Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.

Arts and Entertainment

New Night Stalker Won't Keep You Up at Night

Before you
Dear reader, we're asking you to help us keep local news available for all. Your financial support keeps our stories free to read, instead of hidden behind paywalls. We believe when reliable local reporting is widely available, the entire community benefits. Thank you for investing in your neighborhood.


This season's latest entry into the supernatural-sci-fi-detective-story genre, Night Stalker is a weak successor to one of LAist's favs, The X-Files. Inevitably, comparisons are made because former X-Files executive producer Frank Spotniktakes the lead in producing and writing this show.

Set in a dark and brooding Los Angeles, Stuart Townsend plays an also dark and brooding, new hotshot investigative reporter Carl Kolchak at the "Los Angeles Beacon." His enemy-turned-ally is Gabrielle Union's character Perri Reed, the old hotshot reporter at the newspaper.

At first, Perri digs up the dirt on Kolchak, finding out that the FBI suspected him of murdering his wife, but didn't have enough evidence to prove it. Kolchak claims his innocence in the case, saying that these dog/werewolf creatures killed his wife. Everyone thought (thinks) he's crazy, especially the FBI. But Kolchak believes there's a conspiracy to hide things supernatural -- those things that go bump in the night -- from the public. He believes -- The truth is out there. Paging Fox Mulder...

Support for LAist comes from

Perri changes her mind when she is attacked by one of those dog things, and the FBI destroys the "coyote" for "health reasons" before the reporters can shoot photos for proof. Perri chastises Kolchak for not printing the true version in his story, but he assures her that his quest has not ended.

Now, LAist has a few bones to pick with the creators of this remake. (The original started out as two TV movies and a short-lived series in the early 70s -- which are now available on DVD, by the way.) First, we know how much real estate in Los Angeles costs (a freakin' lot) and we know how much reporters get paid (not much). Carl Kolchak, whether renting or owning, has some seriously modern digs in the hills with great views of the city. Unless he got beaucoup bucks from his wife's life insurance -- we aren't buying it.

Another pet peeve is the acting. While Gabrielle Union is fine and fiesty in her limited Scully-like role, Townsend's Kolchak is just bland and boring. We know you're supposed to be a brooding, wounded hero, but dude show a little a little emotion. Mr. Spotnik, write him a personality -- please. Even in its spookiest moments, The X-Files could have a sense of humor. This premiere was neither.

LAist's Take: We know that it's just the first show and Night Stalker might improve with time. But they better hurry. There's just too much competition on Thursdays at 9 with CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and The Apprentice.

Night Stalker airs Thursdays at 9 PM on ABC.