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Night Stalker



Premiere Date: Thursday, September 29, 2005 (Touchstone Television)
Network: ABC
Time: Thursdays at 9:00 p.m. ET / 8:00 p.m. CT
Cast: Starring Stuart Townsend, Gabrielle Union, Eric Jungmann, and Cotter Smith


Carl Kolchak is the 'Night Stalker,' a newspaper reporter who investigates strange deaths and unexplained phenomena. He asks the questions that no one else will about the cases the police can't -- or won't -- solve.

Based on the cult favorite '70s classic, 'Night Stalker' is an all-new mystery series starring Stuart Townsend, Gabrielle Union, Eric Jungmann, and Cotter Smith.

Eighteen months ago, a sudden attack on a deserted highway left Kolchak injured but alive. His wife wasn't so lucky. Since then, the reporter's determination to find out who - or what - killed her has led him to track other unexplained, violent deaths, all touched by the supernatural. But he's trying to piece together a puzzle that keeps changing shape. How are the crimes related? And why do some victims end up with a strange red mark on their wrists?

Kolchak is convinced that something terrible is happening, but the authorities don't seem to agree with him, especially the FBI - in their eyes, Kolchak is the number one suspect in his wife's death. A murder shockingly like his wife's leads Kolchak to Los Angeles, where he has signed on as a writer with the L.A. Beacon newspaper. His former boss, Tony Vincenzo, grateful that Kolchak once made Vincenzo's career with one of his scoops, has given him a second chance as a crime reporter.

Kolchak's colleague, senior crime reporter Perri Reed, is just as eager to get a good story, but she's skeptical of Kolchak's wild theories. Still, she's impressed by his uncanny ability to ferret out information that no one else dares to. Young and ambitious photographer Jain McManus is a little more eager to go along with Kolchak. Together Reed and McManus will aid him as he follows bizarre and inexplicable stories that you won't find printed in any newspaper.

Cast Details:

"Night Stalker" stars Stuart Townsend as Carl Kolchak, Gabrielle Union as Perri Reed, Eric Jungmann as Jain McManus, and Cotter Smith as Anthony Vincenzo.

Carl Kolchak started his career as a newspaper reporter in Las Vegas covering crime, politics, and corruption. Dublin born Stuart Townsend has a number of film credits including "Head in the Clouds," "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen," "Queen of the Damned," and "Wonderland." He recently finished work on "The Best Man," which also stars Seth Green and Amy Smart. It will be released in early 2006.

Although only in her early 30s, Perri Reed is already the senior crime reporter at the Los Angeles Beacon. Gabrielle Union is one of today's hottest stars. Her film credits include "The Honeymooners," "Bad Boys II," "Cradle 2 the Grave," "Deliver Us From Eva," and "Bring It On." She started her TV career on "Moesha."

Jain McManus is a photographer for the Los Angeles Beacon. Eric Jungmann came to Hollywood right after his 17th birthday, and has worked steadily ever since. His feature film credits include "Not Another Teen Movie," "Varsity Blues," and "The Faculty." His television appearances include "Touched By An Angel, "That's Life, "Boston Public," and "Judging Amy."

Tony Vincenzo is the city editor at the Los Angeles Beacon. Cotter Smith has been an actor for 30 years. He has done a lot of New York theatre work. His film credits include "X2," "Reeseville," and "Run the Wild Fields." He has appeared on more than 50 TV shows including "Equal Justice," "Law & Order," "Alias," and "Judging Amy."

Frank Spotnitz ("The X Files") is executive producer of the series. Dap Sackheim ("The X Files") is executive producer and director of the series, from Touchstone television.

Pilot Plot:

When a pregnant woman is snatched from her home, the shocked citizens of L.A. believe it's an act of domestic violence. But crime reporter Carl Kolchak suspects that the truth is far more complicated. That's because 18 months ago, Kolchak's wife was killed in a bizarre fashion and he has been the FBI's #1 suspect ever since. His investigations are frustrated when Perri Reed, the newspaper's senior crime reporter, digs into Kolchak's mysterious past.

Writer: Frank Spotnitz
Director: Daniel Sackheim
Guest Stars: Susan Misner (Irene), Madeline Carroll (Julie Madlock) , Sarah Lafleur (Trish Medlock) , Clay Wilcox (Ed Medlock) , Tim McNeal (Coroner) , J. Marvin Campbell (Deputy) , Ele Keats (Emily Gale) , David Denman (Henry Gale) , John Pyper-Ferguson (Agent Bernie Fain)


I've not seen many episodes of the 70's Night Stalker series, which starred Darren McGavin, so I really can't compare this new series to the original. It's supposed to be different and darker than the original series. The cast is strong - especially Stuart Townsend as Kolchak. The show starts a little slowly in the first 10-15 minutes as they give you the background of the story. The pace then picks up with a lot of exciting, tense scenes. There is a lot of creepiness to it and the music score is excellent. Look for Gumby hanging from Kolchak's car mirror. I think it will be a nice companion show to Alias.


This show has the potential to be a very good one. The show is dark, but sometimes it feels like the screen is a little too dark to see the action. The pilot started a little slowly, but I would expect future episodes to be faster paced at the beginner to hook in viewers. There was quite a bit of necessary background information given in the episode. I'd like to see a little more humor dropped in here and there. I would expect this show to help improve ABC's ratings on Thursdays. If you like mystery type shows, you should definitely check "Night Stalker" out. This series could become the next "X-Files."

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 4/5
Appealing: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 09/25/2005.

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