"The Night Stalker"

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Thomas Veil, Sep 28, 2005.

  1. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

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    #1
    I don't know about you, but for me, this is the show to see this fall.

    Lost is fine, and Invasion looks interesting, but for sheer built-in curiosity value, you can't beat Carl Kolchak investigating those dark things that go "Arrrrrggh!" in the night.

    If you've never seen the original movie, well...consider yourself a deprived child. It was great. The sequel was nearly as good. The TV series suffered a bit, yet it had its own charms...one of which was that it inspired Chris Carter to create The X Files.

    And now the wheel's come 'round again.

    I just hope they do it justice. I must say I'm really confused as to what to expect. On the one hand, the producer is ex-Files producer Frank Spotnitz. On the other:

    Carl Kolchak is indelibly etched in my mind as a single, rather plain, middle-aged loner. Here, he's a good-looking widower with an attractive partner.

    His origin has been changed from someone who was involved in an infamous vampire case to someone whose wife was murdered by some unidentified ghoulie.

    Instead of just being a social outcast, he's now hounded by the police who suspect him of his wife's murder.​
    Now, I understand that everything goes through the "reinvention" process...but some of these things give me pause. Kolchak's fans know him very well, and making over Kolchak in this way is not unlike reinventing Charlie Brown as a teenager with a girlfriend.

    I badly want this show to work, because I love the original idea of Kolchak. I just hope they don't stray so far from it that you don't recognize him at all.

    We'll find out tomorrow night, won't we?
     
  2. Thomas Veil thread starter macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

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    #2
    Don't tell me I'm the only one who saw the show... :confused:

    Ah well. I'll forge ahead anyway.

    I'm afraid the show is suffering from an underlying feeling, a style, that's very different from the original books, movies and series.

    Whereas the "old" Kolchak used to narrate events in a snappy, factual way, producer Frank Spotnitz has fallen back into his X Files habit of just using opening and closing narration which, even then, is more on the philosophical than factual side. It's a change that removes a considerable amount of the pacing and realism from the show. And if you're looking for the old Kolchak who had a smart mouth and was ever quick with a quip...forget it. He's not here. This Kolchak is more moody than mouthy.

    Even the music is languid. In the original movies, the score was jazzy yet kind of morbid, a style that fit the stories to a T. Here, you'll find music more like what you'd hear on...well, The X Files.

    Then there's the Vincenzo thing. "Old" Kolchak had to battle not only the authorities but his boss. This one is clearly Kolchak's pal, which removes half the conflict from the show. Believe it or not, there are none of those wonderful Kolchak-Vincenzo screaming matches here. Instead, we're offered an FBI agent who wants to pin the death of Kolchak's wife on Kolchak himself. Shades of The Fugitive. (Ironically, the agent's name is Fain. Bernie Fain was an FBI agent buddy of Kolchak's in the original novel.)

    The true test of whether this is a worthy Night Stalker or not is...if you removed the title from the show, and changed the names of the characters to Smith and Jones...would anybody recognize it? Chances are, beyond the fact that the stories are supernatural and the hero works at a newspaper, no. Kolchak no longer resembles Kolchak, either figuratively or literally.

    The one bright spot in the show was a digitally-inserted "in-joke" in which Darren McGavin, replete with seersucker suit and straw hat, was inserted into the foreground of a shot of the newsroom. Unfortunately, it served only to remind the viewer of the big difference between the original Kolchak and Spotnitz's Kolchak.

    And finally -- without giving away spoilers -- there's the puzzling shot of Kolchak's hand at the end of the episode. That was just weird.

    The fault does not all lie with Frank Spotnitz. In a TV Guide interview, he stated that the "mission" aspect of the show -- finding the killer of Kolchak's wife -- was inserted at the insistence of the suits at ABC, who felt Kolchak needed a stronger motivation for going after ghoulies and ghosties. Nevertheless, this Night Stalker does not have the jazzy music, the narration, the pacing or the comic patter -- in other words, the feel -- of the original. It looks more like The X Files than The Night Stalker.

    Up against The Apprentice and CSI, the show can't afford to have problems of its own. It's got a tough enough road to hoe.
     
  3. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    #3
    I watched a few minutes of it, but I didn't like what I saw. Just as bad as the promos. They've completely changed the character. I don't know as much about the original as some people, but I've got to wonder why they even bothered calling it Kolchak. Surprised they didn't call it Son of Kolchak or something. Too bad, I had high hopes for it too. Some of the reviews I've read haven't been very kind either.

    Maybe they'll keep it around long enough to get better.
     
  4. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    #4
    The original t.v. series didn't even come close to interesting, for me. I tried to like it but nothing about it was remotely endearing, save the end and the advertisements.

    Hopefully, the new stuff will be much better.
     
  5. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    #5
    It's not IMO.
     
  6. Jon'sLightBulbs macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    The X-Files was a terrible show. Therefore I summarily declare that this will also be a terrible show.

    HTH
     
  7. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    #7
    May it die quickly, then.
     
  8. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    #8
    I liked X-Files. Sometimes. Early episodes were good.
     
  9. 2jaded2care macrumors 6502

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    Jun 13, 2003
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    Atlanta
    #10
    I liked the original series at the time -- 'course, people were easier to scare back then.

    I didn't like this pilot at all. Didn't have enough of the flavor of the original series. It was too much like a later X-Files episode. It should have stuck with recognizable baddies you could guess, instead of trying to create its own mythology right off the bat.

    Plus, what's with Kolchak's house and bad-Scully's apartment? How much do these reporters make? And was that a new Mustang Kolchak drives? And who sits at a computer in their underwear in the middle of the night in a high-rise apartment in front of plate-glass without any blinds or curtains? (I wasn't the only one to notice this, I'm told.)

    I'll give it one more chance, but that's it. Life is too short.
     

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