Tag Archive for Night Stalker

Night Stalker

Last TV season, I got hooked on Night Stalker, an update to the old Kolchak series. The new show had Stewart Townsend as the lead in the place of Darren McGavin, and went for a younger and hipper style. But despite that skew, it was still a dark, violent and brooding collection of stories about a reporter trying to understand why his wife was killed.

I was really pissed when they cancelled the show, because I felt it was just getting started… that and the fact that the last episode they aired was part one of a two part story. Man, I hate that.

Luckily, they put out the six episodes they aired plus four episodes they didn’t out on DVD.

Over the last couple days, I’ve watched all ten episodes and the commentaries, and I plan to read all the unfilmed scripts they included on the DVD-ROM section. All that brings me to one conclusion… damn, I wish they hadn’t cancelled this show. But then, hey, I’m used to stuff I love getting canned. So, if you like horror/thriller/mystery type stuff, pick this up when you can, it was worth the watching.

Instant Gratification

When it comes to movies, its been years since the world has gone to a model of instant gratification. I want to say it was Batman that sealed the deal, but I don’t know for sure. I do know that that is when I noticed the change. Before then, having a solid opening weekend and good review was what companies wanted… followed by their movie staying at the box office for a few months, maybe more. Somewhere in the late 80’s that changed and studios began pushing for a mega-opening followed by… well… nothing. Advertising for films push the opening weekend so hard, and any movie that doesn’t crack twenty million at least is considered a failure. And if you notice, up until that opening weekend you’ll see commercials, and hear radio spots, but after that first weekend, any movie that didn’t finish in the top 5, doesn’t have critical acclaim or an Oscar bid will vanish. No more ads. It lost. The only exception to that rule is a movie that came out before a holiday but might experience a surge due to a holiday, like any romantic comedy or date film type movie that came out in January always gets a second push for Valentine’s Day… if its still in the theaters.

Television in the last few seasons has finally caught up to movies. This season saw Emily’s Reasons Why Not get a huge advertising push prior to its debut, then when it didn’t snag a monster share of viewers, not only was the advertising dropped, it was cancelled. After one single airing of the pilot episode, the network scrapped the show. Now, I’m not saying that Emily was a great show. It was kinda funny, and Heather Graham is nice to look at… but one episode? First off, it was airing in a slot that had previously belonged to Monday Night Football, so people who watch fluffy romance comedy shows weren’t likely to be on that channel at that time. And to be honest, as much as ABC claimed they promoted the show, if I didn’t normally watch shows on ABC I’d have never known it was on as most of their ad push seemed to be commercials on their own network during shows that, while popular, were not anywhere near the same demographic… I kept seeing the commercials during Lost and Invasion. Sci-Fi fans aren’t likely to watch romantic comedy shows.

Outside of Emily, CBS has pulled Love Monkey after, what, three episodes? It was a quirky show about the music industry using unknown acts and delivering rapid fire dialog. Obviously they pulled it because some page of numbers somewhere indicated that this show should have dominate the dial pulling in 30 million viewers… and obviously there are some TV execs with their heads firmly planted in their asses if they thought this show was going to be anything other than a niche show until at least a dozen episodes had aired and allowed word of mouth to spread. ‘Night Stalker’ also got cancelled a while back because it was only pulling in ‘X-Files’ ratings (a show that started slow, but ran 9 seasons, had a movie, and continues to sell seasons on DVD for $70 despite that the usual season price these days sits around $40-$50) and not ludacrisly lofty ‘American Idol’ numbers. And there are lots more examples…

It seems like Television, as with their Film counterparts, have lost faith in anything but the Out-of-the-Gate success. And its a shame, because lots of these shows that are falling by the wayside are good shows, and half of the ‘monster hits’ of the past wouldn’t survive under today’s rules. But then again, I think I have loved every show that has ever been pre-maturely cancelled, so my view may be biased.

Thinning the Herd

A couple weeks back ‘Night Stalker’, one of the TV shows I was watching this fall season, got cancelled. I really liked the show, but I could also tell why it wasn’t doing so well… it was a dark, slow show that was more mystery than action. What made it worse, however, was that the last episode they aired was the first part of a two part story. Son of a …

Today, word came down that ‘Threshold’ has been cancelled. If you look back a couple of posts here you’ll understand why I’m not surprised. I mean, the show had potential and I really wanted it to be great, but it was just so boring. As usual, the most recent episode was pretty good, and it ended with a good opening for stuff to finally happen, but it won’t… you can’t build a show anymore, you either are a winner out of the gate or they cancel you before you finish the first turn.

Fox has also cancelled ‘Reunion’ which was an odd little show… a murder mystery told over the span of 20 years, each episode being the events of one year that promised to eventually lead you to the 20 year high school reunion of six friends where one of them gets killed. It took them five episodes just to reveal to the viewers which of the six was the dead one, and that was my only complaint on the show… I think the story would have told better if we knew who the dead one was from the start because only now does the show become really interesting as lives unfold to show motive as to why one or more of the remaining five would want to bump one of their friends off. Only, we may never know. Fox hasn’t announced if the show is being pulled, only that it is cancelled. They might finish out the season, or they might do a couple episodes to quickly tie it up… or they might shut down production and never reveal the murder plot, which would completely suck.

Television Network executives probably wonder why sales of TV shows on DVD are so high, even for shows that didn’t do so well when they aired, but this is the reason… its almost not worth it to watch broadcast TV anymore, because no matter how good you think a show is, a focus group or the Nielson ratings might think its crap and it gets cancelled. So why bother? Why not just wait for it to come out of DVD in a complete set and then? At least you know what you are getting into.

Well, I guess on the bright side, I’ve got three more hours a week to do something else…