Since Night Stalker premiered [on ABC, Thursdays at 9 pm/ET], the questions I've most often been asked are what that mark on Kolchak's wrist means — and when will we see it again? I'm not about to say what it means, of course, but the answer to the second question is "tonight."
In the pilot episode, we learned Carl Kolchak (Stuart Townsend) found a strange, snake-shaped mark on the left wrist of his wife, Irene, after she was killed on a Las Vegas highway over a year ago. Strangely, she didn't have that mark on her body before her death.
Subsequent to that, Kolchak found the same mark on dozens of other victims of strange deaths. He told his new colleague, Perri Reed (
Night Stalker [Thursdays at 9 pm/ET on ABC] celebrates Halloween this week with a creepy, disturbing and nasty little episode called "Malum." Written by Adam Armus and Kay Foster, the story is full of dark and unexpected twists and turns.
As I was working on the show this past week, I could already imagine the message boards lighting up after its broadcast. "Malum" is just the kind of episode that gives Internet pundits plenty to love, hate and argue over.
Writing this blog every week, I'm struck anew at how amazing it is that the Internet gives us the chance to make direct contact with viewers of Night Stalker — and that, through this site and dozens of others where the show is dissected and debated every week, viewers are able to make direct contact with us.
In the Internet age, it's easy to take a conversation like this one for granted.
Night Stalker's Gabrielle Union
The fun thing about doing a show like Night Stalker [Thursdays at 9 pm/ET, on ABC] is how different it is every week. This series takes a "minimovie" approach to television, where each episode is a different stand-alone mystery about the supernatural. Our task, week in and week out, is to make the unreal seem real.
Because each episode involves a different supernatural phenomenon, the production challenges vary enormously. In one episode, it's staging a chase in a subterranean cave, complete with computer-generated bats, puppeted creatures and stunts. The next, it's a tense psychological drama about a man in solitary confinement.
Last week's episode, "Three," written by Adam Sussman and directed by Daniel Sackhei
We are in the thick of it now. While viewers at home get ready to watch Episode 3 of Night Stalker (tonight at 9 pm/ET, on ABC) — it's a very scary show, by the way — we are already editing shows that will air in November, filming ones that will air in December and writing shows that will be broadcast after that.
When production on a TV series begins, it's like an assembly line that can't stop. You have to keep feeding it new scripts every eight business days to make the air dates. That's a pretty tight schedule, of course, so you draw on as many talented people as you can to make it happen.
On Night Stalker, I'm blessed to have a lot of collaborators whose names you might recognize. There's Daniel Sackheim, of course, who directed the pilot and is an executive producer of the series. Dan worked with me, not onl
McGavin (inset) "appeared" on Townsend and Union's show.
I was watching last Thursday night, as I know a lot of you were. In what is arguably the toughest time slot in prime time, Night Stalker [airing at 9 pm/ET] had a strong premiere, drawing 7.1 million viewers and giving ABC its best numbers at that hour in more than five years. That, along with great reviews from some major newspapers like the New York Times and New York Post, made for a very encouraging start.
For me, it was also the climax to a long journey. If you read the article in TV Guide (and TVGuide.com) a few weeks back, you know that this project began for me in the summer of 2004, when Touchstone Television called to ask if I'd be interested in developing a new series based on the original The Night Stalker TV-movie from 1972.
To my mind, that was
Stuart Townsend as Kolchak
It's almost 8 o'clock. My parents are in the kitchen, my brothers are in the family room. I close the door to my room and shut off the lights. I've seen an ad in TV Guide (I'm 11, and I read it cover to cover every week) for a really scary-looking TV-movie that's about to start, and I don't want to miss a second of it. There are no videotapes, DVDs or TiVo. There's just this one chance to watch this movie, and I want to sit here, by myself, uninterrupted in the darkness of my room and... get scared.
The night was Jan. 11, 1972, and the TV-movie was, of course, The Night Stalker. The Night Stalker was funny, frightening and (at the time at least) incredibly realistic. In my 11-year-old mind, it almost seemed possible there might be a vampire lurking the back alleys of Las Vegas.
In ways I never could have imagined, The Night Stalker ended up having a profound impact on my life.