Fans of The X-Files, of Fringe owe some of our enjoyment to the trail of conspiracy crept in the 70’s by the Night Stalker. Rotten Tomatoes gives Kolchak: The Night Stalker a solid 86%, and 97% of the often overgenerous Google Users like it. It mixed horror, comedy, and drama and has been called, for good reason, one of the more significant TV series of the 1990s.
UPN’s Special Unit 2 did an entertaining job of paying homage to Kolchak back in 2001 and 2002. The horror to humor mix in Special Unit 2 was less horror, more humor. And we cheered for a gnome thief protagonist instead of a scruffy journalist. Carl stole that show, and he… no? You don’t agree? Fine. Where were we? Oh.
Others in the family tree include the late 1980’s series Friday the 13th, its 2009 reboot, and Syfy’s Warehouse 13. The Eleventh Hour added another branch to the tree in 2008, and 2005 phenom Supernatural continues the tradition and then some.
X-Files Season 10 Episode 3 is a straight-up tip of the hat to Kolchak, right down to the crumpled seersucker suit.
The original movies and series owe a great deal to the wonderful writing of screenwriter, author and poet Richard Matheson. If you aren’t familiar with his works, you should be. The Twilight Zone. Night Gallery. What Dreams May Come. Stir of Echoes. I am Legend.
Veteran actor Darren McGavin’s (1922-2006) superb performances draw the viewers out of their seats and into his noir world of horror and humor. He is Kolchak and through him, so are we.
So, Remake, Reboot, or Rest in Peace?
They’ve tried once already. Sort of. ABC attempted to remake the Night Stalker in 2005. But they only owned the rights to the TV movies, and not to the material in the TV series. It died after just six airings.
The Night Stalker family tree keeps growing. Supernatural may be the only show to outlast a zombie apocalypse. Come on, season 14!
McGavin brought Kolchak to life, and McGavin himself decreed when Kolchak’s television run ended. As much as we revere the original series, no, because we so revere the original…
Let it Rest in Peace–but only after binge watching the original movie and series.
Still need a fix? Find a copy of one of Moonstone’s Kolchak: The Night Stalker Chronicles.
“Carl Kolchak: Exactly what don’t you like about this hat?
Tony Vincenzo: What’s under it.”
No, we don’t like it. Not one bit. We Love it!