I stood in front of the DVD player for a good ninety seconds, staring at Strange Frequency's Netflix sleeve and wondering why in the name of beer and skittles I had put an Erik Palladino vehicle in my queue.
Not that Palladino is a problem, really — Dr. Dave sucked, and Palladino kept getting cast as that doofy-horndog Dr. Dave type, but when he's allowed to play something less fratty, he's pretty good. I liked him on Joan of Arcadia. Still: a VH1/"rock-and-roll version" of The Twilight Zone from the dark heart of the doofy-Dr.-Dave era, co-starring such non-guarantors of quality as Eric Roberts, Danny Masterson, and John Taylor of Duran Duran? What happened there?
I finally figured out that I'd meant to add Dennis Quaid vehicle Frequency to rewatch it for The Crushed Film Festival. Oops. (And: nerd!) But I decided, what the hell, it's here, I'll watch it. I kind of wanted to see John Taylor's version of the middle-aged-rock-star hairstyle "update" that makes the guy look more dated and desperate than sticking with his original look would have.
The try-hard coif didn't disappoint — it's from the Steven Tyler/Jane Jetson soccer-mom school, with bonus bandanna to hide suspected thinning in the front — and the series overall is better than most TZ aspirants. That isn't saying much, though, and it isn't to say that Strange Frequency is good; the pacing is frustrating, and while each twist is fairly clever, it's inevitably telegraphed too soon and over-explained afterwards.
The exception is the final segment, which stars Judd Nelson. The muted performance he gives is such a departure from the work he'd done 15 years previously that he's almost unrecognizable, and it's the one segment in which the second twist is edited effectively; what seems like the same excessively long build as the previous three sections is actually a form of red herring that lets the real climax sneak up on you, and then boom! Cut to black. Neat work.
But it's no surprise that SF only aired four episodes**; the rock "hook" isn't a hook at all, and at the time it aired (2001), Danny Masterson was probably the ranking name…enough said. It's not a bad idea, but it suffers from the same problem as most Twilight Zone reboots or take-offs — and many original TZ episodes themselves, really — in that the plots get stretched (or compressed) into 22 minutes instead of being allowed to develop at their own pace.
If you've seen it, discuss. If you haven't, don't bother.
**My mistake; it looks like they made a second volume featuring Roger Daltrey and Jason Gedrick, among others. Feel free to discuss that one, too, although I'm utterly untempted to watch it myself.
Tags: Danny Masterson Dennis Quaid Duran Duran Eric Roberts Erik Palladino It's Log Jason Gedrick John Taylor Judd Nelson music Roger Daltrey Steven Tyler thanks but no thanks The Crushed Film Festival TV