“Night Stalker” (2005, ABC), episodes 1-4 – In its ads for “Supernatural,” WB recommends viewers turn off their lights to enhance the viewing experience. ABC, being a bit gentler, suggests viewers leave the lights on while watching “Night Stalker” (8 p.m. Thursdays). But I prefer to heed the lyrics of the Barenaked Ladies, who once sang of the pleasures of watching “The X-Files” in the dark.
Produced by “X-Files” veteran Frank Spotnitz, “Night Stalker” is essentially “The X-Files” all over again, with weird tales (people who die from their greatest fear, figurines that magically start fires, etc.) and comforting predictability. Like “Files,” this show heaps on mood by the shovelful, which is why I love it.
Crime reporter Carl Kolchak (Stuart Townsend) is the only thing this “Night Stalker” has in common with the frighteningly low-budget 1970s original starring Darren McGavin, but this time he’s a young guy trying to make it instead of an old guy aiming to stay in the game. Kolchak is the Mulder to fellow scribe Perri Reed’s (Gabrielle Union) Scully, and both actors have the noir style down pat; Kolchak even delivers voice-over narration to bookend every episode.
Granted, it doesn’t really make sense for journalists to be investigating the paranormal every week (that should really be the job of FBI agents, if only because they can take the company car and don’t have to worry about mileage vouchers). And Kolchak can never write what really happened; “You’re just getting the story for yourself, aren’t you?” has become Reed’s common refrain.
If you watch
What: “Night Stalker” Season 1
Premise: “The X-Files,” if Mulder and Scully had worked at a newspaper.
When: 8 p.m. Thursdays