night Stalker...

Joe Bannerman sent me this review link:

I haven't seen the new show yet, and I doubt I'll bother. After all, there are a slew of actually good genre shows on this year.

Here's what I don't understand, though. The reason you use an established title is to associate a new work with something that's been done before. In this case, a TV show that lasted 20 episodes thirty years ago. In other words, the title will mean pretty much nothing to the vast majority of under-35 viewers. To people of the correct age, for most it will mean little or nothing--after all, if a huge audience had watched the original show, then it would have lasted longer than one year. (Along with the two previous TV movies.)

In the end, you end up with the farily small subset of people who were fans of the show in its original run, and a much smaller group who became fans of it in reruns. And these...are the ones most likely to be completely pissed off at the liberties taken with the original series.

If you're smart, you'll take a bad/mediocre show and actually improve upon it. Battlestar Galatica certainly falls into this catagory. Even a good/great show can be improved, as arguably Star Trek was by Star Trek: The Next Generation.

What seems unwise is to take a show that attracted a certain fanbase, and then remove/tamper with everything that was beloved about it.

What really annoys is this: They could have fixed many of problems by merely making the show about Kolchak's son. Then he's a fresh character entirely, and the comparisons don't even really come into play. (And yes, Kolchak didn't have a son back in the day, but he was a player, and one could easily have popped up.)

Expect this to be off the air well before it hits 20 episodes, and expect far fewer people to remember it, much less with fondness, 30 years hence.


At 2:19 PM, Blogger BeckoningChasm said...

It seems that a lot of these properties just want a known name, but not a name known by everyone...something with a built-in cult in other words. Because a "cult" implies some shared superiority to the masses that rejected the original. And that means good reviews from critics who don't want to seem out of it.

But after selecting the name, everyone and his brother has to bring his "vision" to the concept, and the original name becomes meaningless. And the original cult becomes ticked off. And the good reviews don't materialize. And everyone in Hollywood says, "Well, Night Stalker must have been a bad idea. Let's not do that again."

Why? Who the hell knows? The people who make our entertainments have no notion at all what to do with an idea. Except kill it until it's murdered to death.

At 2:28 PM, Blogger Ken Begg said...

Well, sometimes they do seem to know what they are doing, as with the recent Galatica redo. But more often than not...yeah. The producer had an article in Entertainment Weekly lately (which I didn't read), and despite some other dumb ideas, seemed originally to want to make the Karl Kolchak of this show more like the first Karl--i.e., a middle-aged guy who'd been around the block. Someone like Ted Dansen, who I can think of better people than, but he'd have been closer at least to a proper Kolchak. I assume it was the Network's idea to make him a 'hot' young stud.

There are other problem than that, but that's probably the biggest. And again, if they wanted a young Kolchak, why not just make him the kid of the first one? This isn't brain surgery.

At 2:35 PM, Blogger Marty McKee said...

I would have tried to cast Ed O'Neill as the new Kolchak. He's the right age, can play comedy and drama, has the right hangdog look and attitude, and, after playing Joe Friday in Dick Wolf's good L.A. DRAGNET, knows what it's like to step into a beloved TV part.

If you've seen DEAD-BANG, you know Don Johnson could have been a decent Kolchak.

Bruce Campbell would have been perfect.

At 3:17 PM, Blogger Ken Begg said...

William Macy...Robert Forster (having recently existed Karen Sisco)...there were many potential good Kolchaks. A decade ago the late Richard Crenna would have been great.

However, Paul Sorvino is so perfect for Vincenzo that I can't think of another person as good.

At 9:55 PM, Blogger Marty McKee said...

I'm surprised I didn't think of Forster (I'm a big fan) or Crenna, for that matter, since I think Crenna is one of TV's great unsung performers. I also like the idea of Lance Henriksen as Kolchak, but I like the idea of Henriksen in anything.

A more likely and more bankable name is Gary Cole, who could probably do Kolchak well.

At 11:43 AM, Blogger Brad said...

I wouldn't rule out Mark Hamill as a good Kolchak. Whenever I've seen him in recent shows, I always think, this guy would do good in a trenchcoat in an old film-noir detective story; he somehow manages to look boyish and world-weary at the same time.

At 12:34 PM, Blogger Christopher said...

I wasn't crazy about the premiere of the new Night Stalker but I didn't think it was terrible. I'll give it another couple of weeks.

At 10:52 AM, Anonymous John Bohlke said...

Am I the only one that is getting more than the smell of X-Files? The last episode was almost the same as "Pusher". Except "Pusher" was a more entertaining episode.

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