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. More than 20 years later, it inspired the creation of The X-Files. I ended up writing for that series for eight years and becoming an executive producer. My success on The X-Files led Touchstone Television to ask me last year to come up with a new series based on the Night Stalker movie. Talk about coming full circle.
As much as I loved the original, the new Night Stalker [premiering tonight at 9 pm/ET on ABC] is not a faithful adaptation. It's not even a remake, really. It's what people in Hollywood call a "reimagining." I'll be delighted if we draw new fans of the original, but my true hope is that this series will stand on its own for a new generation of viewers.
The pilot episode is an incredibly ambitious, suspenseful hour of TV, beautifully directed by Daniel Sackheim, my friend and colleague from The X-Files days. And we've been blessed with an amazing cast led by Stuart Townsend, Gabrielle Union, Eric Jungmann and Cotter Smith.
The series plunges you into modern-day Los Angeles — shot entirely on location and seen as never before with state-of-the-art digital cameras — where reporter Carl Kolchak investigates the stories behind the stories, about things we all fear but few of us are willing to admit might just be real.
I don't want to give away too much about what happens in the pilot or talk — just yet — about all the changes I've made from the original and why. In this first blog, I just want to say I hope you enjoy the show... and that you get scared.
Keep watching, and visit this space next week for another blog entry.
For even more "Frank talk" about Night Stalker, check out the exec's Oct. 6 blog for TVGuide.com.
Click here for a video preview of the Night Stalker series premiere.