THE DEAD ZONE: THE COMPLETE FIFTH...
Reviewed by: Ryan Doom
Anthony Michael Hall
What's it about
This 11 episode, 3 disc set of the fifth season of The Dead Zone continues the adventures of Johnny Smith and with gift for touching things. In a good way.
Is it good movie?
I have to admit, I hadnít seen a minute of the TV series The Dead Zone before I received the complete fifth season in the mail. In fact, my knowledge stopped with knowing it starred Anthony Michael Hall and based on the groovy old Stephen King flick with a peak Christopher Walken. And actually, the most I remembered from that film was Walkenís hair, which I do believe was the first appearance of the insane, trademarked Walken do. Anyway, after watching season five of this cable TV show, I found something lacking that I find lacking from nearly every cable series: production values. Yeah, yeah, thatís getting pretty nitpicky, but after decades of high production values on networks and HBO, thereís something very JV about original cable TV. They try so damn hard to appear big budget, but it only hampers the end result. However, despite my mild prejudice against the medium, I still gave it a fair shake.
So what did I think? Are you thinking get to the freaking point already? Well, The Dead Zone isnít anything groundbreaking. In fact, itís like a concoction of about ten shows, most notably CSI. Nevertheless, this isnít a bad show. In fact, itís impossible not to commend Anthony Michael Hall. Itís clearly his show, and anyone who claims they could have foreseen Rusty Griswold as a leading man is full of it. But here is his, leading a band of makeshift detectives and investigators and solving cases with his ability to touch. Speaking of touching, the story revolves around Hallís character Johnny Smith and his former flame, who remarried after his six year coma. Now Smith has become close with her new family, a touching addition continually feeds story lines. And though some of the stories felt detective standard, that thread adds a touch of humanity it needs. But humanity only goes so far. Most of the episodes suffered from average plots and from twists that seemed too obvious or clichťd. At times, things just felt lazy. Or perhaps JV. And I suspect that by this point in the show, the family within a family line might be wearing thin.
Now starting a series at season five makes it difficult to decipher exactly whatís occurring. However, as a responsible semi-journalist, I read up on the series. Nevertheless, when allís said and done, I canít say it sucked me in. While interesting at times, and having some good, even effective acting at times (and some amateur time as well), I donít feel compelled to tune it. Perhaps I jumped in at a bad spot. Either way, I wonít set the TIVO to it.
Video / Audio
Audio: Dolby Digital Surround Sound
Audio Commentary: Four commentaries total. My fav came from director/actor John L. Adams, which came across as very honest and open as a first time director.
A Day with JLA: A 14 minute, candid look at actor JLAís day on set. Heís a charisma dude. Fun to watch. Heís seems like the kind of guy youíd dig drinking a beer with. Hell, he even shows viewers where he lives.
The Other Side of the Camera: A 15 minute doc with many of the shows directors and producers. Interesting stuff. Iím glad more shows are adding content like this.
Itís not top notch TV, but if youíre in the need for a psychic detective show, it might fit the bill. I found it mildy entertaining, but a much watch TV classic it remains not.