More MYSTERIOUS WAYS For the Holidays -


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More MYSTERIOUS WAYS For the Holidays

Plus: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Baywatch on TV; This Week's Episodes

By Steve Ryfle     December 25, 2000

It's Christmas Day, and the Lord is moving in Mysterious Ways. TV's one and only family-friendly science fiction showa program whose paranormal moral compass is so straight-ahead that it has made a name for itself at the very middle of the middle-of the-road, the God-fearing PAX TV networkhas been renewed for the 2001-2002 season by both PAX and its big-sister network, NBC (which airs the show during the summer doldrums).

This is the show that brought Rae Dawn Chong, daughter of bong-hit king Tommy Chong and the actress who invented the missionary position as a prehistoric woman in Quest for Fire, into the mainstream world of ghost-hunting moms (doesn't it just seem weird that she's become a demi-star on PAX which, as you know, was started by Christian businessman Lowell 'Bud' Paxson?). It's the show that has been described as Touched by an Angel meets The X-Files, or Northern Exposure meets, well, The X-Files. And it's a show that's probably best known for being on two networks, not for what it's all about.

What it is all about is a character named Mulder, er, Declan Dunn, who's played by Adrian Pasdar of Top Gun and Carlito's Way, whose claim to fame is his marriage to Natalie Maine of the Dixie Chicks. A college anthropology teacher, he's obsessed with chasing miracles, trying to prove or disproveas a scientist, he wants a rational explanation; as a human being, he wants to believe in the other-worldlythat they exist. His obsession apparently began when he experienced a miracle of his own. While skiing, he was trapped in an avalanche, but survived.

Chong plays Dunn's sidekick, Peggy Fowler, a skeptical psychiatrist who tags along for the metaphysical journey. There's also Miranda (Alisen Down), Dunn's teaching assistant, and a terrier named Mole (because he has a mole on his stomach). The show was championed by Jeff Sagansky, whose previous achievements include developing other unhip, uplift-the-soul shows like Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, Touched by an Angel and Highway to Heavan, who says of Mysterious Ways' spiritual undercurrent: 'The show is not religious. It's more about emotional catharsis.'

It's not really my cup of tea, but it's nice to see Rae Dawn Chong again, after what seems like an eternity. She was hot stuff in the 1980s (remember her in Commando, The Color Purple and other stuff?), but then she vanished in the 1990s. Why? She's a single mom, and needed the time to raise her son, who's now about 18. Then, when she tried to get back into acting as a near-40 woman, the roles weren't exactly choice. She says she actually turned down a few parts before landing the Scully-esque role.

'I believe in crop circles, so I mean, I'm a great believer,' she told a Texas newspaper recently. 'And playing a skeptic, I get to stretch and question all of the things that he [Pasdar] believes in.'

Mysterious Ways has its share of dedicated fans. You can check out a pretty decent fan site with lots of info on the show by clicking here.


OK, so this is only (very) marginally related to genre television, but I couldn't resist mentioning that the Broadway Television Network announced this week that it's going to televise the musical Jekyll & Hyde, starringthis is great!David Hasselhoff sometime in Spring 2001. And, for what it's worth, this pay-per-view satellite broadcast will be in high definition and surround sound.

Hasselhoff, listed in The Guinness Book of World Records as 'The Most Watched TV Star in the World,' is also an internationally acclaimed (tee hee!) singing star (in other words, they love his records in France). He took over the lead role of Jekyll/Hyde back in October. According to a press release, 'Hasselhoff...launched a successful recording career in Europe in the late 1980s, resulting in his international fan following. His single, 'Looking for Freedom,' remained in the #1 spot on the German charts for eight weeks and he has continued to perform in concert, releasing nine gold and platinum albums to date.'

For those of you who still haven't indulged in the musical world of David Hasselhoff, check out this fan Website, complete with song clips (of course, it's the creation of a French fan).


* Buffy the Vampire Slayer (WB, Tuesday @ 8 p.m. Eastern and Pacific, 7 p.m. Central). This week's episode is 'Restless.' The official synopsis: 'After saving the world yet again, Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and the gang deserve a good night's rest. The essential Scoobies (Willow, Xander, Giles and the Buffster) have gathered to unwind with a quiet night of movie watching after dealing with Adam. But as they drift off to sleep, each of them becomes lost in a strange and unnerving nightmare world. In addition to being forced to face powerful inner fears, the friends are being stalked, one by one, by an ancient and angry force called the Primitive (Sharon Ferguson). The question is: Can the Slayer save the day in her sleep?'

* Angel (WB, Tuesday @ 9 p.m. Eastern and Pacific, 8 p.m. Central). This week's episode is 'To Shanshu in L.A.' The official synopsis: 'The virtuous vampire faces his deadliest challenge from the law firm of Wolfram & Hart in this thrilling episode. The crooked attorneys have summoned the powerful and evil Vocah (Todd Stashwick) to eliminate Angel (David Boreanaz) and his connection to the Powers That Be. To this end, Vocah systematically sets out to destroy all Angel holds dearincluding Wesley and Cordelia. Vocah has also come to ensure the completion of a mysterious ceremony known as 'Raising,' which will bring forth a great evil into the world. This forces Angel into triple duty: He must save his friends, protect the Powers That Be and put down the 'Raising.'

* Dark Angel (FOX, Tuesday @ 9 p.m. Eastern and Pacific, 8 p.m. Central). This week's episode is 'Flushed.' The official synopsis: 'Max goes above the law to secure meds for her worsening seizures and winds up behind barsand at the mercy of a warped warden (Alan C. Peterson) with a link to Lydecker (John Savage). But as Logan and Original Cindy race to the rescue, Max finds a kindred spirit (Shannon Sutter) whose abusive past helps her face down a former demon.'

* Charmed (WB, Thursday @ 9 p.m. Eastern and Pacific, 8 p.m. Central). This week's episode is 'Reckless Abandon.' The official synopsis: 'A powerful vision moves Phoebe to bring home an abandoned infant in order to protect him from a spirit bent on revenge. Piper and Prue hurry to find the child's family before the ghost hunts down the baby and Phoebe.'

* Sabrina, the Teenage Witch (WB, Friday @ 8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Eastern and Pacific, 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Central). This first part of the usual Friday double feature is 'Sabrina's Choice.' The official synopsis: 'After she gets caught disobeying one aunt and tricking the other to get her way, Sabrina receives an odd punishment: Hilda moves out.' The b-feature is another old episode that seems to have aired a million times, the one with the Backstreet Boys.

* Futurama (FOX, Sunday @ 7 p.m. Eastern and Pacific, 6 p.m. Central). This week's episode is 'Lesser of Two Evils.' The official synopsis: 'A Bender look-alike whom Fry finds even more obnoxious is hired as extra security for some precious cargo, which disappears during Fry's watch. Bob Barker has a voice cameo.'

* The Simpsons (FOX, Sunday @ 8 p.m. Eastern and Pacific, 7 p.m. Central). For New Year's Eve, Fox presents a rerun from last season, 'Behind the Laughter.' The official synopsis: 'The Simpsons are studied in a Behind the Music-style documentary that shows their rise to stardomand the 'private hell' that followed. VH1's Jim Forbes narrates their story, beginning with the evolution of The Simpsons TV show, from Homer's original idea called 'My Funny Family.' The series took off, but the physical comedy took a toll on Homer, who became addicted to painkillers. Wild spending, bad investments and tax problems followed, leading to an embarrassing incident at the Iowa State Fair that split them up and prompted solo projectsuntil Willie Nelson stepped in.'

* X-Files (FOX, Sunday @ 9 p.m. Eastern and Pacific, 8 p.m. Central). Also a rerun from last year, called 'Hollywood A.D.' The official synopsis: 'David Duchovny wrote and directed this whimsical tale from April, which opens with a close encounter between Scully and Mulderas portrayed by Tea Leoni and Garry Shandling on the silver screen. The story that leads to the movie is revealed in a flashback, starting with Skinner allowing a screenwriter pal (Wayne Federman) to observe Mulder's investigation of a pipe-bomb explosion in a church crypt. There, they find the body of a 1960s counterculture icon who disappeared in the early 1970s. A visit to the victim's house reveals evidence that he may have died inadvertently by his own hand, a hand adept at forgery. But the why remains unanswered.'

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