Ah, rare TV… something so fun right now to gear down from the current media onslaught is to go back in time to see rare TV. A true find is Shadow Chasers, a rare link between Kolchak: The Night Stalker and X-Files. Premiering in 1985 and lasting only a single season, it was created by Brian Glazer, a producer for Ron Howard, and Kenneth Johnson, the creator of The Bionic Woman and The Incredible Hulk.
The basic plot is that head of the Paranormal Research Unit of the fictional Georgetown Institute of Technology, played by 1940s bombshell Nina Foch, has an Anthropological Professor on staff, Jonathan Mackenzie, on-call to track down interesting reports of paranormal activities in the United States in 1985. Ably played by English actor Trevor Eve, who had his own classic private eye series Shoestring in the UK in the 1970s. Mackenzie is paired with the irrepressible Benny Benedek, a hopped-up tabloid reporter, who runs around on the show like Kolchak on speed. Benedek is played by Dennis Dugan, who had his own short-lived private-eye show in the 1970s (Richie Brockleman, PI), and later turned himself into a class-A director.
In our show, the two leads play a double act, with the professor acting as the resident skeptic, and the reporter playing the true believer in the supernatural (supported by the head of the department). As the show progresses over a single season, the duo track down beings from the afterlife, aliens, and monsters of all sizes and shapes. The show has a high production value for its time, and the cast does an admirable job with the material, but certain issues kept the show from catching on (being scheduled against the monster hit Cosby show, for example).
And then there’s that 1980s cheese factor. In one of the best shows in the series, the duo are investigating a ghost trying to stop the demolition of an apartment building tied to its past. As a part of the investigation, a hot-body Yoga Exorcist is sent in to help them, in a bright blue catsuit, on roller-skates (or did I just hallucinate that part? :-))
Still, the show is mighty good fun. The pilot movie is currently on YouTube, and there’s a complete set floating around on the file-sharing sites, with an average video quality, if you want to check it out. And rare for a show like this, the show has an ending to wrap it all up.