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'Dead Zone' lives to thrill

(Posted June 11, 2005 by Seapharris7)

With one touch, Johnny Smith can glimpse the future. And what he's seeing is the end of the world.

USA Network kicked off the fourth season of its hit supernatural thriller The Dead Zone Sunday (10 p.m. ET/PT). And to help new viewers catch up, Lions Gate has just released the DVD of Zone's third season.

The first episode drew 3.5 million viewers, just above last season's average. USA has ordered 22 new episodes to air this summer and next. Dead Zone based on characters from the Stephen King best seller focuses on the paranormal powers of Smith, who awakened from a six-year coma with the ability to see into the past and future through visions triggered by touch.

Smith is played by Anthony Michael Hall, 37, the former brat-packer who was a teen fave in The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles and Weird Science. The Dead Zone, he says, "has transformed my career." Woven throughout the series has been the ongoing mystery surrounding Smith and a young congressman named Greg Stillson (Sean Patrick Flanery). Johnny foresees Stillson as being involved in Armageddon.

That story line continues this season, says Hall, who adds that viewers can expect him to become involved with a woman who has psychic abilities of her own. Ed Asner and Danny Masterson will guest star, he says.

Since its healthy first season, which averaged more than 4 million viewers a week, the show has been considered a cult hit. A TV trend toward the eerie has followed, with last season's surprise NBC hit Medium and USA's own The 4400 joining Dead Zone on Sundays.

The Dead Zone's "curiosity factor is huge," Hall says. The goal: "We have these three H's humor, heart and horror." Whether it's science fiction or a supernatural thriller (as he prefers to describe the show) doesn't matter, Hall says. "The heart is the key thing."


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