Regardless of your age, the chances are that you are a big fan of the 1970s American TV series Kolchak: The Night Stalker. The show originally premiered on the ABC network back in 1974-75. It was preceded by two television movies called The Night Stalker in 1972 and The Night Strangler in 1973. Even though the show lasted just one season, it was immensely popular and achieved cult status.
In a nutshell, the series followed wire service reporter Carl Kolchak who was played by Darren McGavin. Kolchak investigated mysterious crimes with unlikely causes, especially those that involved science fiction or supernatural beings.
The X-Files franchise creator Chris Carter credited Kolchak as a tremendous influence in creating his series. Following that success in 2005, Frank Spotnitz, The X-Files producer, decided to bring back the Kolchak TV series with a whole new set of cast and characters along with subsequent comic books and novels. However, the 2005 Kolchak TV reboot tanked miserably and was quietly canceled just after six episodes in spite of having ten episodes already ready.
It’s been over 15 years since the reboot. With the 50th Anniversary Kolchak graphic novel coming sometime this year, would it be a good idea to revive the Kolchak series?
Why Did the 2005 Reboot Fail?
The 2005 Kolchak TV series reboot was a re-imagined version of an unpublished novel by Jeff Rice and the two movies and TV show from the 1970s. The 2005 reboot features Irish actor Stuart Townsend who played the role of Kolchak. Even here, the story revolved around him investigating bizarre crimes; the only difference was that there was a more personal twist to the story because of the mysterious murder of his wife. The show also featured Gabrielle Union, who portrayed the role of a senior crime reporter Perri Reed.
ABC ended up canceling the show just after six episodes, and they cited low ratings as the reason behind it. Though that’s definitely true, the show was a far cry from the original and not what fans would expect from a Kolchak reboot.
What’s the New Novel About?
This year marks the 50th anniversary since the Kolchak was introduced, and to celebrate that, fans will soon see The Night Stalker 50th Anniversary Graphic Novel Anthology sometime this year. The novel is being offered exclusively through Kickstarter. The drive includes options for both hardcover and softcover versions, with the higher pledge tiers getting bonuses like an additional 40-page comic called Satanic Panic ’88.
The 50th-anniversary novel features new stories set in the same world as the original 1974-75 TV series. James Aquilone of Classic Monsters Unleashed is the editor of this graphic novel. Other than him, the book features an impressive lineup of creators, including Rodney Barnes of Killadelphia, David Avallone of Elvira: Mistress of the Dark, Peter David of The Incredible HulkNancy Collins of the Swamp Thing, Jonathan Maberry of V-Wars, and Kim Newman of Anno Dracula. The book also features a story and foreword by Richard Christian Matheson, son of horror luminary and writer of the original 1972 TV movie, Richard Matheson.
Why It is Time for a Reboot
Yes, there’s no denying that the 2005 Kolchak TV series reboot was less than staller. Even the 1974-75 TV series ended after just one season with absolutely no trace of resolution in the last episode. However, with the new graphic novel featuring all-new stories set in the same world as the original series gives creators a lot of content to work with if they ever consider a reboot.
We would love to see a continuation of the original series and movies. It would be perfect to see Kolchak being played by a character that could be his son or nephew, illegitimate or otherwise. To keep in tune with the original series, the new character could also have the same quirks and mannerisms as the original Kolchak, who we loved watching. Potential showrunners could tie the new stories with the old ones, like the episode which features a young Erik Estrada, “In Legacy of Terror.” Moreover, given that CGI is way more advanced than it was in the 1970s and even in 2005, there’s at least the guarantee that the CGI on the reboot will not be cringe-worthy.
Furthermore, with the announcement of the new novel and all the excitement around it, this would be a great time to announce a reboot of the TV series, too, since Kolchak fans are already amped up and would love to consume more and new material of their beloved Kolchak.
You can watch the original Kolchak: The Night Stalker TV series on several streaming platforms, including Apple TV, OXYGEN, NBC, Prime Video, Bravo, E !, SYFY, USA Network, or Telemundo.
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