“ Genre: Television - The Dead Zone / Theatrical Release: 2002 / Suitable for 12 years and over / Director: Robert Lieberman / Actors: Anthony Michael Hall, David Ogden Stiers, Nicole De Boer, Chris Bruno, John L. Adams ... / DVD released 2006-01-30 at Paramount Home Entertainment / Features of the DVD: PAL „
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The Dead Zone is an American television series based on the Stephen King novel of the same name that was previously filmed by David Cronenburg starring Christopher Walken in the lead role. This time around, Johnny Smith is played by Anthony Michael Hall. Who? You might well ask. Well he was the geeky kid in 80's Brat-pack classic, The Breakfast Club, and in lame comedy Weird Science!! Yes, that REALLY is him!
For those not familiar with the premise of The Dead Zone, the story deals with a high school teacher who is involved in a car accident and ends up in a coma for several years. When he awakes, everyone has moved on. His fiancee is now married to the local sheriff, the world around him has very quickly changed and suddenly Johnny finds himself a stranger in a very strange land. And all that is before he discovers thast he now has latent psychic ability!!
When Johnny touches peoples' hands now, he sees glimpses of the future! This comes in handy when he discovers that a serial killer is preying on local women and that he may be able to help identify the subject responsible. But quickly Johnny discovers his new found talent is as much a curse as it is a blessing and that everybody wants a piece of his action! Suddenly Johnny finds himself becoming a national celebrity for all the wrong reasons!!
This boxset comprises the first thirteen episodes of this hit American sci-fi drama that never really made it that big over here for some strange unfathomed reason! It used to be shown on Five a long time ago, which is how I first discovered it, but for some reason it never quite got the ratings here that it did in The States....
These first thirteen episodes are someting of a mixed bag. There are some very strong episodes at the beginning, some weaker ones mid-season and then the series suddenly gets stronger again shortly before the season finale which is the cultimation of a story-line that fans of the book or film will already be expecting, if not waiting for!! Anthony Michael Hall is pretty convincing as Johnny Smith and the rest of the cast work equally well but overall, there is a sense sometimes that this is not quite as good as it could've been. The weaker episodes feel somewhat generic and could almost be a part of any other show with a few subtle tweaks and omissions! But when it is good, Dead Zone is very very good indeed!
The niggles I have with the show are all minor ones and produced, no doubt, by my love of the book (which is arguably one of King's best) and the awesome, awesome film which Christopher Walken made his own! King adaptations are notoriously difficult to film but here they seem to have done a competent job even if it does not excell itself!