The Dead Zone

Discussion in 'Archive: SF&F: Films and Television' started by Rogue1-and-a-half, Feb 13, 2006.

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  1. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    Misbegotten

    Best part of this episode was the opening which had Tracy Gold cooking shrimp for Johnny and talking ninety to nothing while we desperately try to figure out what exactly is happening. The teaser ends with the police coming in to take her away.

    This is one of the more typical 'television drama' episodes; the entire cast is on hand and not particularly well done. Dana and Sara working together to find Johnny particularly struck me as ringing false, though Purdy's businesslike approach to Johnny's kidnapping was well done, as always, by Stiers.

    The kidnapping itself lacked punch . . . the idea of Tracy Gold, not exactly a bodybuilder, being able to chloroform the massively tall Anthony Michael Hall struck me as fairly ludicrous. The basic plot was fine, with Johnny being on hand to solve an old murder. The flashbacks particularly were great, as were his visions, particularly a bloodsplattering ending to the evening.

    The revelation of the killer was predictable, but still packed a punch, thanks to the powerhouse performance of Alicia Coppola and some great makeup work.

    A middling episode; fairly typical thriller show, not up to the genius that this show can hit when it wants.

    ** 1/2 out of **** stars.
  2. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    Cabin Pressure

    This episode finds Purdy and Johnny travelling to Washington via jet. Johnny gets a vision of the plane crashing. Now the only problem? Getting someone to believe him.

    This is a near pinnacle for the series I think. When it first started, I didn't think I was going to like it; how could they keep such a stale premise interesting. Well, kudos, they did it and in spades.

    Both Hall and Stiers are brilliant; Hall has a fantastic scene with Linda Ko as a conflicted air marshal that is brilliant work from both actors. And Stiers has another scene with Ko later where he delivers a, par for the course, moving and beautiful rumination on fate and destiny.

    Peter Wingfield deserves special mention as the arrogant pilot (and star of a particularly chilling vision that really kicks the episode into high gear, courtesy of a single touch on Johnny's hand). His performance is a masterpiece and the face off between Ko and Wingfield in the cockpit is one of the most dynamic scenes of the entire series so far.

    Jill Bloetevogel, the author of this episode, stated that she wanted the episode to play like a crossover and it certainly does that, with both stewardesses, pilot, co-pilot and air marshall all being incredibly well developed characters with their own particular arcs.

    And the final twenty minutes of this episode are absolutely non-stop tension as we run the countdown. Courtesy of the current success of 24, this episode also has the distinction of running in real time, which absolutely amps the tension out the window.

    **** out of 4 stars. Absolute perfection.
  3. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper and Rumor Naysayer

    Manager
    Member Since:
    May 25, 2000
    star 6
    I rather enjoyed the recent episode Independence Day :)
  4. NJOfan215 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 17, 2003
    star 5
    This season has been really good so far.
  5. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    Still on the second season.

    The Man Who Never Was

    A great opening as Johnny touches a container of capers misdelivered by his grocery delivery boy and receives a vision of himself slowly vanishing, piece by piece, until nothing is left.

    This is a great episode, with Robert Culp perfectly cast as the aging, isolated spy, a man who served his government and has no been condemned to slowly fade away, slowly disappear into loneliness. The double analogy, of his actual physical disappearance, which serves as a great mystery, and his emotional disappearance into isolation works well, as does the connection between he and Johnny, both driven into lives of isolation and exile because of what they know.

    Culp is brilliant and his character is fascinating and clever, giving Johnny clues of his impending disappearance one minute, dropping hilarious one liners about Amelia Earhardt the next. The eerie vision of Johnny disappearing a piece at a time is matched by the creepy vision of shadow like figures invading his home.

    It's also nice to see Johnny, for the first time, experiencing serious doubt from both Johnny and Walt, as the existence of Culp's character becomes ever less and less likely. Particularly fine is a scene where Johnny confronts the man and woman now living in Culp's house, leading the couple's daughter to whisper, "the mean man is scaring me, daddy." Without missing a beat, Johnny snaps, "You ain't seen nothing yet, kid."

    And the conclusion as Culp outsmarts his handlers, the media and Johnny himself, is a brilliant one, uplifting and emotional.

    The standout sequence of Culp and Johnny as Culp witnessing a murder in Paris of the woman Culp loved is a fascinating and brilliant moment, as Culp looks back with regret and Johnny, as Culp at the time of the murder, is stone faced and cold.

    And, on that note, let me again say that I love the linearity of the series; Johnny now lives in self imposed exile in his heavily secured home, thanks to the abduction that we saw earlier this season in Scars, we get a lengthy shot of Johnny's Stillson board as the government agents search his house and, most beautifully, we're treated to a scene of Walt and Sarah folding "Re-elect Bannerman" fliers, returning to the impending election that we saw dropped in the very first episode of this season.

    A very good episode. *** 1/2 out of **** stars.
  6. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    Dead Men Tell Tales

    The series has really come into its own here. Another truly great episode as Johnny gets involved with an Irish mobster who Johnny unwittingly saves.

    A lot of great touches here; faced with the corpse of the man who's death Johnny unwittingly sold, he says, "I don't like touching dead people. Takes me somewhere I don't like going." Hope to see more of that soon (and in fact we do, in the upcoming Zion). Walt badgers Johnny to tell him the truth, finally dropping the bombshell, "You swear on J.J.'s life you're telling me the truth?" When Johnny shakes the hand of a prostitute at the cemetary, we see about the best transition yet, a 180 around and up and over. And the Indian casino . . . check out their emblem: it's the emblem of Johnny from Shaman. Now there's a touch that made me laugh out loud and yet nod my head in respect. Great job, guys.

    This episode really puts us in the heads of Mickey and Nina, the tragic pair at the heart of the episode, but Flannery and Francis show up as Stillson and Elliman, both making great work here. The bit where Stillson has finally figured out not to touch Johnny is stellar as is the sequence with Mickey pounding the snot out of Sonny, a surprisingly violent scene. This episode really won on the basis of its cutting: The scene where Johnny entering Cathan's store is spliced in with Hall as Mickey entering the same store and being violently gunned down. Very, very cool, beautiful, moving all that.

    And the central image of the story may owe a nod to Taxi Driver, but who cares. Hall's narration gives cold chills: Not casinos, not Stillson, just a kiss. The one and only kiss from Nina, but for Mickey, a guy who watched Knights of the Round Table on the Discovery Channel, it was a kiss that raised him to knighthood. Beautiful.

    A very, very good episode. *** 1/2 out of ****
  7. NJOfan215 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 17, 2003
    star 5
    This past season of the Deadzone has been really good. I think some of the previous seasons, the show had become to focused on the Apocalyps, but this season was a return to the wider veriety of stories that really made the show great early in its run. I hope it gets picked up for another season.
  8. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    Playing God

    Easily the best episode of the second season thus far . . . An old friend from high school, played to perfection by Ally Sheedy, comes back into Johnny's life when her brother, biggest jerk ever on television played marvelously by Lochlyn Munro, comes to see Johnny to see if he'll get a heart transplant in time.

    The dilemma comes when Johnny's vision reveals to him that Jason will indeed get a heart, but it will be the heart of his sister, who will be killed in a car accident.

    From there, the episode becomes truly heartwrenching as Hall gives an award worthy performance. Johnny strives to find another transplant, to get Jason up the list, but that decision will only cost someone else their life. To stop the car accident will cause a worse one at a later date . . . . for Johnny, there seems to be no way out.

    David Ogden Stiers is particularly brilliant here, finding his ethics finally coming to the surface. His scene with Johnny ("I'd do anything for you, Johnny, but I don't think I can do this.") where he finally tells Johnny that he has no business interfering with fate or God, is a masterwork.

    Johnny has a great scene with John Kapelos (big reunion time, huh?) who plays the drunk who will cause the accident; the scene with him is a heartbreaker as well. And finally, Johnny has to not only stand back and let it happen, but be the cause. Hall's best delivery to date: "Because it's the only think I'm allowed to do." We all feel that way at certain times, as though fate has us trapped in a role we don't want to play and Hall's real anger comes across like a prairie fire in this scene. And that fade to white is among the most beautiful things in the whole series. The conclusion is uplifting and hopeful, while still being unbearably tragic.

    This is the episode I've been waiting for since day one: the failure. And kudos, they pulled it off; Johnny sees everything but changes nothing, utterly unable to find a way out and Hall's performance here is as good as he has ever been in any episode (or any other film for that matter). That there is still hope even in the failure isn't a cop out (though it easily could have been . . . I still despise an episode of Early Edition where it looked like our hero had failed, but a twist at the last second saved the day), but rather a bittersweet meditation on redemption, love and sacrifice.

    This may be the best episode of the series to date.

    4 out of 4 stars. Perfect.
  9. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    Zion

    Johnny accompanies Bruce home for his father's funeral and Bruce is given a bizarre look at the world if he hadn't left home.

    This was a strange episode; I liked seeing John Adams getting a chance to really shine (and he looked extremely weird without his dreadlocks and van dyke . . . like a little kid or something). And Louis Gossett Jr. is always solid.

    The relationship between the two was great and I liked the rather 'Wonderful Life' look at what Bangor would be like without Bruce: Sara and Walt divorced, Johnny driven to a mass of paranoia and assassination attempts, Purdy and Johnny split over a lawsuit. Particularly Michael Hall seemed to have a ball playing a very different, very hard John Smith.

    And Bruce's bizarre trip was well done, particularly his "Angel's name was John" bit. And the final conversation between Gossett and Adams was full of brilliance, as Bruce's destiny comes clear, as Johnny's did a year prior at the end of the first season, as Johnny's right hand. And the amazing line that explains it all; how when a man dies his thoughts are of what might have been. Chill bump moment.

    Some minor quibbles; thanks to the network changing things up, this wasn't the season finale, which I think it needed to be.

    And then I didn't like tipping the hand so early really; Johnny with a gun in a high place (to reference King) is where this series needs to end up, Bruce or no Bruce and God help us all if the people behind this series chicken out and refuse to end with that bit.

    I'm ambivalent; well crafted, at times emotional, well acted, but perhaps a bad idea from the outset.

    ** 1/2 out of ****.
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