Allow me to first admit that I have not seen the original movie, despite being a Christopher Walken fan, and I have not read the book, despite being a Stephen King fan. Now for the show, I have been onboard since day one, and it has just know begun its third season.
The premise of the series is that Johnny Smith (Anthony Michael Hall) has a car wreck which results in him being in a coma for 6-7 years, I forget how long, and after waking up he has certain abilities. Specifically, by touching people or objects he has visions of the past or the future, and depending on what he sees he can act on it to change things. This is explained as an awakening of a “dead zone” in the brain, an area that does not appear active in normal people. The show has had its ups and downs over the past couple of years, but overall it is a very entertaining show with a good cast.
The first season was a very mixed bag, for every great episode there were one or two stinkers immediately following it. The show couldn’t gain any momentum. The problem, as I see it, was that it took too long to build up it’s ongoing stories, there was too much focus on the standalone episodes which weren’t all that good. Just as that first season ended it started to be climbing in quality, especially with the introduction of Greg Stillson (Sean Patrick Flannery) and the vision that Johnny has when exposed to him. The second season was considerably stronger as it finally found it’s voice and provided a steady stream of big picture episodes and smaller standalones. The second season also introduced an evolution in Johny’s abilities, he started seeing someone from the future with whom he was able to interact with, and the news was not good, it added a new dimension to the growing mythology, I hope it gets explored more in season three. The third season is just two episodes in, but it is shaping up to be pretty good as well. It started with a two parter which put Johnny in one of his most dangerous positions yet, I ‘ll write more on that in a bit. First some general observations on the show.
The cast is very good. You never would have guessed that nerdy teen actor Anthony Michael Hall would grow up and do something like this, he almost doesn’t seem like the same person. We also get Nicole DeBoer as Sarah, his one time girlfriend who is currently married to the town’s Sheriff Walt Bannerman, played by Chris Bruno. Rounding out the regulars are John L. Adams as Bruce Lewis, Johnny’s physical therapist and good friend, and David Ogden Stiers as Reverend Gene Purdy, whose motives haven’t been too clear. The writing has clearly improved, so if you weren’t too big a fan of the first season, but enjoyed elements of it, come back and check out the second, I’m sure you will agree that it is a vast improvement over the first.
The third season began with a two parter called: “Finding Rachel”. These episodes further the mythology of the show between Johnny and his primary adversary Gregg Stillson. It involves the disappearance of a young woman who was working as a documentarian on Gregg Stillson’s election campaign. Johnny sees something and as he tries to explain what he saw, he blacks out, and wakes up with her gone and a chunk of time missing. Soon, Johnny is the prime suspect in Rachel’s disappearance and he is being confronted by Rachel’s sister, Rebecca. Suspicion of Johnny’s involvement drives a wedge between the Sheriff who had to arrest him and his wife, Johnny’s ex. I think the biggest thing with these episodes was the introduction of Rebecca, played by Sarah Wynter (who was also a big part of the second season of 24), something strikes me that she will play a big part of the season.
Bottom line is that this is a good show and deserves the attention it gets. Although I would like to see it brought to a wider audience on a bigger network, but that is a secondary concern for me, so long as the episodes keep coming.