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Night Stalker - The Complete Series

3.7 out of 5 stars 125 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Carl Kolchak returns in a new series of spine-tingling adventures. Produced by the X-FILES' Frank Spotnitz and based on the original '70s suspense drama, NIGHT STALKER updates the chilling classic in a startling new way. "There's something stylishly scary at work here," says The New York Times. Caught up in an obsessive hunt for his own wife's murderer, Kolchak (Stuart Townsend) discovers that his imagination is no match for the evil that truly lurks in the dark. Paired with skeptic Perri Reed (Gabrielle Union), television's favorite crime reporter will stop at nothing to uncover the supernatural side of the night. Featuring four episodes never seen on TV that complete the series and a host of exclusive bonus material, this 2-disc DVD set is so good it's scary.

If Night Stalker had been given a chance to establish its own identity, this "reimagining" of the popular early '70s TV movies might have thrived. Instead, many viewers perceived the short-lived series as a thinly disguised X-Files spinoff, with former X-Files producer Frank Spotnitz apparently hired to recycle X-Files plots in a slightly different format. That's not necessarily a bad thing, since the series boasts superior production values and dark, sometimes violent horror plots as effectively creepy as anything seen on X-Files. But fans of the original (both TV movies and 1974 series) bristled at ABC's obvious youth-market makeover that turned Darren McGavin's original "Carl Kolchak" from a cynical, sarcastic middle-aged reporter on the fringes of journalism into a hip, handsome, Mustang-driving young reporter (played by Irish actor Stuart Townsend) who's literally marked for death in what was intended (if the series had survived) to be an epic battle of good vs. evil. By pairing Kolchak with an equally young, attractive, and skeptical colleague named Perri Reed (Gabrielle Union), the series struggled to find its place among such popular shows as Medium and the CSI juggernaut, and there just wasn't enough originality to keep viewers interested. Ratings plummeted after the pilot premiered on September 29, 2005, and of the ten episodes produced and included here, only six were broadcast before the show's inevitable cancellation.

As Spotnitz conceived it (with several X-Files veterans serving as directors or consulting producers), Night Stalker revolved around an epic "mythology" that would've emerged had the series continued. Spotnitz outlines these broader details in his smart, informative DVD commentaries, allowing viewers a greater appreciation of how the series was being planned. As it stands, the new Kolchak is striving to solve the violent, monstrous attack that killed his wife, and his ongoing investigations draw him deeper into supernatural events, mostly explored in episodes so similar to X-Files that you could easily exchange Kolchak and Reed for agents Mulder and Scully and barely notice the difference. From their high-rise offices at the Los Angeles Beacon (beautifully filmed in high-def digital video), Kolchak and Reed solve brutal murders, bizarre deaths, and other mysteries with the help of photographer Jain McManus (Eric Jungman) and editor Tony Vincenzo (Cotter Smith), while a cynical FBI agent (semi-regular cast member John Pyper-Ferguson) suspects Kolchak of killing his wealthy wife to inherit her estate. As these 10 episodes demonstrate, the hard-won trust between Kolchak and Reed would become the series' emotional anchor, with Townsend and Union establishing an appealing chemistry that served the series well.

Unfortunately, Night Stalker was doomed from the start. The series was cancelled in the midst of a two-part episode, leaving viewers with an unresolved cliffhanger and unanswered questions about the mysterious "four horsemen of the apocalypse" biker gang that's been a looming threat throughout these episodes. Thanks to Spotnitz's detailed commentaries and video interview included on this two-disc set (along with printable DVD-ROM scripts from unproduced episodes), these and other mysteries are tantalizingly explained, and these ten Night Stalker episodes stand as testament to a high-quality series that never had a chance to prove its long-term potential. --Jeff Shannon

Special Features

4 Episodes Never Seen On TV|A Conversation With Frank Spotnitz|Deleted Scenes|Exclusive Insights And Commentary By The Show's Creators|Script Printer (DVD ROM) Final Episodes Never Produced

Product Details

  • Actors: Gabrielle Union Stuart Townsend
  • Directors: Tony Wharmby, Daniel Sackheim
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Buena Vista Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: May 30, 2006
  • Run Time: 426 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (125 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000EOTV98
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,788 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Night Stalker - The Complete Series" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Wayne Klein HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 4, 2006
Format: DVD
Grissom from "CSI" needs to be called in on this unusual homicide. It seems that a network ABC mysteriously killed a show that they wanted. It appears that they just pushed it in front of the runaway hit "CSI" but there could be much more to the murder than meets the eye. Remaking a classic whether it be good or bad is always tricky business because you risk alienating the original fans and can be unable to pull in a new audience. "Battlestar: Galatica" is a rare success in the area "reimagining" the concept for a more sophisticated audience. That show has polarized fans of the original they either love it or hate it but producer/writer Ron D. Moore shaped a new series from older material that captured a solid audience because of its intelligent scripts and well written drama. Frank Spotnitz a producer/writer on "The X-Files" and "Millennium" takes the inspiration for those shows "The Night Stalker" and "The Night Strangler" TV movies as well as the humor laced camp classic TV show that followed and unsuccessfully updated it for today's audience by imitating the shows they inspired. While the show failed to live up to its potential it improved by leaps and bounds over time and showed potential after emerging from the shadow of its inspiration. It's possible the show may never of had much of an audience as Spotnitz alienated core fans of the original cheesy but fun TV series (these same people probably never realized that "The Night Stalker" began life as a serious modern day horror movie with humor vs. a humorous show with horror). For what it's worth "The X-Files" took much of the first year to find its groove and I believe that "Night Stalker" would have improved. After the promising pilot episode the show took a downward turn but began to improve again just as ABC pulled the plug.Read more ›
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I never really watched the original, but was addicted to this very intense remake, very well done. Stuart Townsend was Great, as was Gabrielle Union. I was so upset at the network when the show was cancelled. If they were going to cancel it- so be it, but to yank it off the air in the middle of a two parter was just mean. They never did show the conclusion. I could not believe it, I kept it on my Tivo for months hoping they would run the conclusion to a very compelling story. Now I can buy it and finally see how the story arc ends
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This is a darker version of the original series, and this Carl Kolchak has little in common with the first Night Stalker. The original Carl Kolchak was energetic and clever. This version of the character is very mellow and laid-back. He also lacks the original Kolchak's ability to quickly spot the supernatural from the natural.

The original series was a classic, and it possessed a certain spark that is not found in this pale copy. Maybe it was Kolchak's whistle at the beginning of each episode. Or it could be how the first Night Stalker narrated the opening scenes. But this series does not have "it."

The main character of this series, Carl Kolchak, lives in a luxury apartment and he has a pool in his apartment. He was once a world class journalist who has obviously amassed some level of wealth. This is in direct contrast to the original character who wore the same suite throughout the entire series. And this Carl Kolchak works for a very affluent news service. The original Night Stalker worked for a news agency that was one step up from a tabloid.

The original Night Stalker investigated cases, and he fought against evil. But he was not really connected with his cases. This Carl Kolchak seems to have a personal interest in his investigations. In the pilot episode, he is basically investigating a case that may have been connected to the death of his wife.

It is sad that this remake does not even stand on its own. It is presented like a cheap version of the X-Files.
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Format: DVD
A note of caution: This series is WAY too intense and scary for kids under 12 years old. The 2005 series the Night Stalker is a very well written and well acted show. That is probably why it failed on broadcast TV. This Carl Kolshak, played expertly by Stuart Townsend, is a man haunted by the mysterious and brutal death of his wife. He was there when she was killed, and no one really believes him as to how she was killed. Many think Carl is a murderer, but they can not prove it. This spiritual/emotional/psychological tension in apparent in most of the episodes. It casts a shadow on all that Carl does, especially his relationahips with co-workers. Some of the episodes have resolutions, but some do not. This makes the show really kind of edgy and true to life. Why do so many TV show writers think all of life's problems can be solved in a 45 minute time slot? The best episodes deal with the "monsters" concept, but others are just serial killers.
The acting is excellent. Gabrielle Union is fabulous as Perri the "senior crime reporter" who has worked at the LA Beacon for all of four years. Besides being a great actress, Gabrielle Union is simply beautiful. Perri struggles to try to fingure out what is going on in the cases they investigate, but also she tries to understand why Carl does what he does.
The newspaper's photographer is another interesting character. He tags along with Perri and Carl on many investigations. This threesome is rather unique in television and adds to the quality of th show. Unfortunately, the photographer's name is very hard to catch. It is Jain, sounds like Jane, for a man, really unusual. Why did the writer's do that?
The background music is suitable and sets the tone well.
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