The Dead Zone continues in good form but makes little advancement. Review by Violet Kane

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After a great debut season, The Dead Zone proves that it can keep up the good work, even if nothing much changes from beginning to end.

At the opening of this season, the main characters find themselves dealing with the fallout from the season one finale. Johnny Smith lives with the burden of knowing the apocalyptic future which accompanies candidate Greg Stillson's rise to power—and with the burden of figuring out how to stop it. Johnny and Sarah are dogged by the memory of their night of passion, and as Johnny's renown as a psychic grows, he draws ever inward spurring the concern of his friends.

The highlights of this second season are moments of character exploration, and especially the dynamic among Johnny, Sarah and Walt. The most interesting of the character work in this season is, in fact, toward Walt's development. Additionally, this season continues to produce a number of excellent stand-alone episodes, such as a tragi-comic night of romance between Johnny and an ill-fated business woman from out of town. Despite some interesting character development and a number of entertaining stand-alone episodes, this season spins its wheels most of the way through. The writers of this show fall into the TV trap of being afraid to change too much in the characters' lives. Such an approach may work for concept-based showed like Stargate SG-1, but the very premise of Dead Zone revolves around character tensions. While we get to delve further into these characters, we unfortunately don't get to see them challenged very often—certainly not as much as I'd like to have seen. A largely excellent two-episode arch where Walt is hurt in a mine suffers from a deflationary ending where Johnny confesses, but doesn't really confess his having slept with Sarah. Likewise, the only change in the Stillson conflict is the creation of more overt tension between the candidate and Johnny. There is little appreciable advancing of the conflict throughout the season. The worst, but luckily less-than-pervasive, conflict in this season is Johnny's retreat into self-isolation. I was never convinced that Johnny was a threat to become anti-social.

As usual, I realize that my criticisms sound harsher than they are. All in all, this is an enjoyable and well-done show. If I'm critical, it's because I like the show enough to have expected more of it. And this second season certainly proved enjoyable, despite my disappointments.


Violet "Violanthe" Kane is the Webmaster and Founder of ARWZ.com. She is an editor of ARWZ Literary Zine and is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Medieval studies.