Ken Tucker explains why, and why it may not be your grandmother's idea of religious programming

By Ken Tucker
August 24, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT


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”GvsE” is the most exciting show of the current season

I looked up the conservative-minded Parents Television Council’s Web page and could find no mention of one of my favorite new shows, the USA network’s ”GvsE,” which airs Sundays at 8. I figured the Council would be totally behind this show — after all, what other action-adventure hour features two heroes (Richard Brooks and Clayton Rohner) as dead men who are brought back to life by God to join a police-like organization called the Corp to combat people who’ve sold their souls to the Devil? If this isn’t a premise more overtly religious than ”Touched by an Angel” — a series the church-rooted PTC adores — what could be?

But no, not a peep about the show — whose title, of course, stands for ”Good versus Evil.” It’s easy to understand why. Creator-writer-producer brothers Josh and Jonas Pate have created one wild, crazy, frequently profane and violent morality tale. The show moves at a slamming pace — its primary inspiration seems to be the Beastie Boys’ video for ”Sabotage.” Utilizing jump cuts, dizzying camera pans, and regularly saturating the screen with a single color, ”GvsE ” doesn’t look like anything else on TV. Brooks (best known for his quiet-attorney role on ”Law & Order” from 1990 to ’93) and Rohner (best known for… well, he’s not well known, but you’ll recognize his mug from guest spots on ”The X Files,” ”NYPD Blue,” and ”Murder One”) are in relentless pursuit of Morlochs, the show’s term for the soul-deprived demons who live among them. (Since the show’s set in Hollywood, you know there are no shortage of them; in fact, I think Jay Mohr’s creep studio exec on the upcoming Fox show ”Action” is probably a Morloch.)

Anyway, ”GvsE,” featuring a strong supporting performance by Marshall Bell as their boss (Bell yanks at his hair and pops pills in a role that satisfyingly parodies all those steamed, ”Oooh, you guys are such mavericks!” bosses that cop-heroes have been exasperating for decades), is funny and peculiar (Brooks sports a black dandelion-shaped Afro; the series is narrated by former football star Deacon Jones who bellows, ”Are you G or are you E!” at the start of each episode).

”GvsE” kicks ”La Femme Nikita”’s posterior as the USA network’s coolest show and may be the most underrated show now on the air. Check it out.


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