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PHOTOGRAPHY

NIGHT STALKER- The Complete Series

DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 426 minutes (10 episodes on 2 discs), two audio commentaries, three deleted scenes, two unproduced scripts (DVD-ROM content), Frank Spotniz interview

STUDIO: Touchstone/ BVHE/ Big Light

RELEASE DATE: 5-30-2006

DISC 1- PILOT/ THE FIVE PEOPLE YOU MEET IN HELL/ THREE/ BURNING MAN/ MALLUM

DISC 2- THE SOURCE (part 1)/ THE SEA (part 2)/ INTO NIGHT/ TIMELESS/ WHAT'S THE FREQUENCY, KOLCHAK?

NIGHT STALKER is a clever reimagining of the two 1970s TV movies (THE NIGHT STALKER and THE NIGHT STRANGLER), and not the 1970s TV series (KOLCHAK THE NIGHT STALKER) since Universal owns the rights to anything in that series. Frank Spotnitz (of THE X-FILES and MILLENNIUM) takes the series and spins it with the elements many X-FILES and MILLENNIUM fans will know. If the series was on another night than Thursday on ABC or another network (like FOX), NIGHT STALKER might have survived longer than six aired episodes and 4 unaired (including one that was originally supposed to air after the pilot- INTO NIGHT). Stuart Townsend is great as man who explores the strange in hopes of finding the thing that killed his wife which his former friend, FBI Agent Fain, believes Kolchak murdered. I like how actors Stuart Townsend (Kolchak), Gabrielle Union (Perri Reed), and Cotter Smith (editor Tony Vincenzo) play off each other and act like co-workers and friends. Kolchak isa crime reporter who works for the Los Angeles Beacon and he works with fellow crime reporter Perri Reed  (also joined by a newspaper photographer) in the pursuit of crime stories which became more bizarre when Kolchak enters the picture.  he is trying to find answers about the thing that killed his wife, Irene.  Kolchak is someone that his old friends and new friends don't quite know since the death of Irene.

The second half of the short-lived series is much better than the first as the mythology and characters start to develop. Some guest stars like Mira Furlan (LOST, BABYLON 5) will be recognized by long time genre fans. I'm glad that Frank Spotnitz tried to make NIGHT STALKER different and give a new spin to it with this new series. Maybe if it does well on the SCI-FI Channel and/or through DVD sales, the show will get a second life through direct to DVD or TV movies.

BEST EPISODES: THE SOURCE, THE SEA, and WHAT'S THE FREQUENCY, KOLCHAK?

VIDEO: 1.78:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)

The transfers beautifully capture the look captured by the HD Cameras used to film this series (the same approach was used to film ROBBERY HOMICIDE DIVISION aka RHD which Frank Spotnitz was an executive producer on for the first few episodes).

AUDIO: English 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English

Dialogue and all sound elements come through clear as a bell.

SPECIAL FEATURES: The DVD has a few good extras. Frank Spotnitz and others from the production staff have recorded two audio commentaries for the series. In PILOT, it is revealed how much was changed from the unaired version (which I will have to watch sometimes since I had a copy for a few months) and the final version in addition to the ending was set up as a teaser to INTO NIGHT before ABC changed the air order. Frank reveals where the mythology would have went and what the mark on Kolchak's wrist means in the commentary for THE SEA.

Three deleted scenes in Anamorphic Widescreen are included on disc two and I wonder if they could have included more extended or deleted scenes. A CONVERSATION WITH FRANK SPOTNITZ is an almost 7 minute interview with Frank as he talks about how the show started, casting, where they filmed (the office building used for the Los Angeles Beacon is the same one from RHD), and a little about the commentaries in addition a slightly funny outtake from THREE at the every end.

If you have DVD-ROM or DVD rewritable drive in your computer and install the InterActual software on disc two, you can download the PDFs of two unproduced scripts: ASCENDANT (written by Melissa Blake and Joy Beth Blake) and THE M WORD (by Darin Morgan). Just remember to have the latest version of Acrobat Reader on your computer (version 7.0).

FINAL ANALYSIS: Even though NIGHT STALKER might have a second chance if the ten episodes do well when they air on the SCI-FI CHANNEL, NIGHT STALKER is a classic series cut down before it could have been the next cult hit.

this review is (c)5-28-2006 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission (except for excerpts and a link to the review). Look for additional content at http://enterlinemedia.livejournal.com and send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com