10:20 AM

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Night Stalker

Mister Nizz

Anyone out there catching this on Thursdays on ABC?

I just recently skeeved a DVD a buddy of mine recorded with all of the shows that have played so far, and caught the premiere last night.

Now, I'm an unabashed fanboy of the ORIGINAL, BEST Carl Kolchak from the swinging Seventies. There's a certain 'something' that Darren McGaven brought to the role, seedy pork pie hat, striped suit, broken down Mustang and all. McGaven's portrayal was (and is) a hard act to follow.. The original show is in limited rotation on SCIFI and worth catching if you have TIVO (it usually plays during the day).

Still, the new show is not half bad. I found myself liking it far more than I anticipated.

The titular Carl is played by Stuart "Why did I agree to do a turd like League of Extraordinary Gentleman and NOT play Aragorn" Townsend, with a nicely done flat midWestern accent.

He is backed up by an African American actress (and hottie) of limited range on the show so far, except as to play the "voice of reason" or foil for Kolchak's wild imagination-- Gabrielle Union (last seen in the black version of the Honeymooners). Eric Jungmann plays a larger-than-bit part as the photographer and required computer whizkid.

Unlike the 70s version, there is very little parody in this Night Stalker. They are not playing for laughs... there is more X-Files than Night Stalker in this Night Stalker. Even so, it's a well made little drama, with a decent cast. I would call it a reinterpertation of the earlier show, if anything. There are nice "homage bits" throughout, with digitized versions of the ORIGINAL Kolchak (Darren McGavin) walking around in the background in one newsroom scene, and the fact that THIS Kolchak also drives a Mustang. It's gratifying to see the creators did their homework.

So it's intelligent, reasonably well-written and well-acted for what it is? What will the future hold? In a word, DOOM. It's good enough to not last for another year.