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Spot Inspection: 'The Dead Zone'

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Dead_lWhat’s good on TV this summer? That’s the question I’ve been hearing from family, friends, and coworkers since the end of May sweeps, and to be quite honest, I’m still not sure how to answer. I keep hearing good things about Lifetime’s Army Wives, but after missing the first three episodes, I figured the ship had sailed without me. The third season of Kathy Griffin’s My Life on the D List was both hilarious and touching, but — bam! — it’s already finished. And while I’ve got a backlog of The Closer, Ice Road Truckers, and MI-5 on my DVR that I’m hoping will tide me over till my network favorites return in September, I decided last night that it was time to broaden my TV horizons — or run the risk of waking up in a cold sweat on my couch and discovering that I actually care about who wins season 2 of America’s Got Talent.

That terrifying premonition prompted a trek over to USA to check out The Dead Zone, a show that I’ll freely admit I haven’t watched since its first season. Unfortunately, last night’s episode found Anthony Michael Hall’s psychic hero Johnny (pictured) in a coma, which left his not-quite-charismatic love interest Sarah (Nicole de Boer) at the center of the action. How is it that this woman freely admits Johnny’s premonitions are almost always right, and yet, as she brings him into the ER of a nearly abandoned (and very creepy) hospital to treat a late-night bout of appendicitis, she ignores his groans of “I can’t stay here, I’ll wind up in a coma”? Sure, there were a couple nifty moments — like Johnny’s cryptic babblings of “freezing in Reno” eventually pointing Sarah to an icy storage unit in a hospital wing marked off for “reno-vation” — but there wasn’t a single twist in the story arc that wasn’t telegraphed from the very beginning. Well, except for that painfully pat denouement where the lonely patients woke up in the solarium and fell in love. Still, I’m wondering if I ought to give The Dead Zone one more chance to redeem itself (with an episode that has its main character in the foreground). And, more importantly, back to my original question: What’s good on TV this summer?

addCredit(“The Dead Zone: Frank Ockenfels”)