Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Gotta love Kolchak: The Night Stalker

There are few openings that I enjoy more than one of the most entertaining shows I've ever seen, Kolchak: The Night Stalker. Just check this out!

Starring Darren McGavin as the lead character, Carl Kolchak, he's a persistent reporter in Chicago where he delves into the weird and unusual violence that takes place, specifically those pertaining to the supernatural and monstrous. Although it only lasted one season and the costumes and effects were primitive even by 70's standards, this show was a gem for the time and was repeatedly referenced as being the primary influence for one of my other favorite shows, The X-Files. The creators loved Kolchak and even tried to get Darren McGavin on the show as his original character, Kolchak.

For reasons I haven't been able to find he declined, but did appear as someone darned similar, playing a retired FBI agent from the 50's known as Arthur Dales who originally started the X-Files that Mulder picks up on later. That show truly was a spiritual successor, and it's easy to see.

McGavin does a superb job of playing the annoying reporter who tricks his way into every place he can to get his story and is amazingly fun. Each episode revolves around genuinely interesting plots, some of which even had me guessing. Considering how fast I usually solve this sort of setup, that's saying a good bit!

There are plenty of supporting characters, mostly Kolchak's co-workers and boss. There's Tony Vincenzo, his superior who is constantly putting up with Kolchak's antics and problems. Although he often has a short temper and Kolchak often feels restrained or ignored, I find Tony quite sympathetic. He puts up with quite a lot and actually does care when things get rough. Although he never assists Kolchak in his endeavors, he does that by himself, Tony can always be counted on to bail him out of jail, which happens a lot.

Then there's Ron Updyke, Kolchak's office rival who always gouge and poke each other out of spite. Kolchak usually has the upper hand though, seemingly a troll before computers were even invented.
The only person immune to Kolchak's harassing behavior is Miss Emily, an elderly but sweet woman who truly gets along with him and is the only person he trusts, although he doesn't initially know it.

I can't describe how funny and suspenseful this show can be. The writing is awesome, and our lead just comes alive in his role. In spite of the sets being limited and the costumes costing less than a standard pair of shoes today, there are parts where I truly feel on edge. That is very uncommon for me, as I've watched plenty of "scary movies" without blinking.

If you're like me and are tired of the droll and dumb shows of today and desire something with some true charm, check it out! You can even find full episodes on Youtube or purchase it on DVD. Give it a look. I'm going to have some fun with it right now!

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