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Greenwalt's Revenge

By David Michael Wharton     January 24, 2005

Alicia (Sarah Carter) needs Clark (Tom Welling) to comfort her in the SMALLVILLE episode "Unsafe." Sorry Clark, the girl's a psycho.
© The WB Television Network

Have I mentioned recently how much I love the TV-on-DVD phenomenon? A lot, that's how much.

What got me thinking about this was perusing the always-useful this past week and finding two announcements that, despite the glut of unlikely (and occasionally unworthy) shows finding their way to DVD these days, I never thought I'd see.

First up, Anchor Bay will be bringing Stephen J. Cannell's pitch-black PROFIT, featuring Adrian Pasdar as a sociopathic businessman perfectly willing to bulldoze anyone blocking his road to success, to DVD in 2005. Co-created by X-FILES and Whedon-verse veteran David Greenwalt, PROFIT only aired five episodes on Fox in 1996, but amassed a cult following that's been clamoring for its return in some format, any format, ever since. It's rare in American television to see a protagonist that's as much of an unredeemable bastard as Profit, and the news of this release should bring a small, unnerving smile to the lips of everyone with a sense of humor as sick as mine.

Secondly, the lovely people at Shout! Factory (may the wind be always at their backs) -- already on my Christmas list for last year's bar-setting FREAKS AND GEEKS release and this year's upcoming UNDECLARED follow-up--have now buried themselves deeper in my good graces by announcing an April 19 release for a complete series set of MIRACLES. Another checkmark on Greenwalt's resume (this time as executive producer), the show was created

Alicia (Sarah Carter) needs Clark (Tom Welling) to comfort her in the SMALLVILLE episode "Unsafe." Sorry Clark, the girl's a psycho.

by THE MOTHMAN PROPHECIES' Richard Hatem, and it managed to eke out six episodes on ABC before low ratings banished it to the netherworld. In that time, it offered a moody, genuinely creepy pilot (which introduced a catchphrase that still causes me twinges of envy as a writer) followed by a second episode ("The Friendly Skies") that took a basic genre concept and spun a truly heartbreaking tale out of it. In its short run, it set up the beginnings of a dark, compelling mythology, and I'm still sorry it didn't get a chance to build on that. If only it had survived to the current ABC drama renaissance.

Time was, both of these shows would be gone, never to be heard from again outside of steadily degrading VHS tapes and bootleg convention copies. Now, I can look forward to adding them to a shelf that already holds such short-lived joys as FIREFLY, THE TICK, and SLEDGE HAMMER! And that's pretty damn cool.

Which reminds me, I still need to order the WONDERFALLS set off Amazon...


The Week Rerun:

'SCUSE ME WHILE I WHIP THIS OUT: While the show itself still has a long way to go before earns a star on the Genre TV Walk of Fame, NBC's MEDIUM is certainly making a name for itself with audacious, shocking teasers. Following up the necrophilic lovin' of a few weeks ago, this past week had a couples counseling session that looked like it was about to culminate in territory sure to send Michael Powell into conniptions. Instead, it took a sudden, violent turn down Cranial Gunshot Wound Alley.

I HAVE BEEN, AND EVER SHALL BE, YOUR FRIEND: Sure, the climax of last week's ENTERPRISE seemed to be doing its best to conjure up the emotional heights of WRATH OF KHAN's "Kirk and Spock in the reactor room" sequence, but writers Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens deserve high praise for accomplishing something that ENTERPRISE has only rarely done before now: actually making me care about the show's regulars.

GUESS THIS REMAKE ISN'T SUCH A BAD THING AFTER ALL, EH DICK?: So, after years of whining and harping and generally trying to ride his one-trick pony as far as possible before its legs gave out, Richard "I played Apollo, remember?" Hatch made his appearance on BATTLESTAR this last week. And lo and behold, Hatch has actually got some acting chops! Maybe he'll take a page from Bill Shatner and David Carradine and unleash his true talents only years after the role that made him famous (relatively speaking).

DENNY CRANE: And speaking of the Shat, his performance during Denny's closing argument in last night's BOSTON LEGAL should officially put to rest any doubts that he deserved that Emmy. "Rocket Man" is forgiven, Bill.

So what brought you the televisual joy this week? Drop me a line at Keep your head and hands inside the television, folks...



24 (7 PM CST, Fox) The husband of Jack's still-married flame turns up at CTU, since apparently anybody can get in there these days.

LAS VEGAS (8 PM CST, NBC) "Whale of a Time." There's a sniper in the house. His trick-shooting display where he pops the center out of the Jack of Spades is a real showstopper.

THE SUBSTITUE 4: FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION (8 PM CST, USA) Obviously, because if failure were an option, this series would never have made it to a fourth installment.


Patricia Arquette stars in MEDIUM.

"Night of the Wolf." Allison doesn't believe an eyewitness's description of a murderer. She enlists O.J. to help find the real killer.



MOST OUTRAGEOUS MOMENTS ON LIVE TV (7 PM CST, NBC) Airing concurrently with Biggest Televised Wastes of Time.

GILMORE GIRLS (7 PM CST, WB) "Women of Questionable Morals." Featuring a "bizarre Revolutionary War reenactment." As opposed, you know, to those ordinary, run-of-the-mill Revolutionary War reenactments.

HOUSE (8 PM CST, Fox) "Poison." House must figure out what caused a student to fall ill during a calculus exam. Other than the calculus?

SCRUBS (8 PM CST, NBC) "My Lucky Charm." Colin Farrell guests and Cox has a vasectomy. No word if the two incidents are related.

LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT (9 PM CST, NBC) "Quarry." A pedophile on Death Row may have ties to a boy who disappeared in 1980.

NYPD BLUE (9 PM CST, ABC) "La Bomba." Clark and Sipowicz investigate a car bombing.



SMALLVILLE (7 PM CST, WB) "Unsafe." The hot teleporting blonde what once bamfed her way into Clark's bedroom is released from Belle Reve asylum and comes looking for Clark.

JACK & BOBBY (8 PM CST, WB) "Running Scared." Back with new episodes tonight, so you can get that teen-angst-meets-future-presidential-angst fix you've been craving.

THE WEST WING (8 PM CST, NBC) "King Corn." Continuing the gradual shift from Bartlett to the contenders for the next administration, tonight's ep sees Presidential rivals Arnold Vinick and Matt Santos have a sit-down in an Iowa motel restaurant. Mmm, motel quisine.


Vaughn and Sidney pose as a married couple to find what secrets lay behind a small town in ALIAS' fourth season episode "Welcome to Liberty Village".

"Welcome to Liberty Village." Syd and Vaughn infiltrate a program that trains terrorist operatives to pose as American couples. And you thought your Homeowners Association was a pain.

CSI: NY (9 PM CST, CBS) "Tanglewood." A man is found beaten to death in a park, and his tattoo may link him to the mob. The tattoo reads "Legitimate Businessman."



THE O.C. (7 PM CST, Fox) "The Accomplice." I could try to summarize the plot blurb, but really, I got nothing. Supposed to be a fun show, but I'm waiting to catch up on DVD, so it's all overly attractive Californian Greek to me.

PLOT TO KILL NIXON (7 PM CST, History Channel) Before you get the chance to see the fictionalized account of tire salesman Samuel Byck's 1974 plot to assassinate Tricky Dick (in ThinkFilm's THE ASSASSINATION OF RICHARD NIXON), you can see the History Channel's take.

STARSHIP TROOPERS (7 PM CST, Showtime) It's an awful adaptation of Heinlein's novel, but as far as Grade-B cheesefests go, it's a lot of fun. Plus, there's Dina Meyer in the altogether and Doogie Howser in Nazi get-up, which certainly doesn't hurt.

POINT PLEASANT (8 PM CST, Fox) "Who's Your Daddy." Christina continues to dream unpleasant dreams that tend to come true, and Dina Meyer continues to be dreamy, even when not in the altogether.



JOAN OF ARCADIA (7 PM CST, CBS) "The Rise and Fall of Joan Girardi." I've never watched this show regularly, but my goodwill toward it comes from the few eps I have seen and the kind words of others I trust. However, that goodwill is being sorely tested by the fact that Hilary Duff is making an appearance tonight.


Tellarite ambassador Gral (Lee Arenberg) confronts Captain Archer (Scott Bakula) in ENTERPRISE's "Babel One" episode.

One thing ENTERPRISE has done well is in fleshing out races from the original series that have been given short shrift in later series. Tonight, it's the Tellarites' turn.

STARGATE SG-1 (7 PM CST, Sci-Fi) "Prometheus Unbound." Claudia Black alert! I don't even what this episode is about...Claudia Black is back on my TV!

STARGATE ATLANTIS (8 PM CST, Sci-Fi) "The Defiant One." Weir dispatches a team to track a downed Wraith ship. Sadly, this series features a complete lack of Claudia Black.

MEDICAL INVESTIGATION (9 PM CST, NBC) "Ice Station." The team heads to an Arctic research station stricken with a fatal disease. Which may or may not be caused by those creepy worm critters from the first-season X-FILES episode "Ice."

NUMBERS (9 PM CST, CBS) "Uncertainty Principle." Charlie the math whiz predicts where a band of bank robbers will strike next, but when the confrontation leads to several deaths, he deals with his distress by obsessing over an unsolvable math problem.

MONK (9 PM CST, USA) "Mr. Monk vs. The Cobra." Monk investigates the death of a kung-fu star's biographer. Discovers that he died while everybody was kung-fu fighting, and that their moves were fast as lightning.

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (9 PM CST, Sci-Fi) "Act of Contrition." Starbuck struggles with guilt over the death of Zak Adama when she begins training a new group of Viper pilots. Man, it's great to have a really solid space-based SF show on the air again.




TEEN TITANS (7 PM CST, Cartoon Network) "The Quest." Season four kicks off as Robin decides he needs more training, leading him to seek out The True Master (who, in a perfect world, would be voiced by David Carradine).

JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED (7:30 PM CST, Cartoon Network) "The Once and Future Thing: Weird Western Tales." The LEAGUE caps its third season with a two-parter. Tonight sees Batman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern tracking an outlaw back into the Old West (featuring an Adam Baldwin-voiced Jonah Hex and a Ben Browder-voiced Bat Lash).

CANTERBURY TALES (7 PM CST, BBC America) "The Miller's Tale." A stranger convinces a pub owner that his wife's karaoke warbling has potential. Is this an AMERICAN IDOL tie-in?

CHUPACABRA: DARK SEAS (8 PM CST, Sci-Fi) The dreaded Mexican Goatscuker menaces...a cruise ship? Alrighty.



ROUTE 666 (6 PM CST, Sci-Fi) Lou Diamond Phillips. Lori Petty. The ghosts of a massacred chain gang. That, my friends, spells "magic."

MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE (6:30 PM CST, Fox) "Malcom's Car." Malcolm buys a 60s muscle car. That couldn't possibly go badly.

THE SIMPSONS (7 PM CST, Fox) "Mommie Beerest." Marge becomes a partner in Moe's Tavern after Homer takes out a second mortgage to pay for repairs to the bar.

CHARMED (7 PM CST, WB) "Charmageddon." The witches must confront an Earth-splattering asteroid and Ben Affleck.

ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT (7:30 PM CST, Fox) "Burning Love." Lindsay dates a TV detective and George buys a hot tub for the attic.

POMPEII: THE LAST DAY (8 PM CST, Discovery Channel) It's volcano-riffic.

CARNIVALE (8 PM CST, HBO) "Old Cherry Blossom Road." The new-and-improved CARNIVALE: now featuring plot progression.


This concludes our broadcast.

TV Wasteland is our weekly Television column. Goodnight Johnny -- you were the king of television.


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