Archive for the ‘John Kretchman’ Tag

The Chronicle: News from the Edge–Episode 5: He’s Dead, She’s Dead (2001)   2 comments

Above:  Tucker, Wes and Grace

Grace holds a package containing the ashes of her ferret, Pookie.

All images in this post are screen captures.

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He’s Dead, She’s Dead

Canadian Television Rating = PG

Hyperlink to Episode

Aired August 4, 2001

Production Number = 5009-01-106

Starring

Chad Willett as Tucker Burns

Jon Polito as Donald Stern

Reno Wilson as Wes Freewald

Rena Sofer as Grace Hall

Curtis Armstrong as Sal the Pig-Boy

Sharon Sachs as Vera

Octavia L. Spencer as Ruby Rydell

Main Guest Cast

Elaine Hendrix as Kristen Martin

Leigh Hennessy as Homeless Woman

Shawn Lane as Reanimated Corpse

Karen-Eileen Gordon as Dr. Evelyn Elkins

Joe Nesnow as Dr. Harry Cooper

Justine Miceli as Helen Cooper

Todd Patrick Breaugh as Clark Jensen

Behind the Camera

Consulting Producer = Naren Shankar

Writers = Erin Maher and Kay Reindl

Director = John Kretchman

Above:  Donald Stern and Kristen Martin

Brief Summary

Young daredevils Brad, Todd, and Lee are drinking in a cemetery at night.  After Brad falls into an open grave, Todd and Lee flee.  They are terrified after seeing a hatted man stab a corpse then run away.

Tucker, Grace, and Wes work on the corpses story while Kristen researches a story about the World Chronicle for The New York Times.  Donald Stern ensures that Kristen gets the story he wants:  that the World Chronicle is not a legitimate publication.  The world is not yet ready to believe otherwise, he tells Tucker.  Besides, Kristen’s story will constitute good publicity.

Three corpses have gone missing from the cemetery during the previous month.  There was the exchange student from the beginning of the episode.  He attacked Tucker in the morgue, but waited for Kristen to leave before doing so.  There was also a homeless woman, who attacked Kristen on a sidewalk at night.  The third disinterred corpse was that of Dr. Harry Cooper, who had been interested in the occult and the reanimation of corpses.

Helen Cooper, Harry’s daughter, is still angry with her father.  She still considers the reanimation of corpses immoral.  Nobody has the right to cheat death and play God, she insists.  She, therefore, cooperates with Clark Jensen, one of Harry’s few allies, to reanimate her father.  Then she kills him again.  (Talk about resentment!)  Police officers arrest Jensen, apparently for robbing graves.  Helen will probably be fine, legally, for killing the dead is not a crime.  Kristen arrives on the scene too late to witness the brief resurrection of Dr. Harry Cooper.

Donald Stern, after reading Kristen’s article dismissing the staff of the World Chronicle as delusional, breaks out the bubbly.

Above:  Helen Cooper

Character Beats

Vera has the hots for Tucker.

Tucker is desperate for Kristen to think of him as a legitimate journalist.

Grace mourns the death of Pookie, the ferret she adopted while in junior high school.  (Ferrets are illegal in New York City.)  Grace’s mother mails the ashes to Grace, who scatters them in Central Park.

Great Lines

Todd, offering an obvious excuse to flee the cemetery:  “I think I want to go home and watch Felicity.”

Wes:  “This guy is so full of holes he makes Noriega look like a Noxzema model.”

Dr. Evelyn Elkins, introverted medical examiner:  “Live people just get in the way.”

In-Universe

An army of vampires bent of world domination exists.

Tucker compliments Kristen on her story about Yamaguchi Wireless (What Gobbles Beneath).

Ruby has real psychic powers.  Nevertheless, Donald Stern insists that she mix false and true predictions, so she does.  Besides, people deal better with her predictions when they do not know if they are true or false.

Comments

This episode is the first so far to use the alternative, mysterious theme, instead of the standard, whimsical one.

This episode has a lighter tone (despite the alternative theme) than the previous episode.  I would rather watch this episode again and skip the previous episode during subsequent rewatches.

Pookie the ferret was a delightful companion, I am sure.

Kristen is a recurring character with an arc.  I am not a militant anti-spoilers person.  Rosebud was a sled.  There, I said it!  The Maltese Falcon was a fake.  There, I said it!  And this series is two decades old.  The statute of limitations on spoilers expires long before twenty years.  Nevertheless, I choose not to reveal Kristen’s character arc in this post.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 20, 2020 COMMON ERA

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The Chronicle: News from the Edge–Episode 4: Baby Got Back   5 comments

Above:  Julian Tally with a Demon

All images in this post are screen captures.

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Baby Got Back

Canadian Television Rating = PG

Hyperlink to Episode

Aired July 28, 2001

Production Number = 5009-01-102

Starring

Chad Willett as Tucker Burns

Jon Polito as Donald Stern

Reno Wilson as Wes Freewald

Rena Sofer as Grace Hall

Curtis Armstrong as Sal the Pig-Boy

Sharon Sachs as Vera

Octavia L. Spencer as Ruby Rydell

Main Guest Cast

Richard Karn as David Tally

Merritt Hicks as Rosie Tally

Romy Rosemont as Reba

Behind the Camera

Consulting Producer = Naren Shankar

Writer = Silvio Horta

Director = John Kretchman

Above:  Rosie and David Tally

Brief Summary

David Tally is the founder and leader of Headway, a pyramid-scheme business indistinguishable from a cult.  It is a cult–a Satanic one.  Headway is recovering after losing half of its customers because of negative publicity resulting from an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission.  David will do anything to help the business rebound.  He will even sacrifice his one-year-old son, Julian, who has a demon gestating inside.  That is part of the deal David made with Satan.

Rosie Tally, Julian’s mother, will do anything to save her son.  She escapes from the Headway compound in Manhattan on the night on August 19, 2000, and takes Julian with her.  She leaves Julian and a bag at the front door of the World Chronicle offices.  The bag includes a book (Tommy the Tuna and the Magic Sea Lion) and a note signed “a desperate mother.”  Off-screen, agents David sends recapture Rosie.  Donald Stern assigns Tucker Burns to investigate the story.  Tucker investigates Headway while Wes then Grace babysit Julian.  Rosie, back at Headway headquarters, calls the World Chronicle and reveals her son’s name to Grace.  When Grace and Tucker visit Rosie, she cannot speak openly, for cultists in matching shirts are watching and listening.  She does, however, ask Grace and Tucker to read the book to Julian.  That book contains underlined words that read, “The beast is within him.  Exercise him before it is too late.”  Tucker replaces one letter in “exercise” to make the word “exorcise.”  Our main characters already know the child is possessed, for Wes has seen a shadow of a demon and the demon has tried to kill Sal the Pig-Boy.

To make a long story short, David tries and eventually succeeds in retrieving Julian.  David tries asking.  Mainly, though, he sends people to seize the child.  Some of them eventually succeed, while Donald Stern is trying to exorcise the baby.  Shortly thereafter, Grace remembers why Reba, one of David’s associates, looks familiar; Reba is a documented Satan-worshiper.  On the night of August 21, Julian’s first birthday, David plans to “baptize” his son with blood, thereby bringing the demon within him to full power, followed by human sacrifices.  David plans to substitute Wes, Grace, and Tucker for the two Headway salespeople who had volunteered, for the good of the company.  Wes and Tucker, tied up, until Grace, who grabs Rosie’s locket and places it on Julian in time to prevent the “baptism.”  The demon flees Julian and enters David, who explodes. Rosie rescues Julian.

A few days later, after the story has run in the World Chronicle, Grace sees a divorced man who is out and about with his infant son in a stroller.  As Grace walks away, the baby’s eyes change, revealing he has a demon inside.

Above:  Headway

Character Beats

Grace, despite being anti-procreation and happily childless, has strong maternal instincts.

Sometimes Donald’s employees have to talk him into helping someone at the risk of sacrificing a story.

Dogs are good judges of character.  All the dogs who pass by the possessed baby Julian bark at him.

David Tally gets what he deserves.  He, willing to sacrifice others, including his son, becomes a sacrifice.

Great Lines

Grace, to Tucker:  “God, this place is so bizarre.  Did you see their outfits?  The color is hideous.”

Wes, to Tucker:  “Hey, I’m not taking a moment anywhere near Damien.”

In-Universe

Above:  Television Channeling

Grace reports on a story about a man who claims that spirits of deceased television actors speak to him.  He wishes they would stop.  Grace realizes that not one of the actors has died, but that their television careers have.  The actors include Charlotte Rae (1926-2018), Joyce Dewitt (1949-), Charles Nelson Reilly (1931-2007), and Tina Yothers (1973-).

Between episodes, Grace reported on a 700-pound man in Kuala Lumpur.  After he complained about the photograph, Grace told Wes,” I told you not to use a wide-angle lens.”

Above:  Demonic Eyes

Comments

This is the darkest (tonally), most serious episode yet.  Scenes of babies with demonic eyes are creepy.  Brief moments of levity help the episode, though.  I want to see an episode about the man channeling living actors with dead television careers.

The most famous guest star is Richard Karn.  This episode follows his time (1991-1999) on Home Improvement and precedes his stint (2002-2006) as the host of Family Feud.

This episode plays out from the night of August 19 to the night of August 21, 2000.  Within the episode, those days were Tuesday-Thursday.  In reality, they were Thursday-Saturday.

The Chronicle:  News from the Edge is at its best when the episodes tilt toward the humorous.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 19, 2020 COMMON ERA

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