Archive for Thursday, September 29, 2005

Night Stalker’ retread lacks bite

September 29, 2005


Tonight, ABC dusts off a cult thriller from the Pet Rock era. Based on a successful TV movie starring Darren McGavin, the weekly drama "Kolchak: The Night Stalker" ran from 1974 to 1975. A reporter for a Chicago daily paper, Kolchak's beat took him on frequent trips into paranormal territory, where he encountered zombies, werewolves and even a crooked politician who literally sold his soul to the devil. Hey, this was the time of Watergate.

The new "Night Stalker" (8 p.m., ABC) is set in Los Angeles, where mysterious new reporter Carl Kolchak (Stuart Townsend) arrives to investigate the disappearance and murder of a pregnant woman who appears to have been dragged by someone or some thing to a remote desert location.

The original "Night Stalker" featured some wisecracking and offbeat humor that would inspire the writers and creators of "The X-Files," but the new incarnation takes itself terribly seriously. In fact, Townsend's Kolchak seems hypnotized or clinically depressed. He and Reed share zero chemistry. The only mystery left for this "Night Stalker" is how long it can survive in a tough time slot: If viewers want dark, murky, bloody and morbid fare, they've already got "CSI."

Season premieres

¢ Sydney learns she is carrying Vaughn's baby on "Alias" (7 p.m., ABC).

¢ Clark visits the Fortress of Solitude on "Smallville" (7 p.m., WB).

¢ Grace mulls an affair with a married man (Eric Stoltz) on "Will & Grace" (7:30 p.m., NBC).

¢ Martin comes under fire on "Without a Trace" (9 p.m., CBS).

Tonight's other highlights

¢ Chris has a crush on his tutor on "Everybody Hates Chris" (7 p.m., UPN).

¢ A rocker dies after a night of excess on "CSI" (7 p.m., CBS).

¢ Donald Trump hosts "The Apprentice" (9 p.m., NBC).

Cult choice

¢ A wealthy woman hires a retired kung fu fighter (Chuck Norris) to protect her from nefarious ninjas in the 1980 martial-arts thriller "The Octagon" (9 p.m., AMC).


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